There are some common themes when it comes to managing our children’s sleep. And although every baby and toddler is an individual, parents tend to share similar responses to sleeping problems. One is hoping that things will get better with time, the other is finding it difficult to ask for help.
Sleep is dynamic. Our children’s sleep is no exception and no two days, or nights, are exactly the same.
It’s normal for children to have periods of time when they sleep and settle more easily. For no apparent reason they may tend to fall asleep without too much fuss, sleep for reasonable lengths of time and are happy when they wake up. Then, something happens and all that lovely predictability just disappears.
Parents can agonise over why all of a sudden, things have changed. The truth is that we don’t always know why our baby/toddler’s sleep habits change for the worse. Like so many other mysteries of parenting, we don’t always come up with an answer.
There are however, several factors which seem to influence sleep and settling changes
Ten Common Reasons for Sleeping Changes
Six Things We Know to be True About Infant/Toddler Sleep
I Think I Can Do This...
Most of us have a range of coping skills which we call on when things get tough. From childhood, we’ve learned strategies around how to identify a problem, come up with a goal and then work towards achieving it. That works fine most of the time when problems aren’t too complex. However, once we’ve had children, approaching challenges is not so easy.
No matter what our professional background or expertise, becoming a parent creates a cataclysmic change in our lives.
Work skills do not translate across into our parenting - it’s just not that simple.
What Makes Parenting So Different?
It’s stating the obvious but becoming a parent changes everything. Whilst once it may have been relatively easy to make a plan and stick with it, the whole process of knowing what to do takes on a whole new meaning once we’ve had a small person.
But I Feel Guilty Asking for Help
The human race has survived for around 200,000 years. We are not meant to parent in isolation. Over this time, many parents have been supported by their extended family to nurture and raise the next generation.
Our current lifestyle has created an environment where parents are often left to care for their children without any assistance. Loneliness is a common emotion, as is feeling overwhelmed, confused and even resentful.
Asking for help is not failing, but rather, a sign of courage!
When is it Time to Ask for Help?
Every parent has their own threshold for putting up their hand. What’s timely for one may not be for another. We are all different.
However, there are some more common ‘red flags’ for parents of young children who don’t sleep well.
One big motivator for change is feeling hopeful for better days ahead. We tend to change what we’re doing when we are either desperate or optimistic.
Where Can I Go for Help?
For your child’s sleep and settling management-
For Emotional Support
Written for Safe Sleep by Jane Barry, midwife and child health nurse.
About Safe Sleep Space
Safe Sleep Space is Australia's leading infant and toddler sleep consultancy. Known for our gentle and response-based approach, our team of child health nurses, midwives, and early childhood educators have been supporting children and families since 2008. As a result, parents and professionals alike turn to Safe Sleep Space for knowledge relating to infant and toddler sleep.
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