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Advice for tired parents

If you have a baby or toddler, I’ll hazard a guess you’re not getting as much sleep as you’d like.

I spent four years in the black pit of sleep deprivation when my children were young.  Despite our faultless (obviously) parenting skills, both boys were permanently awake until the age of two.  I still haven’t forgiven them.

In the same boat?  Here are my survival tips:

Offload your child during the day whenever you can.  Grandparents are your best bet.  Failing family, good friends will do.  Then climb under the duvet and conk out for a couple of hours.  Ideally, arrange it so that your child gets taken elsewhere; there’s nothing guaranteed to wreck your nap more than the sound of them driving someone else round the bend.

Some parents, however tired, insist they can’t sleep during the day.  Doesn’t work for them, makes them feel even worse, blah, blah, blah.  If you’re one of those people, I suggest you give yourself a slap and get over yourself.  Of course you can sleep during the day.  I agree you’ll feel terrible on first waking – confused and shaky with a vague sense of panic – but once you’ve regained your bearings and had a nice strong cup of tea, you’ll be on top of the world.

What if there’s no one around to take over the parental reins?  Be creative and remember that any sleep is better than none.  I’d like to thank Walt Disney for the many forty winks I’ve managed during his films over the years.  Position your head just so on the end of the sofa and avoid snoring and your kids may even believe you’re watching along with them.

Office bound parents can top up their sleep reserves too.  One working mum I know slides away to her car at lunchtimes for a quick zizz.  Another gets extra shuteye on the khazi thanks to the compactness of the office cubicles whose walls make a handy head rest.

When you’re really tired, the world is a bleak and hopeless place.  Don’t play the martyr and don’t fuss about all those chores.  Just do whatever it takes to get more sleep.