Your baby is a beautiful new addition to your life. At night, your baby needs lots of sleep though, and so do you. There is often a great deal of disagreement between parents when it comes to the best ways for babies to sleep. Inexperienced parents are often desperate for guidance in this area, and experienced parents have a variety of different tips to offer. Here are just a few baby and newborn sleeping tips that may help you to develop a better sleep routine if you are currently struggling as a sleep-deprived new parent.
Develop a Regular Nighttime Sleep Routine
A regular sleep routine is important for people of all ages looking to improve their sleep habits. Try to put your baby to bed at the same time each evening or at least around the same time each evening. You can also regularly give your baby a bath before bedtime, or develop other regular routines that will help your child to realize that it is bedtime and wind down for the night. One of the best baby and newborn sleeping tips is to start getting them into a good routine from the moment you bring baby home.
Use Relaxing Music to Help Your Baby Sleep
Relaxing sounds and relaxing music are easy to find on music and video streaming apps. White noise machines and radios also offer options for a gentle sound that may help a baby to fall asleep and stay asleep. Research has been done about classical music and baby development and experts on the topic generally suggest that it is a good idea to expose a newborn to classical music, especially at bedtime.
Co-sleep Safely with Your Baby
There are many different options for new parents to select from when it comes to choosing a newborn baby bed. A crib is a classic option, but some parents find that co-sleeping helps their baby to sleep through the night better. There are beds for newborn babies that can allow both of you to sleep safely and securely without any worries if this is an option that interests you.
Breastfeed at Nighttime
A hungry baby will not be able to sleep through the night well in most cases. If you breastfeed your child, it is a good idea to do so soon before putting your newborn to bed. A full tummy will prevent him or her from waking up as quickly as to scream for another nighttime breastfeeding. The physical closeness while breastfeeding will also relax your baby. Even if you do not regularly or exclusively breastfeed throughout the day, you may want to try it at night to help with your baby’s sleep.
Read to Your Baby or Tell Stories
It is never too early to read to your baby. Babies and young children learn by example and early reading habits are best encouraged by reading to your baby at a young age. The sound of your voice is comfortable, familiar, and relaxing for your baby as well. Even if they do not yet understand the content of books and stories, these things can help them to fall asleep at night feeling positive and relaxed. Be sure to read in a gentle, calm, and even tone of voice so that you do not startle or wake a baby that is starting to doze off.
Avoid Exposing Your Baby to Digital Screen Time and other Stimuli Before Bed
It is generally considered a bad idea to put your newborn baby in front of the TV in order to get them to fall asleep. Too much screen time does not benefit the neurological or other development of a newborn baby. It is a better idea to use other tactics like calming music, gentle massage, and story time.
Joyce Kimber is an entrepreneurial writer. She always finds new ways to improve her work performance and productivity. Connect with her on Twitter via @joyce_kimber91.
A child’s bedroom can be a lot more important to them than they are to an adult. Young people tend to spend far more time in this sort of space than their adult counterparts, with years of their lives spent playing, relaxing, and learning in the room that you create for them.
Of course, though, it’s not always easy to create an environment out of the space you have that encourages healthy development in your children. To help you out with this, this article will be exploring some of the key work that can be done to get more out of your child’s bedroom, all without having to spend a fortune in the process.
Babies & Toddlers
The first couple of years of a person’s life are crucial to their development. Babies need to be placed into environments that stimulate their minds, help them to learn, and will keep them curious, but you also need to make sure that your child’s bedroom is safe. There are several key areas that should be considered here. Decor doesn’t really matter to babies, as long as they have access to bright colors and interesting shapes. This will quickly change as your little one gets older, though.
Babies have to spend a lot of time on their backs when they are first born, and this can often cause issues like sores to form. Comfort is extremely important at this age, making it well worth taking the time to make sure that your little one has furniture and accessories that will keep them feeling as comfortable as possible. Learning about things like different crib mattress sizes can prove invaluable as you go through this, enabling you to make choices that could save a fortune down the line.
