What To Do About Sleep When Your Child Is Sick

Realizing your kiddo is sick has got to be one of the worst feelings as a parent. 

When they’re miserable and there’s little you can do to really make them feel better just leaves you feeling helpless and unprepared in your parenting.

I know, cause I’ve been there.

Between my 3 girlies, our home has seen a fair amount of sickness over the years, but there’s  a constant that plays a huge role in helping them to get better quickly. Know what it is?

You guessed it! SLEEP.


Sleep is a major contributor to anyone getting over an illness. Sleep is where our bodies recover and fight back against what is attacking our system. So naturally, sleep becomes very important when we’re not feeling our best. 

I know the anxiety that comes with sleep schedules when our littles are sick. I’m here to minimize all the “What do I do?” moments when this happens. So buckle up!

All bets are off. You heard me. Any “rules”, schedules, or obligations go out the window when your little one is sick. If you’re really by the book, this might be an adjustment for you. But I want you to let go of any feelings of guilt, apprehension, or concern about creating “bad habits” during this time. When sickness comes knocking, your child’s body doesn’t need structure, it needs more rest than usual. I don’t recommend always having such a loose schedule like this (That’s exactly why I created my Wake Windows Guide & my Travel Guide!), but there’s certainly a place for it when they’re sick.

Put a pause on sleep training. If you happen to be in the middle of sleep training when sickness occurs, put a hold on that. It’s not the time to be helping your child adjust to new ways to go about sleep. Right now is about responding any time they cry, extra cuddles, and extra feeds - or whatever they find comforting. They’re going through a lot at the moment, so there’s no need to add to the pile. Once your cutie pie is feeling tip top again, that’s when you can resume your new sleep habits. And it goes without saying that if your babe is currently in the middle of an illness, do not start sleep training. Plain and simple.

Don’t cap naps. Remember this one, because it comes up a lot. Whenever a client or someone in my Sleep Community has a sick kiddo, they ask me about waking their child up from their nap. My advice? Don’t cap it! That part about needing extra sleep comes into play here, so if they take an extra long nap or sleep in, just let them. Any extra sleep is beneficial, even if it throws off their schedule temporarily.

Add in a humidifier. For the type of sickness that includes congestion, having a humidifier such as this Levoit one in the room while baby sleeps is a great way to help them breathe. Nobody, and I mean nobody sleeps well when their chest and nose are stuffy. Help ease the congestion and set your little one up for better sleep.

With each of these tips, I’ll gently remind you that after your little one is feeling like themselves again, that’s when you resume your typical sleep schedules, routines, and habits. Letting things go while they’re sick is totally necessary. But once they’re well again, having everything go out the window won’t get you the rejuvenating sleep your whole house needs. 

If what you need is dependable time where you know your child will sleep consistently, go to bed nicely for someone else, and have the freedom to go out and just be you again, that’s where I come in. I’ve been out here changing lives with my sleep expertise so that parents can function and actually THRIVE once again. Email me with your questions or book your service. I think we can all agree that it’s time to stop pretending like we don’t need sleep, just because we have kids.