Sleep expert Lenka Medvecová Tinková: An anxious parent will not succeed

Is there a prescription for how many hours children should sleep?
Sleep is a developmental process, it changes with age and with the developmental stages of children. Therefore, it is not possible to give the characteristic of sufficient sleep of a child by a single number. The number of hours of sleep can also affect the stage of development of the child, but also their individual needs. From previous research, we know that the sleep needs of children can be very diverse. We noticed the biggest differences in the number of hours slept for babies under three months. There are babies who sleep ten hours a day for the first few weeks and babies who sleep until six o’clock. There are different sleep charts and recommendations, but they all serve only as a guide, not a dogma of where every baby and toddler should be crammed.

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According to you, the so-called pre-sleep rituals must also be subject to sleep. What can you imagine down there?
Pre-sleep rituals are believed to help us slow the transition from daytime activities to nocturnal passivity. They can also help strengthen family relationships, not just sleep and sleep. Many sleep studies show that they can have a very positive effect on sleep duration, nighttime sleep and the psyche of both child and parent. We are most vulnerable in our sleep and are well aware of it. Therefore, we need to feel mental and physical well-being to sleep peacefully.

What can be included in pre-sleep rituals?
This may include the usual evening preparation of dinner together, dressing in pajamas to brush your teeth, and preparing the bed for sleep. Others can be beautifully inserted between them, contributing to mental well-being and inducing a calm mind before going to bed. For example, reading, talking together, playing board games, massaging each other, making seals, recap of the day, singing, listening to audio stories or music, etc.

What rituals do you personally recommend?
Different rituals can be positive for each child. For example, some babies like to fall asleep singing, talking becomes more fun as they get older, or they need shorter joint activities, such as playing games, talking, or a short massage, at an age more advanced to fall asleep more peacefully. . Some children may be action types for whom it is important that their day is filled with enough exercise, and in the evening they need to release the last bits of energy before going to bed. However, it is good not to idealize pre-sleep rituals and sleep and sleep in general. They are not magic sleeping pills, although they are quite close.

What role does the parent’s mood play in sleep?
A study found that the emotional mood of a parent who puts a child to sleep plays an important role in how well they fall asleep. If we are nervous and stressed in the evening, it does not often matter that we have a precise and recurring sequence of activities, the child will rather react to our restlessness. Therefore, it is good to adapt the rituals so that they are also pleasant for our parents and help to calm and extinguish thoughts. It is also important to keep in mind that children perceive and react to emotions. If a parent is very nervous or stressed, it’s best to calm them down before they start calming their child down.

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Some parents let their children sleep with them in the bedroom. Until when is it appropriate?
Sleeping together is also part of the widespread parenting practices around the world and is not a new trend. Of course, the age at which children sleep next to their parents can vary. In Japan, for example, it is common for children to become independent in their own room until about age six and later. This is most often between the third and fifth year. The American Pediatric Society states that the baby should sleep in the parent’s room until at least the first year of life. However, the decision as to when to have the child next to each other in the shared room or bed should be primarily the decision of the family.

What causes children’s frequent fear of falling asleep alone?
Children’s fear of the dark or loneliness can have various causes. For someone, fear can cause an unpleasant experience or experience. In the further development of fantasy, the associated inner world, which every shadow in the child’s mind can transform into another supernatural being. Watching television can also affect children’s fear of the dark. In other cases, evening anxieties are associated with stress, for example, from kindergarten, school or the birth of a new sibling. It is good to examine each fear more deeply and find out the cause, much better for parents to find a solution.

Summer series diary

Source: NewspaperWhat is that?
This is a series by Deník, which deals with the different world of children and parents. It is based on the Journal’s questionnaire, in which we received more than four thousand responses from our readers and schoolchildren, and other suggestions. Subjects related to director Dan Svátek’s partner film Sleeping City, which deals with a world where parents fall asleep and children have to fend for themselves in a world where only they live and adults without children, will follow the series as a common thread.

When will the series be released?
Every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday in a printed Agenda. Until the end of the holidays. It comes with a series of interviews and magazine topics and you can find it all on

What is the series and the whole Summer Diary based on?
The Parents and Children series has five pillars: 1. A thematic block always devoted to a phenomenon in the lives of children, adults, their mutual relationship or different points of view on the problem. 2. A series of interviews with actors and personalities associated with the film The Sleeping City on the phenomena described in the thematic block. 3. Excerpts from the shooting of Sleeping City. But also from Martin Vopěnka’s book and the places where the film was shot. 4. I am writing to you. Project of children’s letters to parents and grandparents. Celebrities and readers write them for us (more on page 10). 5. Joint entertainment with several crosswords and tests, which are always published both on the website and on page 12. There will also be a reading competition.

What will be the next major themes of the series?
Here is the plan for the coming weeks:

Week 2:
Common experiences for children and parents
Saturday, July 24: How to entertain children instructions from coaches for sports activities.

Week 3:
Children and their mental health
Tuesday July 27: Sanctions yes or no? What is corporal punishment and what is it not? Deník survey results + interview with child psychologist Václav Mertin.
Wednesday, July 8: They drink, smoke, fetishize and look at a cell phone. Czech children rank first in almost all addictions in the EU. Why?
Thursday July 29: Sleep as an alpha and omega in the lives of children and adolescents. What does sleep medical anthropologist Lenka Medvecová Tinková have to say? How many hours should children sleep?
Saturday July 31: How Czech sports stars grew up.

Week 4:
Parents Earn Money, Kids Spend or Family Wallet
Tuesday August 3: Great overview of the results of the Deník survey. Do we give pocket money? And how much? Are rich kids happier?

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