Training Your Little One to Sleepposted by Andrea | 12/1/2011
Due to the recent birth of our beautiful baby girl, Nora Faith, I’ve rounded up an All-Star list of moms who effortlessly seem to manage work, home, family, life, and everything in between! You can read all their words of motherly wisdom here, as well as how they manage to “do it all” while still living a life they love.
I’ll be sharing my own thoughts and baby updates soon enough, but right now, I’m simply soaking up their trusted advice while cuddling with my new baby girl!
The first few minutes after my daughter was born, the nurses said, “I don’t think those 3 know anyone else exists in the world.” We were absolutely head over heels with our little girl. It was the most amazing, heart-opening experience of my life.
Little did I know how much she would rock my world!
It’s like that saying, “to have a child is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body”. What that quote does not say is that to have a child is also to decide to forever and ever NEVER get enough sleep again!
When I was pregnant with my daughter, I was determined to read everything I could about sleep patterns and techniques for babies — I wanted my sleep!
How to get your child to sleep can be one of those highly debated mothering choices. But I think there is at least one thing ALL parents can agree on: children NEED sleep!
In fact, kids need a lot more sleep than you think! Archibald Hart, author of Sleep, It Does a Family Good: How Busy Families Can Overcome Sleep Deprivation says babies under 1 should have 14-15 hours of sleep per day! And 6-12 year old kids should still be getting 10-11 hours!
I have done everything from cry-it-out, to no-cry, to a little bit of co-sleeping. Here are some of the best things I learned as a jealous-of-her-sleep mama of two:
1. Sleep Begets Sleep
I learned this from Dr. Weissbluth, pediatrician and author of Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. The more good sleep babies get, the better they are going to sleep.
Over tired children (for some unknown reason) do not sleep well! I remember when my daughter was very little, if she stayed up way past her bedtime (usually because of some crazy grandparent adventure) she would always wake up early the next morning! And if I put her to bed early (which I often did when my husband was out of town), she’d sleep later the next morning! Seems backwards, doesn’t it?
2. Protect Nap and Bedtimes
Bedtime and nap time are connected. When you protect nap time, your bedtimes will go smoother. When bedtimes are consistent, nap times will be easier!
With a newborn, it is easy to get into the she’ll-fall-asleep-in-the-carseat, but if you want your kids to enter that full, deep, restorative sleep that will effect their entire day, you need real naps and real sleep!
Ironically, I was so intent on getting my kids to sleep in their beds at naps and bedtimes, that it was hard for them to fall asleep anywhere else!
3. Do Not Wake a Sleeping Baby
My son is three years old and it still pains me to wake him early from a nap! The only time waking a child up is a good idea is if they are mixing up their days and nights or if you are trying to protect night-time sleep. For example, if my son takes a late nap and is sleeping at 5pm, I will wake him to protect his 7pm bedtime!
4. Implement Early Bedtimes
Children and babies are ready for bed BEFORE they start showing signs of sleepiness. When your baby rubs his eyes, yawns, or is cranky, you have (sadly) already missed their perfect bedtime! Go ahead and start the bath, the blanket, the story and the bedtime routine before those sleepy cues! Let your baby fall asleep in a nice drowsy state, not a crying-I’m-overly-tired scream-fest!
Plus, it’s nice to have some adult time early in the evening when your kids go to sleep. My daughter is in kindergarten and still goes to bed at 7pm!
These are just general guidelines and simple tips to help you and your baby keep sleep a priority! It seems like a simple thing, but it’s surprising how something like baby’s bedtime becomes a big deal in your life. I’m no expert, but I do know that a good night’s sleep helps my kids’ behavior. And when I get more sleep, I’m a little better behaved, too!
What are your thoughts on kids and sleep?
|Amanda is a stay-at-home mom of two who blogs at OhAmanda.com and Impress Your Kids. In her former life, Amanda was a Children’s Pastor — overseeing, organizing and developing ministry for kids in nursery through middle school, but now that she is a mom, her “skills” are used up on her kids!|