REDUCING ANXIETY IN CHILDREN THROUGH CO-SLEEPING

 

It goes without saying the last year has been an upheaval for all of us, particularly for children who have experienced massive changes and, for many, for the first time in their lives. Disruptions to the school year, home schooling, lockdowns, distance from grandparents, extended family and friends, it's understandable that anxieties have been running high. 

When younger ones can’t quite put their feelings into words, their behaviour, eating and sleeping patterns are often the first signs parents recognise that something is up. And when traumatic, stressful or anxious experiences occur, it’s important for children to feel connected and close to a parent or caregiver more than ever.

According to the Institute of Child Psychology, children express trauma in many ways and “a safe, connected relationship with an adult is key to healing.[1]

“First and foremost, traumatised children need to feel they are physically and emotionally safe,” says registered psychologist Dr Tammy Schamuhn. “Children need to have predictability (i.e. in scheduling and routines, parenting styles) and to know, no matter what the behaviour, their caregivers love and support them.[2]

CO-SLEEPING FOR CONNECTION AND CALM

For mum of three, Samantha, found co-sleeping an effective way to support her eight-year-old daughter who was traumatised following a bullying incident at school.

“As a baby we never had any issues with her sleeping, it's only been since the bullying. Prior to this she just loved school and loved learning. After the incident, she was traumatised and terrified,” explains Samantha.

“We started working with the school psychologist and had a plan in place… and then COVID hit. There was so much rushing around at school and getting things organised to send home the kids, they forgot about the communication with the children. All the kids panicked about COVID and our daughter thought everyone was going to die. It was heartbreaking.”

On the advice of their psychologist, Samantha started co-sleeping with her daughter after months of her fighting sleep. “She found going to sleep very stressful. We tried everything under the sun – back rubs, foot rubs, music, lavender – you name it,” Samantha says.

“They suggested letting her sleep in our bed and then transition her out over time. When I've been sleeping with her in bed, she falls to sleep straight away – she’s not far from us and she feels safe and secure.”

“Now she's sleeping better, she eats better and is more rational after having a good night's sleep. And then the meltdowns are not as intense and not as frequent,” says Samantha. “It also impacts her learning, when she's had a good night's sleep she’s more receptive to the teacher.”

In times of change and stress, it’s a common occurrence for sleep to be disrupted. Attachment and connection can significantly help children through anxious and stressful times. By creating a safe space for children to sleep closely and together, it provides security and a sense of calm – and a better night’s sleep for both kids and parents!

Create a safe, connected sleep space with duopillow – the pillow uniquely designed for co-sleeping.

[1] https://www.instagram.com/p/CFUVQM5AV-4/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

[2] https://instituteofchildpsychology.com/2018/10/22/childhood-trauma-through-a-childs-eyes/