Learning & Enrichment
People are often quick to emphasize how well-equipped babies can be for learning, and this is certainly the case. Unlikely older children, though, babies learn passively, and this means that they need to be in an environment that stimulates their mind. Colors and shapes can be used for this, with the decor in your baby’s bedroom being exciting and fun. Alongside this, it can also help to make sure that they are surrounded by toys that they like, with those that they can touch and feel being the best.
Safety is always a major concern for parents, especially when their little one is a baby. The furniture you choose for children at this age should always be as safe as possible, but this doesn’t stop here. You need to make sure that your baby’s toys are age-appropriate, that furniture is fastened to the walls to avoid any toppling, and that your little one isn’t exposed to anything else that could hurt them as they grow.
A child’s needs will always change as they get older. While they may have enjoyed staring at pretty colors and shapes as a baby, their developing mind will soon be far too fast for that sort of thing. Instead, you need to find new ways to make your child’s bedroom stimulating, but you have to be careful to make sure that you don’t go too fast.
There are a lot of great toys on the market that young children will enjoy, with options that have an education angle usually being the best. Of course, though, kids will learn no matter what they play with, with toys like Lego proving that they don’t need much for their imagination to fly. Alongside this, it can also be a good time to start letting your child choose the decor in their bedroom at this stage. Many parents make the mistake of keeping the decor from when their child was a baby, though this can be a mistake that makes your child feel bad about their room.
As your child reaches the next milestone, it will be time to start branching out and giving them more choice. Much like being a baby, there are several key areas that need to be kept in mind when you decorating your child’s bedroom. Most parents will be considering giving their children electronic toys at this point in their lives, and this can boost their learning potential even further if the right options are picked.
Older children may not feel like they need toys, but it will be easy to see how much they rely on items like this even as they approach adulthood. The toys you buy a child at this age need to be far more complicated than those bought for a baby, though, with challenges like puzzles providing great mental stimulation for a young person. Many older children will prefer spending time outside, but this only opens the toy potential even further.
Alongside the toys they like, it’s also worth thinking about electronics. Computers can be extremely helpful to a young person when they are at school, giving them access to a wealth of tools and knowledge at their fingertips. Of course, though, these machines can also be dangerous. Video games can be excellent teaching tools, but they can also hinder a child’s education, making it worth balancing this out as much as you can.
The decor in an older child’s bedroom will always be less important than it is when they are young. In fact, many parents give their children a lot of freedom with their bedroom at this point, enabling them to choose the decor they want. If you haven’t updated this element of a child’s room since they were a baby, it will be crucial that you do it now.
Teenagers are one of the hardest groups to please when you are a parent. While you want to make sure that they have a good bedroom, you will also want to give them plenty of space in life, ensuring that they are able to grow and develop well by themselves. Of course, though, as a big part of this, you will also have to contend with their opinion in this matter, and this can make the whole thing much harder.
While they may not be an adult yet, teenagers certainly tend to act like they are. They will want to make their own choices when it comes to the way their room looks and works, and this means that you may have to take a step back to ensure that they can create a space that appeals to them. Of course, though, this has to be within reason, and you can even use this as a way to teach your child about moderation and spending.
Alongside being independent, teenagers will also need privacy in their bedroom. Some parents will go as far as installing locks on their child’s door at this stage in their life, but simply making a habit out of knocking on the door can be enough. Alongside this, they also need their bedroom to be a good place to work as they go through their final years at school. Noisy distractions should be avoided, and you should make sure that your teenager is in a room that has enough space for them.
Teenagers will often hold little value in things like furniture, but this only means that you have to work harder to make sure that they have what they need. They will be the size of an adult by now, and this means that they will need a bed, desk, and chair that suits their frame, along with having other pieces that help them to keep their room clean and tidy. Thankfully, you don’t really have to worry about attaching their furniture to the walls at this age.
Most living situations aren’t ideal, with every family having aspects of their lives that they would rather keep behind closed doors. Of course, though, you can’t let the chaos of family living get in the way of your child’s education. Arguments, loud music, and other regular disruptions could have a long-term impact on your child that lasts much longer than their bedroom. Many parents choose to work hard to push this issue in the other direction. By offering support and always being there for your children, you can ensure that they do the best they can in school and with their future work.
