There are a lot of changes involved in the separation and divorce process, and you may feel very tired as a result. This is also true for your children, who might have trouble coping with you and your spouse’s separation. The emotional distress children experience can also affect their lives in many areas, including how they sleep.
Since sleep is very crucial to your child’s health and development, you’ll need to consider positive ways to get your child through this emotional time and back onto a healthy sleep schedule.
Set a Firm Routine
Despite all the changes your separation has brought, work on maintaining and rebuilding a sleep routine for your child. Depending on their age, this may include naps and a plan for getting them ready for bed at night.
Help your child get prepared for bed before their head hits the pillow by having things stay clam at home before naps and in the latter part of the evening. Whether you watch videos, read books or just talk about the day, make sure the bedtime routine for your child is predictable at your home.
If you and your co-parent are now in separate homes, your child may feel sad about not being able to say “goodnight” to both of you. Consider coordinating a fast bedtime phone call or video chat with the absent parent, if possible.
Keep the Lines of Communication Open
Your divorce or separation can cause your child to feel many emotions. On top of that, other things in their lives could be making them anxious or uneasy, such as concerns about school or friends.
Speak to your child about everything that is going on in their life, and let them talk openly about what they are feeling, even if it sometimes upsets you. Reassure your child whenever you can, especially when it comes to family matters. Tell your child that you and your co-parent love them unconditionally and that things will get better eventually despite all that is going on right now.
Speak to Your Co-Parent
The process of separation or divorce is not easy, and it gets even more complicated when there is conflict between the spouses involved. However, when you have children together, keeping communication related to your kids and their well-being open and ongoing will help the kids move forward.
Speak to your co-parent about your child’s sleeping habits across both homes. Coming to an agreement on sleep arrangements and bedtime routines is ideal, but you may discover you don’t agree with your co-parent on every point here. If this is the case, focus on what you are able to control, which is keeping the routine you set in your home in place.
Even if you don’t agree with your co-parent about everything related to your child’s sleeping habits, you can still share whatever you have observed with your co-parent. Keep a journal for your child’s sleeping schedule, noting matters such as how the bedtime routine went and how long it took your child to fall asleep. You can then share these notes with your co-parent so they have an idea of how your child does when they sleep at your house. This information can help the co-parent tweak their routine or maintain the one you’ve set.
Getting your child back to a healthy and regular sleep routine during a divorce or separation can prove to be a challenge. Keep following the strategies that help your child sleep well without excessive intervention from you, and do whatever you can to avoid any setbacks.