Children's night waking among toddlers: Relationships with mothers' and fathers' parenting approaches and children's behavioural difficulties

Anat Zaidman-Zait, Wendy A. Hall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aims: To explore associations between children's sleep problems, and behavioural difficulties and parenting approaches. Background: Children commonly have problematic night waking; however, relationships between parenting cognitions and behaviours and children's sleep problems are rarely examined. Design: Longitudinal children's cohort study from 5-29 months post birth. Methods: Data were taken from the Quebec Longitudinal Study of Child Development (1998-2007) at three phases: 5, 17 and 29 months of age. Thousand four hundred and eighty-seven families were included in our study based on: participation from phase 1 (5-months old), both parents' reports on parenting cognitions/behaviours and child behavioural difficulties at 29 months, and mothers' reports of children's sleep at 29 months. In 2013, we conducted repeated measures anovas and manovas including children's gender. Results: Extended night-time waking patterns (wakes of ≥20 minutes) were associated with mothers' and fathers' lower sense of parenting impact and higher overprotectiveness and mothers' lower self-efficacy and higher coerciveness for 29-month-old children. In the extended waking group, mothers consistently reported lower self-efficacy, higher overprotectiveness and lower parenting impact at 5, 17 and 29 months. For those children, fathers were only more overprotective at 5 and 29 months. Regarding 29-month-old children's behaviour, children in the extended night waking group had highest scores on externalizing and internalizing behaviours. Girls had higher scores on shyness/inhibition and boys had higher scores on aggression/hyperactivity. Conclusion: Mothers' and fathers' parenting cognitions and behaviours are affected by 29-month-old children's night waking patterns and night waking patterns are associated with children's behavioural problems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1639-1649
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Advanced Nursing
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2015


  • Child behaviour
  • Children
  • Nursing
  • Parenting cognitions
  • Sleep problems


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