It's one of life's cruelest jokes: you never quite appreciate taking naps and getting tons of sleep until you don't have enough hours in the day to indulge in such things. I'll admit to being jealous of my own children as they have nodded off in the car, crawled on the couch for an afternoon snooze, and gone to bed before the sun went down. Sleep seems to come naturally for kids. So when slumber troubles pop up, parents have a tendency to blame themselves. There are. however, reasons your kids won't sleep that have nothing to do with you. So go ahead and let yourself off the hook.
As easy as it is to turn the blame inward, you're not always doing something wrong when your child struggles. Kids are humans too and, just like adults, they can suffer from sleep issues. The good news is, more often than not, the problem is either short-lived or easily addressed. Even if you don't see results right away, know that it's very rare for your child to have trouble sleeping forever. With your support and guidance, your little one will eventually stay happily put in dreamland.
If your kiddo has been struggling to sleep, it may be due to one of these nine reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with you or your parenting skills.
1. They Are Asserting Independence
Once kids hit the toddler stage, they begin to crave more independence, which can mean fighting sleep even when they're tired. As the website for CNN pointed out, kids may try to assert their independence around bedtime, making it difficult for them to get the sleep they need. Asking to stay up later or pulling out all types of stalling techniques may be their way of expressing their desire to be in charge.
2. They Have Fears & Worries
"For kids, feeling scared or worried at bedtime is one of the main reasons for having trouble falling asleep," Kid's Health noted. It could be your little one gets anxious when alone in their dark room, or can't sleep because they hear strange sounds at night that make them worried. By reminding them they are safe and providing comforts — like lullabies and stuffed animals to hug — kids can feel more secure about falling asleep on their own.
3. They're Overtired
Kids can be confusing creatures, so much so that they have energy spikes when they are exhausted. As What To Expect's website pointed out, "hyperactive behavior, fidgeting, and loudness are not signs of excessive energy; rather, they are the wiped-out toddler’s last-ditch effort to keep himself awake." Once they reach this point, sleep may be a tough fight.
4. They Are Wetting The Bed
Even if your little one has not trouble falling asleep, she may have trouble staying asleep. As Real Simple magazine pointed out, kids body's aren't ready to hold urine while asleep until their about 7 years old, on average. Wetting the bed may cause your child to wake up, and stay awake, and different points throughout the night.
5. They Can't Self-Soothe
Waking up throughout the night is common for babies and children of all ages, but certain skills are needed to help them drift back to dreamland. According to the Sleep Health Foundation, kids who are capable of self-settling fall back asleep after brief periods of waking throughout the night. This is a skill that can be practiced at bedtime by allowing your child to fall asleep without your assistance or presence.
6. They Are Stressed
Big life changes, such as a move to a new house, can trigger sleep troubles for little ones. As Parents magazine pointed out, sleep problems can occur from stress, no matter your age. Chances are, this will pass with time, and sleep cycles should return to normal.
7. They Are On Medications
Certain medications can make it hard for kids to sleep. Asthma, allergy, and cold medications have the potential to interfere with sleep, as Children's Health reported. If you child is taking one of these and finding it difficult to sleep, you may want to explore other options with your pediatrician.
8. They Suffer From Bad Dreams
In my house, it's the scary dreams that wake my little ones, sending them to my room for comfort. Some night they fall back asleep by my side, but other times they lie awake replaying the frightening images. We all know how a bad dream can shake you up, so it's no wonder theses instances hit kiddos so hard.
9. They Are In An Uncomfortable Sleep Environment
Having the right environment can welcome sleep. To prepare your child's room for a night of solid shut eye, Kid's Health suggested clearing the bed of toys, keeping a cool temperature, and starting to calm down before it's time to sleep.