Sleep Difficulties in Adopted and Foster Children

Sleep is a daily necessity for both children and adults. It is a critical time to restore energy for day-to-day mental and physical activities. For children, sleep is especially important for brain development as well as physical development. Children who are institutionalized or who have lived in foster care may have difficulty sleeping in their new environment for many different reasons including:

  • They may not have an established consistent sleep schedule
  • They may have slept in a noisy, crowded environment
  • They may have developed atypical self-soothing behaviors to fall asleep, such as moving their head back and forth
  • There could be an underlying sleep problem such as sleep apnea

Because we know that babies learn to fall asleep under specific circumstances, it is important to think about the sleep environment the child was familiar with before he joined your family. Sleep is an area that we address during the initial visit to ensure that you and your child are getting off to the right start. There are resources available if you feel that your child has a sleep disturbance that requires special attention.