With all of this in mind, you should be feeling ready to build your child’s bedroom into something that will help with their education as they go into the future. Of course, this isn’t just about making sure they like their bedroom; you also need to work hard to give them an environment that makes it easy to learn and develop.
Sleep training can have a bad reputation among the parenting community.
This secret shame in sleep training comes from it’s association with the cry it out method. The name alone suggests something very traumatic for both moms and babies alike. But it’s important to note that the cry it out method is not nearly the only form of sleep training. In fact, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of different ways that parents sleep train their babies.
So I’d like to make it loud and clear for all moms everywhere that there is absolutely no shame in sleep training your baby!
Defining Sleep Training
There is no shame in sleep training because all parents do it, whether they realize it or not. To “sleep train” is to help a baby establish healthy sleep habits. But there are so many different ways that can be done, it all depends on the baby and the parent. Some parents choose to do this using more rigid guidelines, while others prefer to let their babies take the lead. Either way, it’s still considered sleep training.
Baby-Led Sleep Training
Babies are born with the natural instinct to sleep, eat and eliminate. Their wakeful periods gradually increase with age and as they grow, their little personalities begin to show. These personalities will give you a hint as to what kind of sleep they prefer.
My introverted first child was a great sleeper and still is, 10 years later. He likes quiet, darkness and solitude. He never slept well in a shared bedroom and was easily distracted by lights, sounds and toys in his room.
My easy-going third child can sleep anywhere without problem, as long as she has her special bunny.
Baby led sleep training methods mean following your baby’s sleep cues and letting them show you how and when they prefer to sleep. This can require a lot of patience and may mean more night-time waking, but many parents are up for that challenge. You can also expect a baby-led routine to change several times as they grow and develop different needs.
Parent-Led Sleep Training
Sleep training methods that have more structure and routine are considered parent-led methods. Many are based on adjusting baby’s instinctual sleep habits in order to make it work for a parent’s lifestyle. And these are the ones that moms often feel shamed for, or feel the need to shame others.
(At least, it shouldn’t be if done correctly.) While I am not a sleep training expert, I do firmly believe that leaving a baby to cry alone by themselves does not teach them how to sleep or self-soothe. Crying is a baby’s way of communicating and we should never take that for granted. But sometimes, a baby cries because they feel overstimulated or overtired and need some space, so holding or rocking them is not always the solution.
Parent-led sleep training methods can require a lot of consistency and a certain level of self-discipline. Creating a strict bedtime routine for a baby means committing to doing it for years to come, but some parents are willing to make that sacrifice in exchange for a better night’s sleep.
Stick with One or The Other
A mistake most parents make is beginning with a baby led sleep approach and then trying to switch to parent led sleep training when the child is older. Of course there will be tears and baby will put up a fight, because change can be difficult for everyone. So if you plan on letting baby take the lead right from the start, then expect to follow through on that. Or you can start incorporating a more structured bedtime routine as a gradual process.
If you do plan on sleep training your baby, then try to start from the moment you bring your baby home. Obviously, your newborn isn’t going to start sleeping straight through the night, but remember, that’s not what sleep training is about. There are several things you can do to ensure they develop a good routine and sleeping habits. This way, you don’t need to worry about making drastic changes to their routine as they grow.
There is No Shame in Needing Help
If your baby isn’t sleeping no matter what you’ve tried, that doesn’t make you a failure. When it comes to sleep training, there is a lot of advice out there but there is no manual or one tried and true method.
Thankfully, there are professional baby sleep training consultants available. I have personally used and would recommend the Baby Sleep Site(read about my personal experience with them here). Trained professionals take into account your family life, other children’s schedules and your own health and well being to create a routine that works for you. They’ve dealt with the various sleep habits of thousands of different babies and have the experience to help you. Sleep training can be stressful, so it’s good to have some support and guidance along the way.
