Does your Child have a Sleep Problem . . . or NOT?

By Elizabeth Pantley

Let’s take a look at your situation to make sure that you are seeing things clearly. I’ve found that during the early years of a child’s life, everyone has opinions about how you should be raising your child, and other people’s opinions may sometimes cloud your perceptions of reality. So take a deep breath, clear out all the cobwebs that other people have placed in your path, and let’s first go over what’s not a problem. 

The sleep situation that doesn’t need to be fixed 

Your child is getting enough sleep, you’re getting enough sleep, and everyone in your household is happy with how things are going. The problem is that your in-laws, your friend, or your neighbour are telling you that something in the way you are doing things is wrong and must be changed.

I’ve found that during the early years of a child’s life, everyone has opinions about how you should be raising your child, and other people’s opinions may sometimes cloud your perceptions of reality.

Perhaps your child is up with you until midnight and then sleeps until noon. Maybe your king-size bed is where the entire family sleeps and your toddler’s crib holds only his collection of stuffed animals. Possibly Mummy sleeps in the toddler bed, Daddy sleeps on the sofa, or your preschooler sleeps on the floor in your bedroom. Or the whole family plays musical beds every night, and you never know where anyone will end up. Or perhaps your bedtime routine is two hours long and includes everything from reading to singing to backrubs. Maybe your two-year-old is still nursing to sleep for bedtime and naps, or your three-year-old sleeps with five pacifiers and the family dog. 

Here’s the bottom line: IF your child is getting enough sleep, IF you are all sleeping well, and IF the people who live in your home are happy with the way things are working out, then NOTHING NEEDS TO BE FIXED, regardless of what anyone else has to say about your family’s sleeping situation.  

Possibly Mummy sleeps in the toddler bed, Daddy sleeps on the sofa, or your preschooler sleeps on the floor in your bedroom.

If this is the case for you, then the only thing you need to change is your response to unwanted advice about how you are running your own household. You may want to change the subject when the topic of bedtime comes up in conversation, or do a little research so that you have more confidence to back up your parenting choices.

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