You have worked so hard at making sure you have a great family sleep routine, perfect sleep environment and finally figured out your kid's sleep. Once everything is in place you get hit with - a cold or flu hits your family. (This could also be vaccines, unexpected late nights or travel) We've all been there.
No one is sleeping well. You are busy caring for your kids, and you might be fighting the same cold, or up worried.
My rules for sick kids or other sleep interruption - try and relax, do what you need to allow you to protect your kid's sleep and get them to sleep. Techniques can include extra cuddles, naps, extra drinks in the middle of the night or even crawling into bed with you. I always tell parents to fill your kids with love and let your gut lead you.
Remember it can only take as little as three repeated reactions to create a new habit for your child. It could be that you go in and check extra times at bedtime with your 3-year-old or you go back to nursing your 6-month-old at every night waking. (I've done both more than once) or your 18 month old is sleeping in your bed. Either way, they were sleeping through the night or at least sleeping independently.
Once everyone is feeling better it’s time to get back to our normal sleep patterns but HOW?
Look at how you got them to sleep independently the first time. Whatever method you used that will be your starting point.
It could be using the chair method, check and console or "good night/good morning" (what I like to call extinction). Regardless of the method, it's time to retrain your child. Don't panic. Your child learned to sleep once so they will sleep independently again.
It won't necessarily be easy, but they will remember what to do. You need to bring out the sleep plans, start being consistent and predictable with an early bedtime, and use your sleep cues and routines. You can do this.
I like to modify when possible shortening the method. Instead of making a change every three days start making one every 1 or 2 days. As soon as you begin to see improvements run with it.
If you used the chair method, you might start by moving the chair every day.
If you used 'check and console' skip to checks every 10 minutes.
If you used extinction/ 'goodnight/good morning' jump right in.
Remind yourself that they did this before, you did this before, and you will all get back on track quickly. The longer you were off your routine, the longer it will take to get back.
Until you are back to your regular schedule. Try an extra early bedtime and give yourself a break. It will be worth the hard work when everyone is sleeping better again.
If you have fallen off your sleep routines and need help getting back to your happy place get in touch.
Parents remember after a cold or flu has made a pass through your house it is also important you get extra sleep. Try adding a nap and/or an early bedtime will help you recover a little faster.