Last night my son had a very hard time falling asleep. He claimed to not feel well and then cried because he was too hot, too cold, and he was afraid of recurring nightmares. I offered for him to move to the bottom bunk, and he quickly fell asleep and slept through the whole night.
Children need consistency, routine and the sense of control over their lives which comes from a healthy set of boundaries. The problem is that all children, and many adults, don’t understand this or believe it to be true. Children fight against routines and push against boundaries, somehow thinking that if the boundaries shift and the routines change, they will gain more control.
Bedtime is a perfect example. Sleep experts tell us that we need to have consistent bedtime routines
A couple of days ago, my son and his sister had changed bunk beds. The first two nights were exciting and novel and they both fell asleep quite quickly. Soon, however, a pattern began to emerge, and my son began to associate his new bed with nightmares. He would toss and turn at night with nightmares and in the mornings he would complain and exhibit anxious behavior.
At this point in his development, my son was not ready for a change in his routine, so we have decided to switch beds back to how they used to be. We pick our battles. We decided to stick to our time tested bedtime routines for now, and try again to change them another time.
Sleep issues are common and there is not a one size fits all answer to children’s needs regarding sleep. Each family has different rhythms and expectations. What are your challenges? What kinds of issues would you love to have some feedback on?