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Stay-at-Home Orders
Disrupting Your Kid’s Sleep?

Written exclusively for bümo by Natalie Willes, sleep coach,
small business owner of Baby Sleep Trainer, and mom of two.

"Take heart knowing that addressing your child’s sleep problems is one of the healthiest choices
you can make during this unexpected time."

As a sleep coach, a small business owner, and a parent of two children, I was in as much shock as anyone when the country gradually shut it doors. One could only try to imagine the reality of shuttered parks and homeschooling. It crossed my mind that some families might take the Stay At Home (SAH) orders as a chance to finally tackle sleep training. Never did I imagine that SAH orders would turn out to be the cause of widespread sleep disruption among kids of all ages! See how you can combat quarantine from disrupting your kid’s sleep…

Baby or Toddler Suddenly Not Sleeping? You’re Not Alone.

Within about 10-14 days of SAH orders blanketing the world, I started to receive inquiries from parents as far as India, England, and the United Arab Emirates imploring me for help with sleep disruptions. Before long, the same few threads played out in each conversation. Parents who were suddenly faced with the reality of working from home found it untenable to assist their infants to sleep for all naps and then deal with their kids waking after only 30 minutes, cranky and looking for constant attention and interaction (to say nothing of dealing with ongoing fractured overnight sleep). Or, parents of toddlers up to ages 4 and 5 years realized just how emotionally disruptive it was to both child and parent to have their child lose access to daycare and gain access to Mom and Dad 24/7. The anxiety amongst toddlers presented itself with fighting bedtime and waking once (or more) overnight, needing Mom or Dad’s presence to get back to sleep. 

Most of the toddler parents that I’ve worked with in the last 6 weeks reported that while their child wasn’t sleeping great before the pandemic, something about the combination of school closures and non-stop FaceTime with Mom or Dad seemed to make a simmering issue suddenly boil over. Sleep problems amongst kids under the age 5 exploded literally around the world, and seemingly overnight. 

What Can You Do TODAY to Help Resolve Sleep Disruptions?

It’s no secret parents avoid sleep training for a multitude of reasons. While a small percentage of parents avoid sleep training on moral grounds, a much greater majority shy away from sleep training because they feel a combination of fear over extended periods of crying and a feeling of not knowing where to start. Here are some first tips:

– Learn a bit about what type of sleep training method matches best with your child’s temperament.

– Make sure your child’s room promotes great sleep habits. The nursery should be kept as dark as possible and white noise should be on for all periods.  

Have You Heard of a CoronaBonus?

The kids at our local elementary school have started to use the term CoronaBonus when asking what a person can identify as a “bonus” to the SAH orders. You can make resolving your child’s sleep struggles once and for all a major bonus of all this time spent at home. Almost all sleep issues in children aged 16 weeks to 4 years revolve around a child’s inability to fall asleep wholly unassisted. 

 

If a child cannot fall asleep on their own for naps and bedtime, they will not have the ability to fall back asleep on their own when they wake overnight. Taking this time to explore what sleep training is and how to get started can result in better sleep within a matter of days. 

Don’t Lose Hope.

Thankfully, there are many affordable options online to help you through your sleep training journey. Baby Sleep Trainer, and other sleep consultants, offer virtual sleep training that holds your hand from the very start to the very end of sleep training (usually with far less crying than you think). There will never be a better time to tackle your child’s sleep woes and remember – sleep training benefits the child first and foremost, so you can take heart knowing that addressing your child’s sleep problems is one of the healthiest choices you can make during this unexpected time.

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