Kids & Sleep Problems: How to Cope When You Are Your Child’s Only Respite by Carrie Watts
My youngest son has never slept easily. Before we got him medicine, he’d only sleep 20 minutes at a time. It’s unknown why, though it’s possibly related to the difficult pregnancy I had with him. Whatever the cause, he has only slept when pressed firmly up against another human – and that human had to be me.
There wasn’t much joy to find in these night-long battles; it was arduous and painful in so many ways. Just before he turned 3 years old, it led to a complete breakdown in my ability to cope with everyday life. That’s when I realized I had to change my mindset. As overwhelming as it was – and still is – what helped was to stop focusing on the battle and reframe it, so I felt I achieved something every night. I did that by:
- Reminding myself he physically needed me; he wasn’t being difficult.
- Slowing my breathing and guiding him to match my rhythm, to find peace.
- Recognizing that I am his “safe place.” Just being near me is enough to let him feel safe and secure.
I count myself lucky that I can give him rest when nothing else in this world can. And at the end of the day, who can complain about hugging their baby to sleep?