When Good Sleepers Go Bad
Do your child's sleep habits follow a pattern of "one step forward and two steps back"? As Karen Werstein, a youth program coordinator and mother of 16-month-old Max, says, "Just when I feel like we're making progress on the sleeping front, Max gets sick or cuts a tooth and we're back to square one. It's driving me crazy!"
It's inevitable: You'll face setbacks as your child hones his sleep skills. Overall, however, if you have a base of good habits and an established bedtime routine, temporary problems don't have to permanently derail sleeping through the night. Typically, the biggest mistake is not getting back on a regular routine, says Judith A. Owens, MD, director of the Pediatric Sleep Disorders Clinic at Hasbro Children's Hospital, in Providence, Rhode Island, and coauthor of Take Charge of Your Child's Sleep (Marlowe & Company). "If something happens -- like a trip or the birth of a new sibling -- and things have to be changed temporarily, the priority should be to return to regular sleep habits and environments so the new behaviors don't become entrenched."
To ensure that sleep-robbing scenarios are just temporary, we talked to experts about six common sleep disruptions to find out what you can do to remedy matters and get your kids snoozing soundly again.