Can a brief educational intervention improve parents' knowledge of healthy children's sleep? A pilot-test
Objective: Insufficient and poor quality sleep is prevalent in children, and is a significant public health concern due to the negative consequences for health. Certain sleep-related behaviours are associated with improved sleep, and sleep behaviours are amenable to efforts targeted towards behaviour change. Parental educational interventions have been successful at improving parents' knowledge and children's health outcomes in some areas of health, but no population-based educational interventions have been designed to improve parents' knowledge of healthy children's sleep. This study aimed to design and test an educational tool to increase caregivers' knowledge of healthy children's sleep in a primary care setting. Setting: A hospital-based pediatric primary care clinic where children attend for well-child and sick visits. Method: Parents of 95 children aged three months to 12 years completed two surveys, one prior to and one after receiving the intervention. The surveys assessed children's sleep habits (pre-intervention) and parental sleep beliefs and sleep knowledge (pre- and post-intervention). The intervention was a short, informational brochure. Results: Following the intervention there was a significant increase in parents' knowledge regarding children's healthy sleep, and in the number of parents who planned to make positive behaviour changes regarding their child's sleep practices. Conclusion: Simple written educational interventions may be effective tools with which to increase parents' knowledge and promote healthy sleep behaviours in children. © The Author(s) 2012.