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How Can I Help My Children Deal with My Divorce?

I have a 2-year-old daughter who wakes up once a night for reassurance. That's okay. I also have an 11-month-old son, who is the lightest sleeper I have ever encountered. They constantly wake one another with their crying. The small one, once woken, will stay up for hours. I average only five hours of sleep a night. Is there anything I can do to keep my son from waking up?

Distressed,
Toronto

Dear Distressed,

You can't change a light sleeper into a deep sleeper, but you can help him adjust. The short-term solution is to have your children sleep in separate rooms if possible. You could also use "white noise"—such as music, a CD with noises of waves, heartbeats, or wind—to keep the younger one from being awakened by the older one's cries. The "white noise" will enable your son to sleep with noise and fall asleep faster when he wakes. On the other hand, you may be able to improve nighttime chaos with a technique called "scheduled awakening," which can work if the older one wakes up at about the same time every night. Wake her 10 to 15 minutes earlier (than her usual wake time), comfort and put her to bed. Each night, wake her 10 to 15 minutes earlier than the night before, so that her regular awakening gets closer and closer to bedtime. Good Luck.

Mrs. Willow
Parent Tree Panel

 
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