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.