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Tips to Get My Foster Child to Sleep

Looking for tips to get your foster child to sleep? I know I want all the sleep tips I can get. I polled a few veteran foster moms and found some excellent wisdom on sleeping routines, props, and tools. Let me be clear. If you do not get good sleep, you will not function at your best; therefore, you must have some knowledge of putting your foster child to bed to make this happen. The child will also need his sleep to function at top levels too.

These tips are a part of a series on sleep. If you missed the first post, here it is It was a guest post from Megan at Baby Basics of Atlanta. Here is her site:

Sleep is essential to good health.

Here are at least 12 tips to get your foster child to sleep, so you can get to sleep and sleep well.

If they want to be near you, try giving them something like a piece of clothing you have worn. Leave a light in the hallway or bedroom or both so that it doesn't feel so gloomy. offer a lovey/ comforting bedtime animal. these are just a few. - L. Carpenter

Saying, "It's time to rest your body" and talk about what's happening each step of the way. that seems to help.

It depends on the age with little ones (under a year) cuddle up and rock then gently put in the crib. As they get older stay with them rub backs if needed. The important thing with all ages is to create & stick with a routine that is comfortable with your family. (I also love reading bedtime stories. -Penny

Let the child pick up to two books to read. They should be sleepy when you leave.

How to get your foster child to sleep.

Better than a nightlight...

I found a light display that also has a sound machine as part of it. The white noise helps cover up new sounds they may not be familiar with. And the light display is just cool and provides additional night light for them. My little guy usually also sleeps with a small desk lamp on as well. -Amy

We have a very predictable bedtime routine, which helps. We usually read four or five bedtime stories while I’m sitting on the edge of his bed, and he’s typically asleep before I’m done

How to get your foster child to sleep? Quiet time at 8pm.

I don't use the "bedtime" words; that's an argument. It's quiet time. watch TV for a while, read, relax.


The routine is so important, but I also 100% recommend getting a video baby monitor. This way, if the child does wake up during the night, you can see them and determine if they are okay or just restless. This cuts down on some of the getting up and down. You can also talk through the video monitor to the child if needed. We also got super soft blankets and pillows and a projection night light. I'm not sure there is an easy way to good sleep patterns with foster babies. It's weeks and often months, but knowing this ahead of time helps you prepare, mentally and physically! - Ms. Hellums

Help them fall asleep.

Do a bedtime routine, storytime, sniffles, and backrubs if a child wants it/is comfortable, prayers if they/you do it, goodnights, and stay with them while they fall asleep... Never ever ever use cry it out with foster or adopted kids. - Ms. Chelsie

I think sometimes some children need to be near us for felt safety and they may need flexibility. The goal may need to be everyone feels safe and gets rest. Maybe the long-term goal is that this includes sleeping in their own room.

I recommend a mattress that can be stored under your bed and brought out when needed if the kiddo needs to be near you. That way you all can still get rest without cramming in your bed or fighting about going back to their room when fear is motivating them to not stay in their room. -Chelsie

Don't be too rigid with sleep routines.

We had a child for respite once for three weeks. For whatever reason, he wanted to sleep on the couch, and in hindsight, I wish I had let him. He would've gotten good sleep there too and so would we. There literally would've been no downside to this in our situation but we were new to fostering and parenting and I felt he should be in his bed. I guess my point is we need to be willing to be flexible and creative. It's good to have boundaries, but we need to be flexible and question what we think is the right way to handle something. I would also make it clear to the child they are always allowed to leave their room to come to get me if they need something (I. e. Bedtime accidents, they have a bad dream, feeling sad or scared, etc.).

I think my goal would be to focus on them getting sleep and feeling safe. -CB

How to get your foster child to sleep? Which tip is your favorite?

I hope you enjoyed the "tips to get my foster child to sleep". Which tip do you believe will be the most helpful? Let me know in the comments.

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Impressing Minds is about creating value in the mind of a child through the foster parents. Imagine the mind of a child being made of play-doh, and you are about to make a permanent impression. What type of impression will you make? I will encourage you to make a soft, lasting, affirmative impression in their mind by giving tools to get started fostering, accomplishing a great foster care home, and serving the children in your care. I offer support to you and others fostering. An important element of Impressing Minds is the support that others have given to those in need.


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