What to Do When Your Child Become Sick
It is that time of year again! Cold and Flu season is coming up quickly. As a parent, it breaks our hearts to see our children not feeling well. This feeling of worry and heartache never goes away. I have adult children and worry about them every time they get sick. So, what do you do when your child is sick to help them get the sleep they need?
When working with parents, this is often a question that comes up. When parents see the results of their sleep training efforts, they are nervous that they will fall back to the old patterns as before sleep training and they will have to start over again. I assure parents that is not the case. You can take care of the needs of your sick child and not worry that your child will never sleep again.
My advice to parents when their child is sick
If your child becomes ill, I tell parents to put the sleep plan on a shelf if you need to. If your child becomes sick, help them to feel better and make them as comfortable as possible! Your child may need some extra holding, cuddles, rocking, and assistance. Our little ones may need more intervention to help them fall asleep as they battle the uncomfortable symptoms illness brings.
Having a sick child is stressful enough, don’t pile on the stress by worrying about getting off track with your sleep schedule. You will be able to get back on track once they are feeling better. Your child will remember the familiar routine once you go back to it.
Caution: Continue to follow safe sleep practices as you help them through the illness. It is important to following the ABC’s of safe sleep even when they are sick that is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. A-Alone (nothing but your baby and a well fitted sheet), B-Back (always place your baby in crib on their back) and C-Crib (Only offer sleep in a crib or bassinet). You can read more about safe sleep here.
Be sure to give yourself credit for having your child on a healthy sleep schedule prior to them getting sick! If your child came into this illness being well-rested, they should be able to recover quicker! A temporary change in your sleep plan to help them get the sleep they need will aid them in healing faster. Sleep is so important to our immune system.
After the Illness
The important part is that once your child is showing signs of getting better, to get right back to the healthy sleep schedule they were on before they got sick. You have to “draw the line in the sand” at some point and say to yourself, it is time to get back on track! Be patient with your child, as they may miss those extra cuddles and rocking. It will take a few days to settle into the old routine, but they will remember what to do with your lead! They will even find comfort in the familiar structure as they get back on track with your consistent response!