Brigitte Langevin is a sleep specialist. She is a speaker and author whose goal is to improve the quality of sleep and understand dreams. She is the author of several books on the subject. Helping my child sleep provides a great deal of information for parents. She is a dynamic person who is much sought-after for her humour and ability to make theoretical and scientific concepts accessible to all. Nights are more satisfying so performances during the day are improved thanks to her help!
Sleep disrupted following my return to work
I am the mother of a little boy who is 2 years old. For several weeks now, he has been waking up 2 or 3 three times each night and gets out of bed at 5:00 AM. I do not have any difficulty putting him to bed at night (7:30 PM). However, he wakes up around 1:00 AM, then again at 2:30 AM, and 4:00 AM... I feel he should be able to sleep through the night. I went back to work two months ago after being home with him until his second birthday. Do you think there is connection?
The fact that you have recently gone back to work may have a connection with the fact your son is waking up during the night. He may be feeling insecure (especially if his mom is feeling sad about leaving him at daycare). He is using brief cycles of wakening, which are normal, to wake up completely to verify your presence. However, your child's sleep, as well as yours (and the entire family for that matter), is being held hostage. The best thing you can do to help your son fall back to sleep on his own during brief cycles of wakening (as he did before), is to avoid going to see him. Obviously, you must inform him of this before beginning this new strategy. Tell him that if he calls for you, you will not go to him. For the first two nights, you may reassure him that you are there and that you will see him in the morning, but do not get out of bed. Use a firm and convincing voice. Your son may get very angry when he realizes that you will no longer comply with his desire to see you. Keep in mind that your role as a parent is to fulfill his needs. You must understand his desires but you are not obligated to fulfill them. Since your child needs to sleep through the night, you must let him cry. Acting any other way may entice him not to sleep and feel that it is fine to call for you. The entire family would then continue an infernal cycle. With patience, tenderness, at the least anxiety possible, in just a few nights sleep can once again become a wonderful experience...for the whole family!
Brigitte Langevin, author
Speaker and teacher
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