In the United States, more than 1 million children experience a parental divorce every single year. It can be very difficult in a number of different ways for your children to adjust to their new lifestyle but one of the most consistent problems has to do with their going to bed routines and their bedtimes when they divide their time between two homes during a separation or a divorce.
As a parent, there are important steps you can take to help your children as well as yourself cope with problem sleeping during this difficult transition period.
Do you have questions about how child custody arrangements can impact your Florida divorce? Contact a Tampa divorce attorney to learn more about this critical issue.
Divorce Can Cause Other Issues, Especially Related to Sleeping
According to recent research reported by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, child adversities are associated with poor sleep often.
These can include parental divorce, child abuse and parental death, and these issues with sleeping can even be associated with higher rates of adult insomnia. Good quality sleep, as you probably know as a parent, is a very important component of overall health.
Children are driven by routines and any major changes in their routines as well as the emotional challenges of coping with the end of a parents’ marriage can throw their routines out of whack very easily.
If custody arrangements between you and your former spouse involve holiday visits and regular weekend visits with the noncustodial parent, these changes in routine are usually taken in stride but any kind of remotely stressful situation could trigger your child’s return to more childish or even baby like behavior for a while.
An older child, for example, may act defiant, withdrawn or over eager to please you. If you have questions about what custody arrangements might look like in your divorce, your divorce attorneys Tampa can provide an advice for your child deal with divorce in your critical situation and give an overview of what to expect.
The most common sleep responses for child under emotional stress are oversleeping and insomnia. For younger children, however, bed wetting and thumb sucking may present as an indication that you have a problem with sleeping.
If you notice that the problem is severe, you may want to speak to your pediatrician about the best way to support healthy sleeping.
Maintaining a Consistent Bedtime
Working with your former spouse to the extent that you are able to do so is the best way to help your child adjust to this new schedule and lifestyle.
When kids are required to make frequent changes in their daily habits like spending a few days of the week at one home and then transitioning to another home for the rest, sleep problems are likely to be more severe.
Bedtime refusals, nighttime waking and sleep disorders are all issues that may be experienced by a parent helping a child adjust.
Conflict can also arise as a result of different parenting styles between the two homes regardless of whether or not the custody arrangements are relatively stable.
Cooperate with the Other Parent
The irregularity in routines and the constant shifting back and forth can be difficult for children.
For younger children, it is important for you and your former spouse to discuss the benefits of having favorite books, music or bedtime toys available at both homes in order to prevent problems due to forgetfulness or other challenges helping the child fall asleep.
The transition is much easier for the children when you and the other parent can commit to working together. This level of cooperation is essential for helping your children with sleeping issues.
A child who has difficulty sleeping and adjusting to the new routine may require further mental or physical intervention from a medical specialist.
Doing your part to help come together on common bedtimes and nighttime routines, for example, taking a bath or brushing teeth before settling down for the night, you can help to minimize the chances that the issue will escalate and require further intervention.
Speak with an Experienced Tampa Family Lawyer
Ready to talk child custody issues and to determine what courts consider if you and your spouse cannot agree on custody? Contact a Tampa family lawyer today to learn more.