One of the most important areas for co-parents to strive for consistency for their children across households is setting and enforcing bedtime schedules. Parents should agree on a school night bedtime schedule and a non-school-night schedule. If one parent typically has the child during the week and the other on weekends and holidays, you can explain to your kids that you both agreed on the weeknight and weekend schedules.
When co-parents can’t agree on a sleep schedule, children can experience issues with sleeping. Younger children can revert to bedwetting, thumb sucking and other behaviors they may have outgrown. Older kids can also experience sleep disturbances including, insomnia, oversleeping and waking up throughout the night.
How else can parents help their children if they’re having sleep issues?
Parents can help their kids who are experiencing sleep issues by keeping not only their bedtimes consistent across their homes but their routines as well. If they have a bedtime ritual, like reading a story, both parents should follow that. It’s also helpful for kids to have favorite books, toys, bedding, nightlights and other comforts in their bedrooms in both of their homes.
Typically, sleep and other issues will dissipate as children get used to living in two different homes and adjust to the fact that things won’t be exactly the same in both places. If you have a child whose sleep issues, anxiety and/or behavioral issues persist, it may be wise to seek the help of a therapist for your child. You may also need to make changes to your current parenting plan to help your child.