Sick Children and Sleep

Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos

Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos

My 7 year old daughter woke up in the middle of the night Saturday crying out and calling for me which is not normal for her.  I went in to see what was wrong and I realized she had a fever.  She still was running a fever on Monday, so I took her to the doctor and we learned she had the flu 🙁  Since Saturday she has been waking frequently in the night crying and calling for me.  Sometimes she’s totally awake, sometimes she is barely awake.  I always go to her right away and make sure she is okay.  I still leave the room before she falls asleep.

When our children are sick, sticking to sleep schedules is probably the last thing on your mind.  While I would never recommend starting sleep training with a sick child (or one that is getting sick or getting over being sick), remember that sleep is very important when your child is sick so you want to make sure they are getting enough of it.

If you are in the middle of sleep training, see if you can stay at the same position or step you were at before they got sick.  You could always move backwards a little, but try not to go all the way back to the way things originally were.  Once they are all the way better, you can pick up where you left off.

If you are all the way done with sleep training and your child was sleeping well, they may not be when they get sick.  Give them some extra help falling asleep or falling back to sleep, but again, try not to go all the way back to the beginning.  As soon as they are better, you may have to do a little work getting them back to sleeping well, but they should quickly go back to being a great sleeper!

If you were co-sleeping and recently moved your child out of your bed, you may want to try sleeping in their room instead of bringing them back to your bed. It may be confusing to them if they are not old enough to understand you are just bringing them back to your bed for the time when they are sick. Of course, if that doesn’t work and your child is getting upset, do what you need to in order to keep them calm and get the sleep they need to get better quickly!

If your child was a good sleeper before they got sick, do what you need to while they are sick.  Once they are better, go back to doing what you were doing before.

The most important thing is to be there for your child and help them get better quickly.  Remember they do need sleep to get healthier though!

Thanks for reading and please feel free to share!

By Michelle Winters

“Air Quality Evangelist” Award

air_quality_blog_awardI am so excited!  The other day I got an email from someone at a company called Sylvane.  Sylvane is a company that specializes in improving indoor air quality.  A few months ago they started a monthly award program for outstanding bloggers in the allergy and air quality space.  For the month of February, one of the blog posts I wrote for www.thedcladies.com was selected for this award!

Here’s a link for more information on the award and it also contains a link to my article:  http://www.sylvane.com/blog/february-air-quality-evangelists-2/

If you’d rather just read the article and learn simple ways to improve your indoor air quality, here’s the link to my article: http://thedcladies.com/2013/lifestyle/simple-cost-friendly-ways-to-improve-your-indoor-air-quality/

And if you’d like a personal consultation with me on how you can cut back on the amount of toxins in your home, contact me at michelle@sleepwellsleepsolutions.com.

– Michelle

Daylight Savings Time

For the past 2 years, I’ve been on top of every daylight savings time and always gave advice about them in my monthly newsletters.  For some reason, this daylight savings time has totally surprised me and I just realized on Monday that this weekend we changed our clocks!  Oops!!

Anyway, for those of you who may be wondering what this means for your child’s sleep, I have some tips for the weekend coming up.

First of all, if you have a child who wakes early in the morning, this may be a good time for you.  If your child wakes at 5 or 6 in the morning, once we change the time, they will wake at 6 or 7.  BUT – that is only if you change all the other times to the new time as well – so if your child’s bedtime is currently 7, you would need to make sure they are going to bed at 8 the new time.  If that is doable, try it and see if it helps!

2013-03-05_21-18-43_377For children who are not early rising right now, you could either do the time change gradually, or do an immediate change.  For a more gradual change, which would be good for young children, start putting them into bed a little earlier each night.  You could do 10 – 15 minutes earlier each night.  Since it will be lighter out when they go to bed, you may want to think about room darkening shades or curtains if you do not already have them.  You could also start waking your child up earlier by 10 – 15 minutes earlier as well.  Do not forget to change meal times and nap times gradually as well.

You could also do an immediate change on Sunday and wake your child up at their normal wake up time according to the new time.  So if they normally wake at 7, you will actually be waking them at 6 (old time).  Then make meals, naps, and bedtimes according to the new time.  Children adjust pretty quickly and in a few days everything should be back to normal!

Let me know if you have any questions!  Weren’t these time changes easier before kids?!

By Michelle Winters

Bad Guys, and Black Snakes and Sharks, Oh My!

