Do You have a Sleep Problem . . . or NOT?

Posted by in No-Cry Sleep

Let’s take a look at your situation to make sure that you are seeing things clearly. I’ve found that during the early years of a child’s life everyone has opinions about how you should be raising your child, and other people’s opinions may sometimes cloud your perceptions of reality. So take a deep breath, clear out all the cobwebs that other people have placed in your path, and let’s first go over what’s not a sleep problem.

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The sleep situation that doesn’t need to be fixed

Your child is getting enough sleep, you’re getting enough sleep, and everyone in your household is happy with how things are going. The problem is that your in-laws, your friend, or your neighbor are telling you that something in the way you are doing things is wrong and must be changed.

Perhaps your child is up with you until midnight and then sleeps until noon. Maybe your king-size bed is where the entire family sleeps and your toddler’s crib holds only his collection of stuffed animals. Possibly Mommy sleeps in the toddler bed, Daddy sleeps on the sofa, or your preschooler sleeps on the floor in your bedroom. Or the whole family plays musical beds every night, and you never know where anyone will end up. Or perhaps your bedtime routine is two hours long and includes everything from reading to singing to backrubs. Maybe your two-year-old is still nursing to sleep for bedtime and naps, or your three-year-old sleeps with five pacifiers and the family dog.

Here’s the bottom line: IF your child is getting enough sleep, IF you are all sleeping well, and IF the people who live in your home are happy with the way things are working out, then NOTHING NEEDS TO BE FIXED, regardless of what anyone else has to say about your family’s sleeping situation. This is not a sleep problem.

If this is the case for you, then the only thing you need to change is your response to unwanted advice about how you are running your own household. You may want to change the subject when the topic of bedtime comes up in conversation, or do a little research so that you have more confidence to back up your parenting choices.

There’s no harm in learning more about healthy sleep, because situations change, but please don’t feel compelled to change anything that is already comfortable for you and that is working for your family.

Sleep situations that do need to be fixed

Let’s look at the other side of the coin now. Perhaps the sleeping situation in your house isn’t good. What used to work doesn’t work any longer. Or it’s never felt right but you have never known how to change things. Or possibly your child isn’t getting quality sleep and is demonstrating a variety of the signs of overtiredness – such as tantrums, distractibility, or bedtime battles. Or maybe your child’s sleep is perfectly fine, but it’s your sleep that has been disrupted far too long by midnight child-tending, and you truly yearn for your own uninterrupted night’s sleep. In any of these situations your entire family will benefit if you’ll take a month or so to create and follow a more conscious sleep plan for your child.

In these cases, the rewards for improving your child’s sleep are overwhelming: A child who is happier, healthy, stronger and better able to learn and enjoy life. And, possibly just as important, a parent — you —  who can truly enjoy the daily process of raising a happy, well-rested child.

~ Tips from The No-Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers & Preschoolers

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