How A Single Parent Can Develop A Sleep Routine

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Having been a single parent for several years myself, when I was approached by Daniel Sherwin, author of, to write a guest blog about single parents and sleep, I jumped at the idea. As many single parents know, their little ones’ sleep can be even more of an emotional battle once they are going it alone, and here, Daniel helps us understand why, and what can be done to help.

How a Single Parent Can Develop a Sleep Routine

Sleep plays a critical role in your child’s physical, emotional, and cognitive development. It’s also important for good health. But research shows that children living in single-parent homes see a significant decrease in healthy sleep patterns, and a greater variability of routine bedtimes leaving them more tired than their 2-parent home peers.

There are several things that can contribute to irregular sleep in a single parent home. For one, children are more likely to misbehave with the parent that is in the day-to-day disciplinarian role. This role also leads parents to feel guilty because they are often the “bad guy” and this can lead to extended bedtimes, more leniency about middle of the night visits, and other habits that make for poor sleep hygiene.

Similarly, lonely single parents can end up more attached to their children. Looking for friendship and support which blurs the lines of parent when it comes to bedtime rituals.

Whatever the roadblock is, it’s important to remember the importance of good sleep for your child so you can get them back into a healthy routine.

Create A Healthy Sleep Routine

  • Set a bedtime-Learn the recommended sleep times per age, and set the appropriate bedtime for your child based on when their wake-up time is. Stick to the same bedtime and wake-up time on the weekends so that your child maintains a healthy sleep-wake cycle.
  • Add a “Relaxation Hour”-Make the hour before bedtime a special “relaxation hour.” Use this time to unwind with no television, computers or other electronic devices. Use ambient light versus powerful overhead lights to add to the calming effect. Also, take this hour to focus on techniques that will help your child relax, such as a bath or bedtime reading.
  • Watch your food and drink-Meals and caffeine should be avoided several hours before bedtime. Chose a light, healthy bedtime snack instead.
  • Avoid late night visits-If your child is visiting in the middle of the night, it’s important to establish clear rules for immediately returning to bed. As tempting as it is to be the “good parent” in these moments, you’ll be creating a poor habit by doing so.

Create A Stress-Free Home Environment

  • Add fitness-Make time each day for fitness, especially activities down outdoors. Physical fitness is directly correlated to better sleeping habits.
  • Keep your cool-Your child can sense when you’re anxious and stressed, so it’s important to let them see you handling life matters in calm way. This will also model similar behavior for them as they grow; teaching them valuable coping skills.
  • Don’t overschedule-Children who have too many activities often feel too much pressure and anxiety because they’re exhausted and experiencing no necessary downtime.
  • Focus on the positive-Constant criticizing and negativity can make your child anxious. Instead, focus on the great things they are doing, particularly at bedtime.
  • Keep communication lines open-Make sure your child knows that they can talk to you about their thoughts and feelings. Strong communication lines promote security as children feel more loved and cared for, allowing them to relax and sleep easier.

Create A Healthy Sleeping Quarters

  • Color-Make sure the room is painted a color that is conducive for good sleep.
  • Alarm clocks-Make sure the numbers aren’t too bright. Light can cause nighttime disturbance.
  • Noise machine-Consider having an ambient noise machine. Small noises can affect some sleepers, but adding white noise can reduce mid-night waking.
  • Cell phones-Phones should not be kept in your children’s bedroom.
  • Window coverings-Make sure that the window has a blind or a curtain that can block light.
  • Pillow-Help your child pick a pillow that is comfortable for them.
  • Blanket-Choose a blanket together that is the perfect weight and texture.
  • Room temperature-Make sure your child’s bedroom is not too warm or cool. In general, the recommended sleeping temperature is 60 to 67 degrees.

Remember, good sleep is critical for your child’s overall development and their health. But bedtime can be just as important for you, as a single parent. Make your children’s bedtime, your coveted “me time,” by enjoying a soothing bath, a glass of wine, or a good book. You’ll find a little quality self-care time will also make you a better parent.

How to Survive the Clocks Going Back and Stop Early Rising

Do you have an early-riser? Does your child wake you at 5.30AM or earlier? Do you feel that you have tried everything to get your baby or toddler sleeping later in the mornings? Or are you just scared that when the clocks go back, your child is going to start waking up too early?
Well, here is something that is going to get your little one sleeping later. This is how to stop early-rising. This is how to reset the body-clock….

Around this time of year, I get an influx of emails and calls from parents who have early-risers, and are scared that the clocks going back is going to make their mornings even worse. Thankfully, I have devised a method to reset body-clocks that usually fixes this problem in 3 days. Read More

Why Routines Need to Be Flexible

By Sleep Fairy Sarah Quick

We all know that routines give us a framework & structure but do they have to be set in stone?

I definitely flip from thinking, “Ooh, I need a routine” to, “Hey,  manyana”.  And so does my daughter. Some days she wants things just the way she expects them to be, sitting at the table to eat, me taking her to school and healthy breakfasts, and other days she wants a little more spontaneity.

Many of our little people like to know what’s coming next and what is expected of them: Bath follows tea, stories follow bath & teeth etc but what happens when we go out for something to eat or have friends over and the routine is broken?  Read More

The Perfect Time for Mothers to Take a Nap

Having a baby in the house can easily translate to sleep deprivation for a lot of mothers. While it’s understandable why mums would want to take good care of their offspring to the point of putting their own needs second, sacrificing hours of sleep can be detrimental in the long run.

Not only will you become groggy and grumpy during the day, running around with only a few hours of sleep can also make you more prone to accidents. Webmd cites a report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which said that driving while drowsy is responsible for about 100,000 car crashes annually. Read More

The Best Way to Transition Baby to Their Own Room

When most families bring their newborn home from the hospital, they have a crib or Moses basket in mum and dad’s bedroom for the first few weeks, few months and if they are following the current recommendations to reduce the risk of SIDS, the first 6 months. But when it is time to move baby into his own bedroom, what is the best way to do it?

There is no perfect way to make this move, but the chances are, it’s not going to be as bad as most people are expecting. And it will be even easier if you do a little bit of preparation in advance. Read More