Monday, March 20, 2017

8 Tricks to Help Your Sick Child Sleep Better

All parents have experienced sleepless nights here and there, but none are as challenging as when you have a sick child. The following step by step guide has helped my children and many of my friends children achieve a good night sleep, or at least a better night sleep when they are sick.


  1. Start getting your child ready for bed long before their actual bedtime. A good rule of thumb is to begin the following steps about an hour before bedtime. For older children, make sure to give them at least a 15 minute warning that they will need to stop their activity and get ready for bed. For younger children, including toddlers you can start picking up toys to help them get the idea that play time is over. Remember when your child is sick they are more likely to react in a negative way to change, be patient, and start early. By giving yourself and your child extra time to get in bed you will both experience less stress



  2. Step 2

    Give your child a warm bath, if possible, run the bath through the shower head while you keep the bathroom door shut. The steam and humidity are excellent for a child with congestion or a cough. Allow your child to spend a good amount of time in the bath tub, the warm water is soothing and will help them wind down. Also try to remember how achy you can get when your sick, a warm bath probably feels just as good to your little one as it does to you



  3. Step 3

    For younger children when bath time is over put them on a flat surface, try to avoid any drafty areas. Begin to massage your child with oil or lotion. I like to start with their legs and feet and work my way up. Pay close attention to your child’s reaction, some children do not like to be massaged or have certain areas that they like to be massaged more than others. Make sure prior to dressing your child that you put Vick’s on their chest (or feet for younger children).



  4. Step 4

    For a child with congestion or a stuffy nose use some type of saline spray this will help their nose run. The clearer you can get their nose before bed time the better they will sleep. For children still drinking from a bottle now is a good time to use the saline as it allows for the mucus to be washed down with their nighttime bottle. For older children this allows enough time for the saline to work and them to blow their nose. If you have an older child you might look intobreathe right nose strips for children (my husband and I swear by these) they will better help your child to breathe.



  5. Step 5

    This next step is highly recommended, and might be something you have never heard of before. Make a cup of tea for your child. For older children I would recommend sleepy time tea with a tiny bit of raw honey. For older and younger children (as young as 6 months) I recommend that you purchase organic throat coat tea. Most local health food stores offer some variation of tea specifically designed for children. It’s not expensive and even my 1 year old will drink this.



  6. Step 6

    Some of the night waking children experience when they are sick is due to night terrors. Night terrors can be very frightening for children, in fact, sometimes night terrors even cause children to be fearful of their parents as they don’t recognize them. So what can you do to prevent these horrifying experiences? Well, in my experience Highlands brand tablets called “calms forte” are the best thing. These tablets are taken sublingually. When my little girl was sick she didn’t sleep longer than an 1.5 hours for over a week. My husband and I gave her the calms forte and she was able to sleep 4 hours straight, thus avoiding 2-3 episodes of night terrors.



  7. Step 7

    From this point on I suggest you continue with the remainder of your night time routine, brushing teeth, reading a story, being tucked in, bottles, rocking, whatever the routine. Keep in mind that your child may need a little more soothing to initially fall asleep. Try stroking your child from the top of their forehead down their temple to their cheek bone, gently and slowly, a hormone is released when you do this that aids relaxation.



  8. Step 8

    Lastly, make sure that you are using a humidifier and that it is close enough to the child to be providing a real benefit. People tend to underestimate the effectiveness of a humidifier, and other external, i.e. non medicinal means of making their child more comfortable. Just remember using vicks, offering your child tea, or turning on that humidifier may take a few minutes of your time but.. they may finally allow you to get some much needed rest!



Things to Remember:


  • Remember to watch your reactions and interactions with your child, they can sense when you are irritated with them, or are rushing through the routine, try to stay levelheaded (I.E pretend like you aren’t completely sleep deprived), patient, and empathetic

  • There are many different natural remedies to help your children sleep, the older they are the more options you will have, talk to your local health food store, they can generally guide you in the right direction

Labels: 8 Tricks to Help Your Sick Child Sleep Better

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