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Sleep 2017-09-11T14:31:24+00:00
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Many children will experience difficulties with sleep, nightmares and/or night terrors. Most children will grow out of them and they will not cause any long-term harm to your child.

In many cases there may be no obvious reason why a child experiences difficulties with sleep. However, sleep disturbances, nightmares and night terrors may all be more common in children following significant life events (e.g. loss of a loved one, parental separation, bullying, change of school/home etc.) traumatic experiences, or in children who are struggling with emotional difficulties (e.g. anxiety, low mood etc.).

There are a number of things you and your child can do to manage these difficulties and this guide contains many tips that you might find helpful. Not everything in here will work for every child, therefore it is important that you try things out and work together to find out what works. To help with this, there is a sleep diary and dream journal that you may like to use to keep track of your child’s progress.

If you are concerned that your child is continuing to experience difficulties, you may wish to discuss this with your GP. If you believe that your child’s difficulties with sleep are linked to other emotional difficulties, or started following a loss or other significant life event, you may wish to consider contacting us for further support or guidance.

Sleep Disturbances

Every child has problems sleeping at times. Often children will find it difficult to get to sleep, or may wake up in the night and find it difficult to get back to sleep. This is perfectly normal and these problems often resolve themselves after a short period of time. However, if sleep problems persist they can have an impact on your child’s energy levels, mood and how much they are able to concentrate. As such, it is important to take steps to help your child to get a good night’s sleep.

Establish a Routine

Support your child to try to go to bed and get up at roughly the same time each day. By doing this, the body starts to associate times of the day with sleep. You may need to do this for several weeks to establish a regular sleep-wake cycle.

Children are more likely to struggle with sleep if they are tense or excited when going to bed. Therefore, it is important to help your child to relax before bed and to develop bed time rituals.

There are many ways you can do this but you may like to encourage your child to:

  1. Have a bath
  2. Have a warm milky drink or glass of water that they take to bed
  3. Read a book or listen to soothing music or an audio book
    Listen to relaxation CDs

With younger children or children who are struggling to feel safe, you may also find it helpful to have some time for cuddles, to help your child to feel secure.

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