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

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