Sleep Issues

Sleep disturbances are one of the most common challenges for families adopting internationally. It is important to remember your child’s traumatic history and how this can inhibit your child’s sleeping abilities. Night time can be scary. These are some reminders that might help:

  • Remember to NOT let your child “cry it out” at night
  • Have appropriate expectations regarding sleep
  • Professionals say it takes at least 3 months to form a sleeping habit
  • Be flexible with time and place of sleeping
  • Get outside in the morning sun to help regulate cortisol levels
  • Limit visitors and outings initially until the child is comfortable in your home in order to not scare them with strangers (events of the day affect sleep at night)
  • Remember how great nighttime is for attachment: holding, bonding, easing fears, etc.
  • Night terrors: child will be screaming/moving in their sleep and they are not awake. Be present, but don’t wake the child because they will not remember night terrors. Keep them safe.
  • Nightmares: comfort your child after awaking from nightmares
  • Remember that you will be parenting your adopted child differently and educate other children accordingly.