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How Can Parents Get Their Kids To Sleep?

Dealing with sleep deprivation is no joke.

Most adults understand the importance of sleep. Children, on the other hand, have no idea how good they have it. What an exhausted parent would give just to get a few extra minutes of sleep in the morning or to even sneak in a delicious nap one “lazy” afternoon. 

And yet, who is standing at your bedside at the frightening hour of 5 a.m.? It is your hungry or thirsty 3-year-old. Who was up a few times last night? The baby, who is teething and needs to be rocked.

Maybe your child experiences night terrors or is getting used to a big kid bed. Or maybe all of your kids are thrown off because they stayed up late for the fireworks?

One thing is certain, many young kids have issues with sleep and parents often experience sleep deprivation. Because we love and care for our children, we often sacrifice this one basic need. It cannot last forever, right?

It does not last forever but it can feel like it sometimes. A few odd nights here and there may not be a problem but lack of sleep for weeks on end is definitely a challenge.

Sleep deprivation can affect your health and make you irritable. It can exacerbate symptoms of postpartum depression. Lack of sleep can diminish your response time in important activities like driving and can make you distracted at work.

When possible, parents need to get their rest. Easier said than done, believe me, I know. What are exhausted parents to do?

Moms and dads with a newborn should try to sleep when the baby sleeps. It may be the only chance you get. Ignore the phone and do only absolutely necessary household tasks. Ask grandparents and family or friends for help. Right now, you are just looking to get through this tough stage.

If your baby is at the point where they should be sleeping through the night, talk to your pediatrician about any health concerns and ask them what they recommend. Every family is different, so while certain sleep training methods work for others, you need to figure out what works for your family. What are your options? Check out this link: Baby Sleep Training: The Basics

Once you are out of the baby stage, sleep issues can continue and so can kids' excuses. Establishing a bedtime routine can help. Kids like predictability and knowing what they should be doing next. Find a routine that works for you. We like to do songs and books after bath then kisses and sleep. Stick to the routine as much as possible and it can be a tremendous help.

When all else fails, you have the vast wealth of experience and knowledge to dip into from fellow Patch parents. 

Chatham and Madison Moms and Dads - We know you have been through it all. Give us some advice on how to help our kids get better sleep at any stage.

Getting Your Baby to Sleep

Coping with Sleep Deprivation

Colleen Bohensky July 06, 2011 at 02:22 PM
We've been fortunate to have 2 good sleepers. Whether it's just their nature (or Mommy's "i love to sleep" genes) or something we've done I can't really tell you. I can tell you what we have done though. Consistency! We have a regular routine. Obviously there are nights with exceptions... but generally we start bedtime with a show (usually on pbskids) and a bedtime snack, upstairs, potty, brush teeth, 2 books (each kid gets 1 pick), 2 songs (I relax and listen to 2 lullaby songs with them), smooches, "good night, sleep tight, don't let the bedbugs bite.... love you." Out the door I go. It's been the SAME since forever. They know it's bedtime.... they know what's coming. We started out VERY strict with it. No extra book for begging. No extra show. No "one more song". It is what it is. Now that they're older we can vary a little... like give an extra book of my choice if the books they choose are short. Skip the show if we'd rather chase lightening bugs. We ALWAYS give warnings like "if we stay outside to chase lightening bugs there is no show. No fighting about it. Got it?" We make sure to get an answer from each of them. Like most things with kids... I think things go much smoother when they have a clear idea of what the routine is.
Elizabeth McConnell July 06, 2011 at 03:11 PM
I agree that a regular bedtime routine is a big help. Over the years and as we had more children it has become more simplified -- I laughed when I recently found a 12 step note telling our sitter how to get our then four year old to sleep -- but its basic structure remains the same. When they were babies, I remember wishing for the day when I could just say goodnight at the end of the day without all of those rituals for each child, but now that my oldest is 10, I still read to her every night even though I often leave her reading her own book for a few minutes more. Ill be sad when there isn't anyone to tuck in!

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