Strong Willed Children Can Struggle With Sleep

Updated: Feb 2

How does one win the my-child-is-a-great-sleeper lottery? Don't those people who have kids who sleep through the night make you want to roll your eyes? So, what's the secret? How DO you win the my-child-is-a-good-sleeper lottery? Answer... you just get lucky. That's it. There are a variety of reasons that babies, toddlers, preschoolers don't sleep well. However, one of the most common reasons is something that is totally out of your control. And that is temperament. We are all born with a temperament. Our personality, our nature, who we are at our core. Are we easy going or a little high strung? Do we worry about things or not let much bother us? Do we feel big emotions or let things roll off our back? Although life experiences can contribute to some of these qualities in us as adults, most of how you respond is simply how you were born. Babies who have always been great sleepers... transitioned easily during developmental changes, illness, teething, in new environments.... those are often babies who have a laid-back, go-with-the-flow, not-much-rattles-them kind of temperament. These are the babies whose parents say, "I just left her in there one night, she cried for like 15 minutes, fell asleep, and she has slept great ever since." And that's great. They were born that way and will likely continue to be that way as they grow. However, the kiddos who STRUGGLE with transitions at every new developmental leap and milestone, who feel big emotions, who are more sensitive to routine or environment changes, who are strong willed, who let you know when they aren't happy about something... these babies are much more likely to have challenges with sleep. These are also the babies, who, when they become toddlers or preschoolers, can often struggle with transitioning to a big kid bed.

The good news is, it doesn't mean you are doomed. It doesn't mean your kiddo is always going to have challenges with sleep. It just means we are going to need to be a bit more intentional about how we teach your kiddo to sleep. We need to be gradual, do more hand holding as we teach them, but also set appropriate boundaries. One other piece of good news. These strong willed kiddos are going to go places in their lives. They will use their strong will to leave their mark on the world. They will stand up for what they believe in. We will be lucky to share this earth with them. But it takes a different kind of parenting to raise them to be good humans. And a lot of patience. They are going to challenge us, help us grow, and make us better humans. But strong will is a good thing.

Katie Ramirez, RN, BSN, CLC

Born Happy, Owner and Coach

Katie Ramirez RN, CLC

Katie Ramirez is a Registered Nurse, Certified Lactation Counselor, and Coach for parents of babies, toddlers, and preschoolers. She has spent more than a decade serving patients at major university hospitals such as Vanderbilt University and Penn State University Medical Centers. Katie now spends her time supporting and empowering parents of babies, toddlers, and preschoolers as founder and coach for Born Happy.

Katie is the proud mother of two beautiful children, Roberto (age 7), and Veronica (age 5). She has a passion for health, wellness, and happy children, and believes that, with the necessary knowledge and support, all parents can live happy.

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