Examination of Child and Family Characteristics and Bedtime Routines of Young Children At 14, 24, and 36 Months In Low-Income Ethnically-Diverse Families
Method: Secondary data analysis used 2977 children (White-37%, Black-35%, Hispanic-24%) enrolled during birth-3 phase into longitudinal Early Head Start Research and Evaluation (EHSRE). Bilingual EHSRE-trained interviewers accomplished data collection during structured interviews timed around children’s birthdays. Mothers reported on demographic, parenting, and mental-health variables; EHSRE-trained examiners assessed children’s variables on development. Using longitudinal approach with adjusted odds for selected control variables, logistic regression with block-entry with Forward-Conditional entry-method tested the association between parent-family and child characteristics in relation to binary outcome of children having bedtime routines at 14-24-36-months.
Results: At 14 months, 1587 (68%) children had bedtime routines. Compared to White children (76%), Black (63%) and Hispanic (64%) were less likely to have bed-routines (Chi-Square (df=3)=37.78, p < .001). Controlling for demographics, adjusted bed-routines odds were significantly decreased by race (Black OR=.69) compared to White, but not Hispanic, and increased by having regular bedtime (OR=2.21) and by a more responsive home-environment (OR=1.07). Overall 14mos Model: p < .001; Hosmer-Lemeshow: p=.719; Classification: Having Bedtime-Routine=99.1%; Goodness-of-fit: Nagelkerke R-Square=.26. At 24 months, controlling for demographics and 14mos, adjusted bed-routines odds were significantly decreased by birth-related health-risks (OR=.44) and 24mo-parent-child-stress (OR=.94), and increased by 14mo-parent-child bed-routines (OR=1.62) and 24mo-regular bedtime (OR=2.32). Overall 24mos Model: p < .001; Hosmer-Lemeshow: p=.919; Classification: Having Regular Bedtime-Routine=86.7%; Goodness-of-fit: Nagelkerke R-Square=.43. At 36 months, controlling for previous variables, adjusted bed-routines odds were decreased by 14mo-parent-child-stress (OR=.95) and increased by 14mo-bed-routines (OR=2.02), 24mo-bed-routines (OR=2.13), 24mo-well-child-visits (OR=1.8), and 36mo-regular bedtime (OR=3.14). Overall 36mos Model: p < .001; Hosmer-Lemeshow: p=.960; Classification: Having Regular Bedtime-Routine=88.6%, and Goodness-of-fit: Nagelkerke R-Square=.46.
Implications: Results support culturally-sensitive parenting guidance that decreases parent-child stress and reinforces well-child visits and bed-routines for young children in low-income families. Having predictable bedtime-routines creates opportunities for conversational and literacy-oriented parent-child interactions that may not be possible at other times. Future research-directions and limitations are considered.