Have I ruined my child’s sleep?

Have I ruined my child’s sleep?

I will often get asked if a child’s sleep is now ruined because a parent had to sleep with the child or had to offer more support.

There are times when my little man puts things into a perspective way better than I can. Last night he was struggling with going to sleep, Thank You Day Light Savings! When he really struggles my husband or I will lay with him.

As we were laying there I was holding him (a great big snuggle and a hug). We were listening to a guided meditation about a Koala Bear that was not able to go to sleep (here is a link to it). The meditation was talking about how the bear was not able to lay still in his bed. My little man said to me “someone needs to hold that bear down”. I laughed to myself. Then I realized that my little man understood what I was doing. I was holding him down to help him sleep. After he made that comment I was even happier about the fact that I was able to assist him and he knew exactly what I was there for.

A short time after our snuggle our little man was able to go to sleep. Does this mean I will have to do this every night? No, it does not. After children have mastered the skill of falling to sleep with minimal assistance they often do not want you there. There will be a time or two thousand, that they require extra support. There is no harm to offer the support. Some children may need you to slowly remove the support and others will adapt quickly without issue.

The point of this post is to remind you to do what you feel is right for your child. Slowly but surely you will get them to be doing exactly what is best for them.

Take care and as always, Be the Parent you want to Be!!

Sleep Teaching: Why is this so hard??

Sleep Teaching: Why is this so hard??

Sleep Teaching or Sleep Training can be very frustrating.

I received the following note from a member a few weeks ago:

“This is not going well. Twice we were able to do the drowsy but awake but last night he wasn’t going on that crib for anything. Such a fight. Screaming and crying. Even transferring him was almost impossible.”

I hear this quite often. Typically, Night 4 or 5 is the absolute most difficult. You would think it would be getting much easier. The reality is that things “get worse before they get better”!!

When things are feeling impossible know that it is actually a good thing. This is an extinction burst! Once the burst happens you will slowly start to see change.

Unfortunately, your child’s sleep needs are ever changing which means you may be dealing with night wakings after you have had a few weeks of “bliss’. This can be very frustrating. It begins to feel like all you are doing is trying to figure out the next sleep related issue.

The following is a  list of things can have an effect on your child’s sleep:

1. Learning a new skill

2. Growth Spurt

3. Illness

4. Teeth

5. Separation anxiety

6. Not getting enough time awake during the day

My best piece of advice regarding this is to know that it is normal and that once you get comfortable with making minor changes as needed you will fly through all these changes. There will be some minor bumps but with time and consistency, your child’s sleep will get back on track.

As always please feel free to connect with me to discuss your child’s sleep concerns. You can send me a message through the website, write a post on a forum, or drop a note into the private Facebook group.

Daylight Savings: Coming to an End!

Daylight Savings: Coming to an End!

Daylight Savings is coming to an end on November 5, 2017. The clocks will fall back.

We will get to sleep in for an hour!!!

Back to reality…Before I had a child, I got to sleep in. Now it just messes with our lovely schedule 🙁

There are a few different ways you can handle the time change.

1. Do absolutely nothing leading up to the day

Put the time change on ignore until it happens. Then once it occurs you may have to adjust bedtime and nap time so your child does not get overtired. If your child typically naps at 12:30 he will be ready for a nap at 11:30.

Every 3 to 4 days you can push your child’s nap later by 15 minutes until you reach the desired nap time. You will have to do the same with bedtime.

2. Push sleep times later in 15-minute increments leading up to the change

7 to 10 days before the time change you can push your child’s sleep times ahead by 15 minutes. Every 3 days add an additional 15 minutes to the sleep times until you reach the desired 1 hour later sleep time. When the time change occurs you child’s sleep times will be back on his previous schedule.

3. Use it to your advantage

If your child is waking up around 8:00 am and going to bed past 8:00/8:30 pm they will automatically be switched to a 7:00 am wake up and a bedtime of 7/7:30 pm.

