back to sleep

5 Ways We Got My Son Back To Sleep When He Was Having A Bad Night

My boys have never been great sleepers, and cancer treatment certainly didn’t help the situation. As my husband said, it’s like having a newborn all over again.

But just like when they were infants, you start to get a feel for what will help your child get back to sleep during cancer treatment. Every child is different, but here are 5 ways we got our son back to sleep when he was having a bad night.

1. Singing

My son took Kindermusik when he was little, and they taught us to sing to our kids from the time they were babies. To this day, when Cooper is stressed out or sick, one of the best ways to comfort him is to sing.

The songs he likes are soft, quiet lullabies, and he doesn’t want variety. He likes to hear the same songs over and over again. If you need some help thinking of old, familiar songs, here’s a list with words to jog your memory: Lullabies to sing for comfort.

2. Rocking

I know this might be starting to feel like a newborn guide, but even at the age of 35, I’m still comforted by rocking. So are our kids, no matter how old they get. So pile them on your lap and gently rock them to soothe away the anxiety and pain of cancer treatment in the middle of the night.

3. Baths

This is more of a last-resort option for me, because you always risk waking them up even more. But sometimes, when things are spiraling out of emotional control, a midnight bath can be a good reset. It helps them focus on something other than what’s going on inside their body at the moment and can be very calming.

4. Snuggling

I’m not sure what the experts would say about this one, but I’m a mom, not an expert. So I’ll tell you that there were nights when we just let Cooper come sleep in our bed. It was enough of a treat that it helped lift his mood, and it calmed him down enough to get him back to sleep.

There were also nights when I would climb in bed and snuggle with him until he fell asleep. I made a game out of it by telling him if he lay really quiet with his eyes closed, I might fall asleep first, and then I’d stay there all night. This usually ended in at least one of us getting a few moments of shut eye!

5. Prayer

There are many apps that will speak common prayers out loud. The rhythmic sound of the voice was often enough to calm Cooper down and get him back to sleep. His favorite app is called “Holy Rosary Audio” (iPhone or Android).

Cancer treatment can bring back memories of those sleepless nights after we first brought our newborns home from the hospital. But with a little trial and error, we can figure out what works to get our kids back to sleep, just like we did back then. I hope these ideas are a good place to get you started.

Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Jenni DeWitt
I’ve been a cancer mom since February of 2012 when my 2-year-old son, Cooper, was diagnosed with leukemia. I'm excited to connect with you here at Lionfighters and on

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