Motherhood is not black and white and when it comes to sleep training, there is a lot of grey area. Ultimately, what works for one family, or one baby, will not work for everyone. So let’s quit with the mom shaming about sleep training. Moms who sleep train are not being cruel or selfish. And moms who follow their baby’s lead are not spoiling them. All moms are doing what they feel is best for their baby, themselves and their families and that’s the only thing that truly matters.
Do you wonder why your kids can’t seem to get to sleep by a decent time at night? Or, do your kids complain that their stomach hurts in the middle of the night. Well, more than likely these are signs that your child is responding to the food they ate for dinner or as a pre-bedtime snack. While some snacks may be healthy for your child and aid in promoting sleep, other foods can cause wakefulness, stomach pain, and acid reflux.
So, which foods should your child not eat before going to bed? Here are 5 foods your child should avoid.
Cereal may seem like the perfect quick snack for your child if they complain of being hungry right before bed. After all, it is quick and takes almost no preparation. However, sugary cereals (you know them) digest quickly resulting in a spike in sugar. Sugar spikes affect kids much differently than they do adults and this could lead to an entire night of sleep disruption or light sleep as your child may experience increased blood sugar levels causing them to do an all-nighter.
Much like sugary cereal soda can create a spike in sugar levels for your child resulting in what adults need an energy drink to accomplish. In addition to sugar stimulation the carbonation of a soda can cause stomach pain and discomfort. Soda is recommended as one the foods to avoid at all times, but especially before bed.
Citrus fruits like oranges, pineapple, and grapefruit are highly acidic and can result in acid reflux. So, while you may think giving your child fruit for a late-night snack is beneficial remember that not all fruits are created equal. If you do decide to give your child fruit before bedtime, consider a banana or apple with a little peanut butter. These are not only filling but are also nutritious and likely won’t upset your child’s stomach.
Surprised? Celery seems like it might be a healthy choice for your kids before bedtime – think ants on a log. However, celery is a natural diuretic which may cause your child to need a late-night potty break when they should be sleeping. Diuretics are foods that push water through the digestive system and celery can cause a child’s system to respond the same way coffee would in yours.
Pizza is one of the most beloved dinners in America. Yet, be careful how close to bedtime you feed your kids a glorious cheese pizza. While it might be tasty, melted cheese and popular toppings like pepperoni are high in fat. Add acidic pizza sauce to this and your child may wake you up midway through the night complaining of stomach problems.
Few parents are keen on giving their kids food just before bedtime and it’s preferable if you can avoid it. However, your children are persistent and when they are hungry, they will let you know. So, if you find yourself searching for a quick snack, the best foods to avoid are those that are acidic, sugary and high in fats. Rather, options such as peanut butter on a piece of bread or apple, yogurt, or whole grain cereals such as oatmeal are good choices.
Krista is married and the mom to two adorable kids. She is a freelance writer that regularly covers sleep health, lifestyle, and beauty content. Krista is always looking for ways to better herself and has a passion for helping families create balance and happiness in their lives.
If there’s one thing that many parents dread doing, it’s having to deal with the stress of sleep training.
Sleep training is such an ambiguous term – what exactly is “sleep training” anyway? It’s basically any method you use to help your child learn to go to sleep on their own (note that I wrote “on their own” and not “alone”). It’s most often associated with babies, but the reality is – the stress of sleep training never truly ends…
You start by sleep training a newborn, and then you have to do it again after that baby starts teething. Then you move your toddler out of a crib and have to help them sleep in a big kid bed. Perhaps you move and have to teach your child to sleep in a new bedroom. Or you go on vacation, and when you get back, your child has forgotten how to sleep on their own and you have to start all over again!
Sleep training is not a one-time thing you need to teach your child. Unlike teaching them how to write their name or ride a bike – sleep training is something you will have to do over and over again, in several different ways and for several different reasons. So there’s no point in trying to avoid it.
There are, however, ways and reasons to avoid the stress of sleep training. The number one reason being the effect it has on a mother’s mental health.
To Sleep Train… Or Not To Sleep Train?
