The Sleep Dilemma: Helping your Child and Yourself

Usually when you read about sleep training your child, it refers to a small baby.
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Parents who are sleep deprived usually start reading up on the topic once their little bundle has passed the three-month mark.  With our first we didn’t really get a clue until he was almost a year.  Lack of sleep was just part of the deal and I had become accustomed to it.  After just one night of letting him put himself back to sleep, we were good to go.  He has been an awesome sleeper ever since.

Now, here we are with a little girl who turned TWO a few months ago and to say she doesn’t excel at sleeping is an understatement.  Girlfriend hates to nap and wakes during the night on a regular basis.  Me no likey.  She screams and complains and our peaceful house quickly turns into a loud battleship.  Our neighbors can probably hear her and I feel bad about that.

My mind races trying to figure out why she isn’t sleeping.  Is she scared?  Is she hurting?  Is she getting a molar?  Does she hate her room?  Does she hate me?

I wish I had the answer.  I spend hours thinking about her sleeplessness.  She has never been a great sleeper, but it seems that lately she is going through some sort of “you can’t make me sleep” phase.  My husband takes the logical approach of looking at the situation as a learning opportunity for her.  By not sleeping on her floor or bringing her into our bed, we are helping her understand that she can sleep on her own.  My approach is more emotional, with me wanting to hold her and lie with her in her room to soothe her cries.  When it is the wee hours of the morning, I would do just about anything to comfort her.  I know this won’t help her in the long run, but hearing her wail is no walk in the park.  It is difficult knowing that I’m not giving her what she wants.

I had always thought that once we made it through babyhood, the sleep issues would dissipate.  I expect not to sleep with a tiny baby who is nursing and eating during the night.  I expect a night here or there where sleep is interrupted, but I must admit that I did not expect my two-year old to hold a sleep strike.

I just hope it doesn’t last too long.

Have you experienced sleep issues with your child?  What worked for you?

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