How does information about sleeping arrangements contribute to nurse practitioners’ assessment of development?

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PurposeTo explore how information about children's sleeping arrangements contributes to nurse practitioners’ (NPs) assessment of children's developmental progress at toddlerhood.Data sourcesSelected research articles and a survey of NPs’ assessments of development for toddlers engaged in solitary and shared sleeping arrangements.ConclusionsResearch does not provide definitive information regarding the connection between children's engagement in different sleeping arrangements and children's development. In this study, information about how sleeping arrangements played a role in NPs’ ratings of toddlers’ current and predicted social development and autonomy, but not toddlers’ language skills, is presented. NPs’ ratings of the development of boys who engaged in shared sleeping arrangements suggested that NPs’ viewed this sleeping arrangement as a risk factor for both social development and autonomy. Shared sleeping arrangements for girls were not identified as a risk factor, with some analyses suggesting that shared sleep may have a positive impact on girls’ social development.Implications for practiceAssessing children's developmental progress is one task completed by Family and Pediatric NPs. NPs gather information across many sources in making these developmental assessments. Type of sleeping arrangement can be one of these sources as it has been connected to children's developmental progress. However, information available in the literature is inconclusive and often contradictory in regard to how sleeping arrangements impact development. To help clarify how NPs currently use information concerning sleeping arrangements to assess developmental progress, this report describes how sleeping arrangements influenced ratings of 18-month-old toddlers’ current and later predicted levels of development. This information can help NPs develop strategies for assessing development in light of information regarding sleep arrangements.

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