One-Year Touchpoint: First steps and sleep changes

Joshua Sparrow, MD Child Psychiatrist & Author, explains the development changes that a child goes through around the age of twelve months, including taking their first steps and sleep changes
Child's First Steps And Sleep Changes - One Year Touchpoint
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One-Year Touchpoint: First steps and sleep changes

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The first birthday is an exciting touch point for development for the child and the parent. Somewhere around twelve months -- sometimes it's a couple of months earlier, and sometimes it's a couple of months later -- Somewhere around one year of age, the baby takes his or her first steps. This is a touch point of development because there is a price to pay for this exciting step. Usually, the price that the parents pay and the baby pays is sleep. Somewhere between 9 and 13 months of age, babies who have been sleeping through the night, often start waking up three or four times a night. If you go to them, they are not lying in their bed screaming. They are standing up, holding on to the railing bouncing up and down, as if they can't get themselves back down. They are so focused on getting going and keeping moving. It turns out, that between 9 and 13 months of age, babies spend more time in light sleep and less time in deep sleep, than at any other point in childhood. Of course, they are going to wake up more often. Of course, their sleep is more vulnerable. We think, we don't know this for sure, we think they need to be in light sleep because they are laying down the molecular traces of the memory of the motor movements the baby is putting together, to take that first step.

Joshua Sparrow, MD Child Psychiatrist & Author, explains the development changes that a child goes through around the age of twelve months, including taking their first steps and sleep changes

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Joshua Sparrow, MD

Child Psychiatrist & Author brazeltontouchpoints.org

A child psychiatrist, Dr. Sparrow’s care in the 1990s for children hospitalized for severe psychiatric disturbances, often associated with physical and sexual abuse, and for developmental delays aggravated by social and economic deprivation, prompted his interest in community-based prevention and health promotion. At the Brazelton Touchpoints Center, his work focuses on cultural adaptations of family support programs, organizational professional development, and aligning systems of care with community strengths and priorities, and has included collaborative consultation with the Harlem Children's Zone and American Indian Early Head Start Programs, among many others. He has lectured extensively nationally and internationally on related topics and has consulted on media programming for children and parents, including PBS’s Frontlines and Discovery Kids. Co-author with Dr. T. Berry Brazelton of 8 books and the weekly New York Times Syndicated column, “Families Today,” Dr. Sparrow has also served as a contributing editor to Scholastic Services’ Parent and Child magazine. In 2006, he revised with Dr. Brazelton Touchpoints: Birth to Three, 2nd Edition and in 2010, co-edited Nurturing Children and Families: Building on the Legacy of T. B. Brazelton, a textbook on the ongoing generativeness of Brazelton’s seminal research in a wide range of fields. Dr. Sparrow has authored numerous other scholarly works, teaches and lectures nationally and internationally, and is frequently called upon for his expertise by national and international media. Prior to attending medical school, Dr. Sparrow worked for several years as a preschool teacher and journalist in New York City.

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