That is the question but there actually isn’t one right answer. Many parents sleep train without even realizing that’s what they’re doing. (Hint: simply following a bedtime routine is sleep training!) Sleep is a natural part of life, and sleep training means helping baby to do that. The obvious goal of sleep training is to have baby sleep through the night. But sometimes, the stress of sleep training is just too much to consider doing.
Pros of Sleep Training:
Reduces the negative effects of sleep deprivation (for both mom and baby)
Creates a predictable routine
Helps baby adjust to life outside of the womb
Develops good sleep habits early
Cons of Sleep Training:
It’s hard to get right
Requires a lot of patience and persistence
Increases mom’s stress level
Limits the amount of time mom and baby spend together
A strict routine can make mom feel depressed and imprisoned but no routine at all can be overwhelming.
Having baby sleep in their own bed can be good for a mom who needs space but sleeping with baby can create a stronger bond.
Reduce The Anxiety
Just the idea of sleep training is enough to cause anxiety for moms. Many moms worry about how to do it properly and fear the thought of their babies crying for hours on end. There’s really no way to know in advance how a baby will handle sleep training. You will also find a lot of conflicting information and advice about sleep training. Reading about how excessive crying can cause brain damage will definitely cause a high level of stress for a mom who is considering sleep training their baby.
One of the best ways to avoid the stress of sleep training is to change your perspective on it. Having a positive attitude towards sleep training will help you to be more successful and reduce stress on yourself and baby.
Concentrate on the five senses. Make it a point to incorporate a calming activity for each of the senses into the bedtime routine. It’s a great way to send signals to the brain that it’s time to go to sleep. Calming each of the senses will help baby to relax, which will make sleep training so much easier. It will also help to reduce mom’s anxiety and stress level, making her feel more confident at bedtime.
If the idea of sleep training is causing a lot of anxiety, then it might be a good idea to speak to an online therapist before beginning. They can help you to change your thought process and will be available for you to speak to if you feel overly stressed once you’ve started. Having a plan in place to handle your stress is a great way to manage any mental health problems that might arise.
Another way to eliminate the stress of sleep training is to make sure that you are using the right method. Taking advice from other parents is a guaranteed way to use the wrong method. All babies are different and using tricks and tips that worked wonders for your friend’s baby, or even for one of your previous children, doesn’t mean it will work this time. Using a method that isn’t the right fit for your child will surely end in failure, which can lead to stress, anxiety and depression.
Find the Right Sleep Training Method
When I use the term sleep training, the brain automatically creates an image of a screaming baby in their crib and a sobbing mother on the other side of the door.
Sleep training has come a long way, and that is no longer the norm. Training does not have to be synonymous with crying. Since crying is baby’s primary way of communicating – sleep training is about learning to understand their cries, as opposed to ignoring them.
Sleep training methods can range from gentle to more extreme and which one to use will depend on the personalities of each baby and mom. It’s important to use a method and level of intensity that you’re comfortable with.
Some common sleep training methods include (but are not limited to):
Fading Method(Intensity Level: Low)
This is a very calm and gradual method of sleep training. Baby can be rocked or nursed to sleep or whatever else they’re used to. Slowly, over a few days or even weeks, the length of time they are rocked or nursed is reduced. Eventually, baby becomes less dependent on it.
Chair Method(Intensity Level: Low)
This is another calm method of sleep training that involves keeping a chair beside baby’s crib and staying in the room until they fall asleep, but without holding, rocking or talking to them. Each night, the chair is moved further away from baby’s crib, until it no longer needs to be in the room at all.
Pick Up, Put Down Method(Intensity Level: Low)
This method is one where the parent is not in the room with the baby. It involves putting baby into the crib, soothing them and then leaving the room. If baby cries, then you would go into the room, pick them up and soothe them, and then put them back down again and walk out. This would continue on and on as many times as needed until baby is asleep for the night.
Sometimes crying is unavoidable when it comes to sleep training. The controlled crying method includes putting baby to sleep in their crib while they are drowsy and then checking on them at regular intervals if they start to cry. In this more intense method, the intervals between checks start around 2 minutes and then 5 and then 10 and gradually get longer and longer.