4. Change your clocks after you have had your coffee 

There is nothing worse than looking at the clock while it reads 6 am when you are used to it reading 7 am. Postpone changing the clocks as long as you need. I will be waiting until after I have had my morning coffee!

All the best with the time change! Here’s to hoping someday soon there will be no more time changes!!!


Join the discussion now about Daylight Savings ending!

Schedule versus Wake Time

Schedule versus Wake Time

I often get asked by families when is it appropriate to have a set schedule (also referred to “By the clock” or BTC). There are so many factors to consider. It is very hard to state “by age ___ you should have a set schedule”.

What are the factors to consider when deciding if a set schedule is for your family?

  1. How flexible are you?
  2. How much sleep does your child require?
  3. Your child’s temperament.
  4. Your temperament.
Is a set schedule what you really need?

Before I answer this question let’s discuss the difference between a set schedule (“by the clock”) and a routine. A schedule incorporates specific activities set at a reoccurring time. A routine is a set of activities that occur in the same order.

Once you have a routine in place you will figure out roughly when sleep times happen and you can plan accordingly. Some days you may have to reschedule events or plan to have a nap on the go. A nap on the go on occasion is not the end of the world. It may feel like the end of the world if you are very “Type A”.

Now to answer the question, “Is a set schedule what you really need?”. Usually, the answer to this question is “No”. You need to have a routine in place so you know what to expect during the day. Your child will thank you! When your child has a routine in place they figure out at an early age what happens next and they will start to prepare for it. When your child moves to 2 naps you will start to feel like your day is getting more predictable. When your child moves to one nap you will feel a bit like you have achieved a set schedule. It is important to be a bit flexible even at this age.

Is there ever a time that a set schedule works best?

The short answer is yes but I personally believe it is rare. I feel that wake times are more beneficial. A set schedule is best when your child is not responding well to wake times. It may feel like you are constantly misreading your child’s sleep cues. I would then try a set schedule.

Pros and Cons of a Set Schedule
Pro Con
 Predictable Not very flexible
Can easily plan activities around sleep times Child gets overtired or is not ready for sleep at set time
Pros and Cons of Using Wake Times
Pro Con
 Flexible Difficult to make plans
Child is well rested You can feel like your life revolves around your child’s sleep

My preference is to use wake times. As our son has aged, I still look at what time he woke up and how much time he can tolerate being awake. He will be 6 years old in September. Just because I prefer using wake time does not mean it is not best for you. I would recommend starting with wakes times and then switch to set times if it is not going well. I would wait until your child has dropped down to at least 2 naps if possible. Whatever you choose, do so wisely and stay consistent.

Please feel free to comment on this post if you have any questions.

Time Change Coming

Time Change Coming

winter time changeYippee (sarcasm inserted here) we have a time change this weekend! We will find ourselves moving our clocks ahead an hour. So if your child usually wakes up at 7 am the clock will say 8 am!!! You will look at the clock and smile but realistically it does not mean much 🙁

There are a few things you can do; however, you first have to decide if you are okay with the morning wake time.

If you are happy with the new wake time then do the following:

1. Naps will occur after the proper amount of wake time. This will make it seem like naps are now on hour later then they were the day before the time change. It is the clock playing tricks on you.

2. Bedtime will be one hour later then usual.

3. Maintain this new schedule.

If you are not okay with the new wake time then do the following:

1. Wake your child at the desired wake time. Expect your child to take a few days to adjust to being woken up.

2. Naps at the proper amount of wake time.

3. Plan for bedtime to be a the regular time which may feel like an hour earlier to your child. It will take time to adapt.

4. Be patient as this will take at least a week for your child to adapt to the time change.

The third thing you can do is go with the flow and adjust with your child as their bodies adapt.

This is most likely what we will do. I will put on my big girl panties and by patient with the little man while he gets used to the clock changes.

The final and most important thing is that you do not stress out!!

As with everything related to children, the calmer you can be the easier the transition is.


Take Care and Happy Sleeping!!

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