Sleep patterns are continually changing because any of the things that affect a child during the daytime can also affect his sleep. This means that there times in your child’s life when you might expect his sleep to be affected Examples could be: teething, illness, the arrival of a new baby, seasonal changes, or dreaming.
After the cause of such a disturbance is addressed, some children slip back naturally into smooth sleep patterns. Others learn new habits or are thrown such disequilibrium that the wakefulness continues. This may be the beginning of sleep difficulties. Recognizing the changes as they occur can help you I watch to see if a desirable pattern is developing.
You can decide how long to allow a child to re-establish a desirable pattern on his own. Several factors should be taken into consideration:
? His history of being able to settle himself: after his last illness, did he return
quickly to his old patterns or did you need to “draw the line?”
to stay awake?
? His needs: how well is he coping during the day with reduced sleep?
? Your needs: how are you coping? How long can you wait it out? When a reasonable amount of time has passed and you have decided that a new habit has formed or has the potential to develop, you can change your response or intervene with the method that works for you.