Help, my child wakes up at night: One, two, three times a night and even sometimes more, some kids interrupt their parents sleep because they are afraid, thirsty, hungry or just not want to be alone. These multiple awakenings are a real source of stress and tension for the whole family condemned to the chopped nights. How to overcome?
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Multiple awakenings in children
“My three-year-old son wakes up practically every night since he was born. As long as he did not get out of bed, he would cry and call us. Now he comes around 4 am in our room, he claims his milk or waits for him to be laid back. We sometimes feel like he just wants to make sure we are there. Like Alicia, many parents know the ordeal of the nights interspersed with cries and tears, the fatigue that accumulates day by day and the exasperation that inevitably grows. Sleep problems are part of a child’s healthy development. However, when they become recurrent and hinder family life and couple life, they acquire a pathological dimension. In theory, the toddler’s sleep is gradually adjusted between six months and one year. However, some children continue to wake up several times during the night beyond 12 months. What can we do to face a child who cries, demands to drink, slips into the conjugal bed every night? Parents are often destitute: “We tried everything, nothing works. She gets up no matter what. I hope the school will get it all right, “sighs Emilie.
He did not fall asleep alone; he will be more likely to wake up at night
Reflux, dental flare, otitis … in 20% of cases, multiple revivals are linked to an organic cause that prevents the child from sleeping well. However, most of the time, these are simple behavioral problems. Like adults, children wake up several times during the night. “In small children, sleep cycles do not exceed 60 minutes,” explains Dr. Frédérique Aussert, a physician specializing in sleep disorders in the Morphée Network. At the end of each period, they will wake up very briefly and then plunge into sleep again. He who has not fallen asleep on his own will have much more difficulty in managing night-time awakenings. He will need the intervention of the adult to help him fall back to sleep. ”
The incessant awakening, the sign of evil?
Other factors are likely to cause continuous awakening. In the oedipal period, they are sometimes a way for the child to prevent his parents from finding each other. He can not bear that the couple exists without him. Moreover, a child who is used to soliciting his parents all day will be tempted to do the same at night. The layout of the space plays an important role: a poorly placed bed, a non-existent playing space … the little one must be comfortable in his environment to sleep serenely. The cumulative changes in the atmosphere of a baby (birth of a cadet, move, resumption of work of the mother, Death in the family …) can create a feeling of insecurity in the child that will affect his sleep. As we know, all our inner conflicts reappear in sleep through dreams and nightmares. And the children are sponges, they feel the emotions of their parents and sometimes feel responsible for their worries. “In many of my consultations I have heard parents express their anxieties and trace old wounds,” observes psychologist Lyliane Nemet-Pier. And a few days later, the child did not wake up at night. ” It is important to put words on suffering, especially when they come from the family. This mom of two children knows something about it. “Our couple have been going badly for months. From the day I discovered that my husband was cheating on us and we made the decision to split up, our 16-month-old son did complete nights. ”
Insufficient dialogue with parents at reunion
Very often parents return exhausted at night and are not enough available for their toddlers. Happened by the obligations of everyday life (bathing, meals, household …), they do not grant any moment of respite and relaxation with their offspring. “In this unbridled race, the child does not meet his parents and does not receive his dose of affection yet indispensable before the long separation of the night,” says Liliane Nemet-Pier. In the same way, a child put to bed quickly without reassuring ritual will have more difficulty falling asleep. The return home must be a time entirely dedicated to each of his children. “I advise parents when they come back to ask themselves even 10 minutes to play, to exchange with their little ones. ”
The end of the nights minced
There is no way marked out by the difficulties of the evening. What is certain is that we do not permanently solve the problems of sleep by systematically taking the child in bed, giving him a bottle of milk or going to lie next to him. “By doing so, Symptom and we create a conditioning. The baby will wake up all the more as he knows what he is going to get. In the event of a nocturnal awakening, “it is better to reassure her child, then explain to her that the night is not over and that Mom and Dad do not want to be disturbed”. Any sleep disorder can be regulated as long as you take the time to wonder about what happens during the day. “A child who has spent an active day, who has had exchanges with his parents, Will accept more quickly to lie down, “says Dr. Frédérique Aussert. The meal should be taken in a quiet atmosphere without television. Children who are overburdened with images can not find themselves alone in bed facing themselves. The bedtime ritual is a critical moment because it allows the little one to evacuate his anxieties. A story, a hug, a subdued light, sometimes it does not take much more. ” The ritual should not be shipped, but it has a beginning and an end. And when it is finished, we leave the room leaving to return if the child reminds us. “The more one remains beside him at bedtime, the more he is told that the night is terrifying and that he can not drive alone,” the psychologist analyzes. Growing up, The child must learn to face this long separation of the night autonomously. ”
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