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Sleep Disorders
Volume 2011, Article ID 104832, 8 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2011/104832
Research Article

Do Parental Expectations Play a Role in Children's Sleep and Mothers' Distress? An Exploration of the Goodness of Fit Concept in 54 Mother-Child Dyads

1Child Development Center, University Children’s Hospital Zurich, Steinwiesstrasse 75, 8032 Zurich, Switzerland
2Children’s Research Center, University Children’s Hospital Zurich, Steinwiesstrasse 75, 8032 Zurich, Switzerland

Received 15 July 2011; Revised 23 November 2011; Accepted 24 November 2011

Academic Editor: Arcady A. Putilov

Copyright © 2011 Helene Werner and Oskar G. Jenni. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

This study describes parental expectations for sleep-wake patterns in healthy kindergarten children and explores their relation to children’s sleep quality and parental distress. Data analysis of 54 mother-child dyads (age range of the children: 4–7 years) indicated that parental expectations for children’s sleep-wake patterns differ between scheduled and free days and depend on children’s chronotype. Mothers of children with late chronotype showed less adequate expectations for children’s sleep onset time than mothers of children with early chronotype (e.g., morning types). Furthermore, children of mothers with less adequate expectations for children’s sleep onset time on scheduled days had longer settling periods during which sleep rituals may take place (r=0.31, P0.05), spent more time in bed than they actually sleep (r=0.35, P0.01), and had more frequently difficulties falling asleep (r=0.33, P0.01). However, less adequate expectations for children’s sleep onset time were not associated with parental distress (P>0.05). We conclude that parental expectations about their children’s sleep play a key role in understanding normal and abnormal sleep during childhood.