Do your children have fears, either real or imagined?  My son almost never says he’s afraid of anything, but my 7 year old daughter is another story.  She has both real and imagined fears.  Real fears being things like the snake from outside coming into her room at night and imagined being monsters in her closet.  Some of these fears I believe are partly to stall at bedtime, but I (almost) always treat them as something she really believes in.  (Afterall, I am human and do lose my patience sometimes and have been known to just say “No, there is absolutely NO reason to be afraid of sharks, we do not even live NEAR an ocean, now Go To Bed!”)

Kids looking at a shark

 

 

 

 

 

There are several ways to deal with fears in your children.  However you deal with them, you should take them seriously.  No matter how outrageous the fear sounds to you, it probably seems real to your child.  Make sure you let your child tell you about their fear.  That way you can understand how to handle it.

If they are afraid of something like bad guys coming into your home, let your child know that Mommy and Daddy are there to protect them.  That is something they should not worry about because other people worry about that and take care of them and protect them.   My daughter will talk about bad guys sometimes.  And then there was the time we saw a black snake outside but near her bedroom.  The fear of the snake coming in lasted several nights and we kept reassuring her that it would not come near her because it would be more afraid of her then she was of it.

If your child is afraid of something imagined, like monsters in their closets, feel free to tell them that monsters are not real.  Tell them that this is just a bad thought in their head and they are in control of the thoughts in their head.  This is what I do with my 7 year old daughter when she is having bad thoughts or has had a bad dream.  We talk briefly about it and then I remind her that it is just a bad thought in her head and she can take that bad thought out.  We use our hands and pretend we are taking the bad thought out of our heads and throwing it out the window.  Then I tell her we have to put a good thought in.  Sometimes she already knows what good thought she wants to think about (going on vacation is a common one) and sometimes we have to do some brainstorming to find one she wants to think about.  Once she finds one she likes, she usually goes to sleep pretty quickly.

You could also discuss with your child what they would like to dream about before they go to sleep at night.  This gets them thinking of good things before they even go to sleep.

Let me know if you have questions or comments!

By Michelle Wintersblack snake on tree

 

Sleep Training a Puppy

sleeping AlvinSo if you do have your children sleeping and you are enjoying sleep, it’s probably best to not get a puppy!

We adopted our Alvin when he was 7 weeks old back in December.  I had been enjoying sleeping mostly through the night in the months prior.  My children were sleeping and so was the dog we had.   It was my idea to get the puppy though and I promised I would be the one getting up with him in the night.

I was ready though (or so I thought)!  When I graduated college and was home with my parents, they got a new German Shepherd puppy.  She was baby-gated in the kitchen, but would climb over the baby gate at night if she was awake and no one was with her.  So, since I wasn’t working, I would be the one who would sit with her while she fell asleep at night.  Once she fell asleep, I went to sleep and that was all I remembered.  I have no idea if she woke in the middle of the night – after all, I wasn’t getting up with her.

We decided to put Alvin in one of those play yards that we had when our kids were really little.  That way he could have his bed and a puppy pad, and I could climb in if I needed to stay with him.  I started off staying with him, and every 2 hours he woke up and needed me to come take him out and sit with him while he fell back asleep.  I tried really hard not to let him fall asleep on my lap (but it was hard because he was so cute!).  I’d let him lie his head on me though, but when he was getting sleepier, I’d move it off.  Then once he was asleep, I’d ever so quietly and slowly get up and walk out of the room.  Usually he’d stay asleep – but not always.  Then I’d have to sit back down with him until he fell asleep again.

This brought back memories of when my son wasn’t sleeping.  I’d almost dread going to bed, because I never knew how long I’d get to sleep.  My stomach would drop at that first cry (or bark).

After a week or two Alvin learned how to climb out of the play yard.  By this time, he was also waking up, going to the bathroom on the puppy pad (or his bed, or the floor) and then he’d cry so I could come sit with him while he fell back asleep.  After ending up stepping in poop one night because he had gotten out of the play yard, pooped, then “called” me, I decided I had to make a change.

My husband put one of the dog crates together, we put Alvin in, and who knew – he started sleeping better!!  Now, at 4 months old, he wakes around 4 or 4:30 and I feed him and our other dog Abby.  The other night he woke at 3:30 and I decided that I was NOT going to feed him that early.  I took them out, but he went back to sleep until 7.  That’s when I decided to “stretch his feed”.  So yesterday, he woke at 4:15 and I didn’t feed him.  This morning he slept till 5:45!!  Yippee!!

Now, if only my clients had it this easy with their kids . . .

sleeping

 

By Michelle Winters