There are 5 main things that can stop your kid from sleeping well.
Assuming your child has no medical or health issues and he (or she) is healthy and thriving, there are really only five real reasons why he may not be sleeping well. Each of these things can be addressed relatively easily and you can fix them, if you want to. The tricky thing is that sleep is like a puzzle, with many interconnecting pieces that fit together to get a good ‘end result’. When it comes to working on the puzzle that is sleep, it can often be easiest to break things down into chunks and work on one or two things at a time, so that you don’t feel overwhelmed. So, pick something from The List, make a plan and enlist some support. You can start today!
Five things that can sabotage sleep (and questions to ask yourself):
1. Sleep environment is not conducive to sleep.
⚠️ Is my child’s room very dark?
⚠️ Can I regulate the temperature of my child’s room?
⚠️ Is my child’s room and sleep space safe?
⚠️ Is my child’s room too stimulating?
⚠️ Am I using white noise effectively?
2. Naps are ‘off kilter’.
⚠️ Are my child’s naps age appropriate?
⚠️ Is my child getting enough day sleep?
⚠️ Is my child sleeping too much during the day?
⚠️ Is nap timing affecting bedtime or wake up time in the morning?
⚠️ Are most naps at home in my child’s cot/bed?
3. Lack of routine.
⚠️ Do I have a consistent bedtime routine?
⚠️ Is my bedtime routine long enough?
⚠️ Does bed time always differ?
⚠️ Is my bedtime routine too long?
⚠️ Is bedtime too early or too late?
⚠️ Do I offer naps at regular times?
⚠️ Do I offer meals and feeds at regular times?
⚠️ Are most naps at home or ‘on the go’?
4. Child doesn’t know how to self-settle.
⚠️ Can my child go into the cot/bed awake and go off to sleep independently?
⚠️ Does my child rely on my help to resettle back to sleep, in the night?
⚠️ Can my child self-settle for naps?
⚠️ Is the video monitor a help or a hinderance?
⚠️ Am I constantly replacing my child’s dummy?
⚠️ Does my child only go to sleep for me?
⚠️ Does my child need a feed/a rock/hand holding/other, to go to sleep?
⚠️ Am I reactively co-sleeping with my child?
5. Parents lack boundaries.
⚠️ Is my child stalling at bedtime or is bedtime taking a long time?
⚠️ Do I usually give in to my child’s demands for milk?
⚠️ Do I allow my child to sleep with me (even though I’d prefer not to).
⚠️ If I don’t lie with my child, he refuses to go to sleep.
⚠️ Do I feel guilty when I don’t give my child what he wants?
⚠️ Does my child choose his own bed time?
⚠️ Do I ‘cave’ when my child has a tantrum?
⚠️ Do I get shouty or frustrated at bedtime and then feel guilty?
⚠️ Do I bring my child out to the lounge room when he can’t sleep?
⚠️ Do I try and negotiate or reason with my child?
⚠️ Does my child ‘refuse’ to go into the cot or bed?
How to start fixing sleep:
1. The number one thing you need to do is to have awareness.
Look at The List of five things. Think about which of these things you are struggling with most, what you might need to work on and what might apply to you. This might be just one thing or it could be all five from The List. You will probably need some help with this task because what you see as the problem is usually not the main issue. It can be hard to see what’s really going on. It’s also hard to be subjective when you are emotionally invested. So, find a friend or enlist a professional to help. This will give you the fresh perspective you might need to get you started and on the right track.
2. The next thing you need to do is have a plan.
This can be tricky and it’s probably the most complicated part. For your plan to work, it will need to take into account things such as your family logistics, your child’s temperament and your parenting style, amongst other things. There’s a lot to consider when it comes to sleep. It’s like a jigsaw puzzle where each piece has its place. Like with any plan, it’s best to write it down. Writing things down can make things clear and easy to follow. Write out the steps you will take and be specific with what you will do, in a practical sense. Then, be prepared to follow through.
3. Finally, you need to consider the support you have available.
Everyone needs someone to lean on, at times. We all usually need help to stay motivated and accountable when it comes to making changes. So, actively enlist the help of your partner, a friend or a family member. You can also hire a professional sleep consultant like myself, who will not only support you through making changes, but who will also do the hard background work for you. Whatever the case, never be afraid to ask for help. Asking for help is a strength and it might just be what your child needs most of all.
Which of the Five List Things ring true, for you?
Looking for a quick and easy solution? YES PLEASE