Awake? How is that possible?

Awake? How is that possible?

When you are teaching your child the art of sleeping the best way to be successful is for your child to be placed in the place or sleep (bassinet or crib) awake. People often look at me sideways and say.. “is it that easy?”

Well, it may seem “easy” but the reality is little ones often cry when placed in the crib. It does not have to be difficult. It can take time and there are many things that you can do; however, the first thing you need to remember is that it is not your job to get your child to sleep. It is your job to provide your child with the opportunity to sleep.

 

Say What?

I often hear from people that they cannot get their child to fall asleep and it becomes an exercise in frustration to get their child to sleep.

A great deal of time, little ones are falling asleep in someone’s arms and then being transferred to the crib. Put yourself in that little human’s place..

You fell asleep all comfy and cozy in someone’s arms and then you wake up in this crib! You have no idea how you got there. Not sure about you but I would be mad!

Okay, So Now What?

The first step is to make sure you are offering your child the chance to go to sleep when your child is physically ready. Your child should be in the state between not tired yet and overtired. This is where focusing on how much time your child can handle being awake comes in handy (Wake time).

Now that you have an idea of when your child should be ready for sleep, you then place your little one in the crib awake (or at least drowsy). If your little one has fallen asleep in your arms, gently stir your child as they go in the crib so they are aware that they are in the crib. This is when the tears can happen.

If your child is crying you can respond by giving your child a chance to settle on their own, you go be present, or you can try picking up and putting down until your little one falls asleep. I usually recommend that you use the 5 steps until your little one falls asleep. Here is a link to an article ( members only..not a member become one today) that helps with the 5 steps..

https://parentingfoundations.net/night-waking-how-do-i-respond/

It seems to take a long time..

It is important that you look at the clock when you are doing this as it does feel like it takes forever but in reality, it may not be that long. If it is taking more than 15 minutes for more than 4 days for your little one to fall asleep then I would look at the time your little one is awake between periods of sleep.

As your child gets used to going to sleep on their own you will be able to lay your child down and walk out of the room. This dream will soon be your reality!!

Key Night Time Phrase..What is the Point?

Key Night Time Phrase..What is the Point?

 

Once a child is over 4.5 months of age they will begin the process of producing melatonin. Melatonin is the sleep hormone that allows are little ones to go to sleep and stay asleep for long periods of time. When we use a key phrase to identify that it is time to sleep, it can help with our little ones settling down and preparing for sleep which can cause the melatonin to start to produce.

I have had the opportunity to hear many different key phrases that people use for sleep. The following are some of the most common:

  • “Night Night”
  • “Sleepy Time”
  • “Good Night”
  • “Do do”
  • “Time for Sleep”

This key phrase comes in really handy in the middle of the night or early morning when your child requires a reminder that it is still time for sleep. When you use your key  phrase it is often enough to help your little one attempt to go back to sleep. It basically does 2 things. It reminds them that it is still time for sleep and it allows them to hear your voice which can be very calming.

A key phrase may seem like a very simple tool; however, sometimes it is the small things that make a huge impact!!

Sleep Props? What do you mean?

Sleep Props? What do you mean?

Sleep Prop?  Lots of parents, including myself, have had no idea that their child is dependent on a prop to go to sleep or stay asleep.

A sleep prop is an object, action or person that a child requires in order to go to sleep. Your child is dependent on a sleep prop if you find yourself getting up many times to replace a soother, rock a child, go for a car ride, or feed your child.

Here is a list of some common sleep props:

  • soother
  • rocking to sleep
  • car ride
  • stroller
  • feed (bottle or breast feed)
  • person (mom, dad, or other care provider)
  • swaddle
  • swing
  • swaying

Now should you dump all props immediately? It depends on the age of the child.

The first three months can be difficult for a baby to sleep, so you do what you can. There will be a few times that you will use a sleep prop, don’t beat yourself up for it.  Your baby needs rest, end of story.The first few months you do what you can to teach your child to sleep.

In my opinion, the key is to eventually reduce or eliminate your child’s need for a prop.  Once your child learns to put themselves to sleep without a sleep prop it is an amazing moment. You and all other family members will actually get a half decent sleep – it really does happen.

Now that our youngest is two years old, the first few months are a blur; however, I remember being very sleep deprived and frustrated with his lack of napping.  I felt for him and I could tell he was exhausted (crying, easily frustrated, rubbing his eyes, etc).

I took a look at his sleep and environment. We were rocking him while giving him a bottle before he fell asleep.  Every time he woke up he required a feed in the rocking chair to go back to sleep.  The kicker with our boy was that after every feed he had to be held upright for 20 to 30 minutes to prevent him from throwing up his feed. (Acid reflux is not fun.)  It was near impossible to keep him awake.  He then became dependent on a person to hold him.  Yikes!

With time and patience, he was able to sleep on his own. He did have to be taught to sleep without a prop and we had to remain calm.  The first few nights our little man slept on his own, I woke up wondering if everything was okay.  It was beautiful to hear him sleeping so peacefully.

Your child can be an amazing sleeper as well.  We can work together to discover your child’s sleep prop (it’s amazing what a prop can be) and teach him or her how to sleep without it.

Happy sleeping, everyone!

 

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 Regression? What is it?

Sleep Regression? What is it?

Sleep Regressions are talked about a great deal when talking about infant or child sleep. If you speak to a parent with a young child and you mention the word regression you will most likely see a look of fear in their eyes.

Honestly, I feel that these regressions are actually overrated! The fact is that there are many reasons for a change in a child’s sleep and stating if a child is (insert age) they will have a regression in sleep is not necessarily the case. I believe that a number of sleep-related issues get blamed on a specific age when in fact the change in sleep can usually be tied to a developmental milestone or change in sleep needs.

What is a Sleep Regression?

A sleep regression is when your child’s sleep takes a turn to the difficult side. You had a few weeks or days of great sleep and then wham, you are up several times or fighting with your child to get them the sleep they require.

When is it a True Regression?

Changes in a child’s sleep will happen several times. If the change in your child’s sleep has lasted for more than 4 days and cannot be blamed on an illness or growth spurt then you are in the midst of a regression.

The Most Talked about Regressions Demystified!

4-month Regression: 

This is when our little ones are moving from the newborn sleep cycle to the sleep cycle that is similar to yours and mine. They are moving from 2 stages of sleep to 4 to 5 stages of sleep per sleep cycle.

8 to 9-month Regression:

This is typically related to a developmental milestone. At this age, there is so much growth going on that is does play havoc with our child’s sleep.

Typically, the developmental milestones that are occurring at this age are as follows: learning to crawl, standing, walking and babbling.

18-month Regression

This can usually be related to increased separation anxiety. This age is famous for this! It does make putting your little one down for sleep a bit more difficult.

2/2.5-year-old Regression

This is usually when our little ones have a verbal explosion! Has your child started to talk a great deal more? This is usually the culprit to sleep-related issues at this age.

Thanks for the Explanation, Now what?

The best thing you can do if you suspect that your child is dealing with a sleep regression is to be patient. If your child had good sleeping pattern before and you do not introduce any new sleep props your child should be back on track in 4 to 7 days.

If a week has past and you are still dealing with the sleep regression then I would recommend that you look at your child’s wake time. Your child will most likely benefit from a 15 minute increased wake time.

You adjusted the wake time and are still having issues then I would look for a hidden sleep prop or a prop that your child wakes up requesting.

 

If you are a Parenting Foundations Member, please feel free to send me a message so I can help you further. If you are not a member yet you can click here to learn more about becoming a member which gives you direct access to me, Brenda from Parenting Foundations.

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
Conclusion

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.