Predictive factors of toddlers’ sleep and parental stress

Simona De Stasio, Francesca Boldrini, Benedetta Ragni, Simonetta Gentile

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Although most infants consolidate their sleep habits during the first year of life, for many children, sleep is described as disrupted during toddlerhood. Along with individual child variables such as temperamental characteristics, parenting behaviors play a key role in determining children’s sleep-wake patterns. The aims of the current study were to evaluate the relationship among toddlers’ sleep quality, emotion regulation, bedtime routines, parental bedtime involvement, parental perceived social support and stress, and to integrate a novel combination of the aforementioned dimensions into predictive models of toddlers’ sleep quality and parental stress. Methods: One hundred and sixty parents with 2-3-year-old children filled out the following self-report questionnaires: the Parent-Child Sleep Interaction Scale; the Emotion Regulation Checklist; the Social Provisions Scale; and an ad-hoc questionnaire to assess parental involvement in everyday and bedtime care for children. Three multiple regression analyses were conducted by regressing maternal and paternal parenting stress and infant’s quality sleep onto the independent variables described above. Results: Toddlers’ emotion regulation and parental psychosocial functioning were related to parental stress. Toddlers’ night awakenings and the time required by toddlers to fall asleep were related to parental distress. Conclusions: The findings evidenced the bidirectional associations among the studied variables, highlighting the protective role of social support in reducing parenting stress and of paternal bedtime involvement in improving toddlers’ sleep quality.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2494
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2020


  • Parental psychosocial functioning
  • Sleep
  • Toddlers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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