• Jennifer Spiroff

Melatonin For Children

Updated: May 28, 2019

I am a mother of a 3-year-old as well as a 16 and 22-year-old. Quite a spread in age and a spread in times and how children are raised. When my oldest was 3, there were no ribbons for last place, cell phones were analog and still came in a bag, and parents were allowed to parent without the judgment of millions on social media. As I go through my daily life with my littlest, I have joined FB mommy groups to try to break out of my shell and maybe have a play-date:) Something I noticed today on the mommy FB site was a young mother questioning about melatonin for their child who has anxiety about bedtime. Being 44 years old and having a spread of children, the first thing that came to mind was, what child doesn't have anxiety about bedtime? My middle was easy peasy. Since he was a toddler, around 8pm he has always been ready to hit the sack and go to bed. My other two, however, not so simple. Tonight at bedtime I can almost guarantee that it will be a fight to get my 3-year-old son to go through the bedtime routine. There will be crying, lying on the kitchen floor, reasoning, chasing, eyes rolling and his parent's big sighing. One thing that will not be happening is the distribution of a sleep aid. We know that all he needs to do is stop moving for about 30 seconds and he will be out like a light. I realize that there are some children who are in need of extra help. Maybe their bodies do not create natural melatonin, are autistic, etc. and something like melatonin can be a huge help. What stunned me was the number of mothers who commented about how their children are on melatonin, whether it be by choice of something they read online, to their doctor recommending it. Now, I am not a doctor, but I do have an extensive background in holistic health. Knowing that studies have not been done on children and the effects of melatonin (esp. long-term use), this is not something I would ever recommend. I feel that parents are searching to have a "perfect" child. One thing I noticed with young mothers is that they have their children in speech therapy before they are 2 years old and call it "preventative", constant use of technology because they want their child to excel at ??, and now sleep aids. We recently moved from Seattle to Mesa, AZ. One thing we were moving away from in WA was the high amount of heroin use. People are literally littering the streets of Seattle completely strung out and dying because of their addiction to drugs. What I get a sense of with parents giving sleep aids to children is creating the need to take a drug to go to sleep. Today it's melatonin, tomorrow it's Ambien. What is wrong with creating a regular bedtime routine that is not swayed from. Just stick the course and eventually your child will get the hint that it is time to rest and throwing a tantrum will not change that. Are they giving sleep aids to make it easier for the child or for themselves? If it's about hyperactivity before bed, look at the diet, the time they are going to bed. Is it too early? Is it too late? Waiting too long to sleep can actually make one more awake and alert creating it harder to go to sleep. Maybe just setting up an essential oil diffuser with lavender can help to bring things down a notch. As a Reiki Master I will do some calming Reiki, just... why the drugs? Sure it's natural, but at such a young age why create this type of bedtime habit. Not only a habit but fueling a belief that they cannot go to sleep without the help of a pill.


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