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Most adoptive families experience sleep issues after coming home. Often, these problems come as a surprise to a family who saw their new son or daughter sleep soundly in their home country. The familiarity of sounds, smells, sights, and time zone can’t be underestimated. For most young children, sleeping in a new place can be scary.
Often parents cannot determine why their child is not going to sleep or cannot stay asleep even though the child is tired. In almost all cases, adoptive child sleep issues do not stem from behavioral problems but are most often the physical manifestations of a child’s inner struggles with grief, loss and trauma. Because of this, achieving regular healthy sleep can take time. It’s development goes hand-in-hand with the emotional and psychological healing that must occur for each child.
Parents who develop and use a plan for healthy sleep find that they are less weary and less overwhelmed. Each child is different, but every child can benefit from an intentional process that cultivates feelings of security while offering tools that can equip the child to relax and get the rest he or she needs. A variety of popular sleep methods exist, but families should be particularly attuned to how these methods might work with a child who has experienced trauma or loss. For example, crying it out, removing daytime naps, and taking away privileges generally don’t produce the same kind of results that positive methods like physical reassurance and reliability can. Though it may take longer than we’d hoped, with patience and sensitivity, healthy sleep can be achieved!
For more information on developing healthy sleep patterns, read:
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