I really enjoy meeting and talking sleep and all things baby/children with other parents. I get thrown a lot of questions but, the following are two of the most common questions I get at my Sleep Clinics.
Q: Baby #2 is on the way and my 2.5 year old already seems to be having some of these sleep “regressions” I have heard about! She was an amazing sleeper until recently. All of the sudden, bedtime has become a battle and she is now waking up 2-3 times a night. She is recently potty trained (not at night) and is still in a crib. She still naps 1.5 hours at daycare and at home on weekends in the afternoon and bedtime is 7PM. Help! I don’t know what I will do if I have 2 children not sleeping through the night!
A: When a new sibling is on the way, its a huge adjustment for everyone! We can sometimes have unreasonable expectations with regards to how adaptable are children are. Change can be scary! They can start seeing early on that the focus is not longer 100% on them when a new brother and/or sister is soon to arrive. Its normal for them to start acting out, pushing boundaries, especially when it comes to sleep. Here are a few things you can do to get back in track.
Don’t let them feel like they can’t manage the situation.
We tell our kids what to do… A LOT. We pretty much boss them around all day. As they get older, they need to feel somewhat “in control” of the situation. When it comes to bedtime, make a bedtime routine chart. Let them decorate it and then every night, allow for them to check off each step as you go. Allow for them to tell you what is next (even though you know 🙂 ) Aloow for them to “feel in control” without pushing boundaries.
Consistency and routine are key!
Children thrive off routine. They feel safe and secure when there aren’t many surprises and they know what is coming next. Keeping routine and staying consistent is best, especially when a big change is on the way.
Spend time together!
Make sure to spend one on one time together where your focus is just on them. Let your toddler pick the activity. You can make something for the new baby, write a story or just do something where the focus is just on the two of you! Most important is the time you’re spending alone together.
Q: I am at my breaking point! I haven’t slept in what feels like years (its only been weeks!). I’m exhausted and feel like I need to start looking into the Sleep Training process but I don’t know where to start. There is so much information help there! How do I start?
A: When a family feels that its the right time and the right thing to do to start teaching their baby how to sleep, it can feel like an overwhelming task. There are so many books, resources and conflicting information out there. Here are a few do’s and don’ts when it comes to wanting to get your child(ren) on the right sleep path
DO prepare yourself. One of the issues I run into most when working with families is the urgency to start the process ASAP. You and your family need to take a bit of time to prepare for the task at hand DON’T rush into it. I always ask my families to take a day or so to look over the plan, set the child’s room up so it is conducive for sleep and a safe sleep environment.
DO hunker down. Teaching your child how to sleep does take consistency. I recommend that until your child is having consolidated naps and night sleep for one full week, just keep at it. This may mean you have to skip your regular coffee afternoon with friends or reschedule that play date but DON’T get discouraged. Helping your child to sleep well takes time. If you don’t see results after a night or two, it doesn’t mean its not working. Remember you are potentially undoing months (and sometimes years) of habits so results won’t happen over night. Stay positive and you’ll all get there.
DO make sure you and your partner are on the same page when it comes to sleep training your child. Many times we see parents have very strong opposing views. You want to make the process as stress free as possible and supporting one another while staying consistent will give you greater chances for success. DON’T have one partner be doing the complete opposite of what the other is doing. Work together as a team and stay positive.
DO formulate a nap and bedtime routine and stay consistent with the timings of naps and for bed. Remember the importance of an earlier bedtime and consistent nap and bed times. DON’T skip a nap or put them down later to sleep “because they just didn’t seem tired” Skipping naps or having inconsistent sleep times will make your child’s sleep inconsistent.
DO set your family up for success and know that you DON’T have to do it alone. If you need it, ask for help. As Sleep Consultants, we want you and your family to have the best experience possible when heading into what can seem like such a daunting task. With the right information, help, support and guidance, you and your family can achieve your sleep goals