Helping Kiddos Sleep When They Are Sick

At some point down the road, your kiddo will get sick (hopefully not for a long time!). If your child is falling asleep and going back to sleep independently, you may be unsure about how to respond when they are sick and have a hard time sleeping. You may want to do more than usual, but worry that you may negatively impact their independent sleep habits.

Here’s how I see it. Sleep coaching is about teaching independent sleep skills WITHOUT DISREGARDING a child’s needs. So when your child is sick and they need extra support, go ahead and offer that extra TLC without any second thought about it. Trust that once your kiddo is healthy again, they will sleep independently again.

So, what does that extra support look like?

Here’s an example of what that support ladder can look like:

  1. Check in more often
  2. Stay in the room by the door and shush.
  3. Sit by the crib/bed and sing/shush. Offer a drink of water if appropriate
  4. Offer some gentle back or belly rubs/pats
  5. Pick them up to help them calm down. Hold them vertically if congested. Then lay back in bed/crib
  6. Hold them until they are asleep in your arms
  7. Offer more frequent night feedings if appropriate
  8. Plan to sleep next to their crib/bed all night
  9. Anything else that works!

Start with step 1 and work your way up if needed. Use this ladder as needed at bedtime, throughout the night and for naps.

As soon as your kiddo feels better, go back to the usual sleep routine you had before they got sick. You may see a regression for a few nights (they were loving those extra cuddles in the middle of the night!). Stay consistent and go back to how you were responding before they got sick, and they will be back to sleeping independently soon!

If you have any questions about your child’s sleep and would like more support, head over HERE to learn more about how we can work together to improve sleep or contact me.

You can also join my free private Facebook group for sleep support.

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