Cry it Out/Extinction/Ferber Method(Intensity Level: High)
This is a very intense method of sleep training, but the claims are that it is the “quickest” way to sleep train a baby. This method involves putting baby in their crib while they are drowsy and then leaving the room but NOT returning to check on them for any reason. Parents often watch or listen on a baby monitor to make sure everything is alright. It sounds cruel and harsh, and is often a last resort.
If you’re unsure of which method to use, then you could consider getting a personalized sleep consultation from sites like The Baby Sleep Site. After answering an interview about your routine, habits and family life, a professional will provide you with a plan based on your specific answers. This is something I have personally done, and would definitely recommend for avoiding the stress of sleep training. You can read about my experience here.
The Danger of Sleep Deprivation
Sleep deprivation is the norm among parents of young kids and there’s almost no avoiding it. The quest for more sleep is a main reason why parents choose to start sleep training. But despite being a parental rite of passage, sleep deprivation is known for causing all kinds of mental and physical health challenges.
Excessive sleep deprivation can also cause fits of rage, depression, anxiety, compulsive behavior, intrusive thoughts and even hallucinations. It’s been linked to bigger health problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease. For a mother in the postpartum period, sleep deprivation can exacerbate symptoms of postpartum depression and anxiety. It makes it harder to deal with all the physical and emotional changes happening in her body.
Putting off sleep training or avoiding doing it isn’t a great way to avoid the stress. Eventually, some type of bedtime routine will need to be established and so the earlier good sleep habits can be taught, the easier it will be. Another worry about delayed sleep training is the concern for mom’s mental health. Sleep deprivation can cause all kinds of mental and physical problems, especially for a postpartum mom, who’s hormones are in a delicate state. Allowing mom and baby to get a good night’s rest is the best plan and it all begins with avoiding the stress of sleep training.
Sleep training is one of those tough parts of parenthood. You either get it right or you struggle with sleep deprivation for many, many years.
Years ago, when I started researching sleep training for my first baby, there was so much conflicting information. I had no idea which method would work and so I resorted to good, old “trial and error.” Thankfully he was a pretty easy going kid who took to it wonderfully, unlike my second child. In an effort to avoid the stress of sleep training, I’ve started looking into sleep training consultants for advice with my third baby.
Sleep consultation sites like The Baby Sleep Site usually offer wide varieties of different options based on your sleep training needs, which can get really overwhelming (especially when you’re a sleep deprived parent who has no idea where to begin). And the last thing any parent wants to do is shell out money for a service that they’re not convinced is not going to be worth it.
Yes, it costs money. But for as little as $12/month – you have a valuable source of resources and information available at your fingertips. The Members Area comes loaded with e-books, articles, quizzes, downloadable worksheets and even a chat room.
One of my favorite features is the tele-seminars. They’re about half an hour long so you can listen to one while you’re cooking dinner or folding a load of laundry – perfect for busy moms who don’t have time to read through tons of articles!
Another great feature as a member is the custom schedule maker – which you can use as often as you need to as your baby grows.
The Members Area is a great tool for a parent who is just beginning to struggle with sleep training and needs some guidance on where to start.
But what if you need even more help?
What if you’ve read all the e-books and changed around your baby’s schedule 15 times just to try to make it work but they’re still not sleeping through the night?
It goes without saying that all babies are different, and some are definitely harder to figure out than others. That’s where the sleep experts come in. They’ve dealt with babies of all different temperaments and preferences before. Even a mother of three has only ever had to handle sleep training three kids – but sleep experts have handled sleep training thousands of them.
They offer both phone and e-mail consultation, depending on which you prefer. E-mail is a great option for busy moms but sometimes it really helps to speak to someone one-on-one. (They also offer an express sleep plan if you’re desperate for a good night’s sleep.)
The best part is, as a Member, you get a 20% discount towards the consultation package of your choice!
You can get more info about the other package options here but the difference is basically how many follow up e-mails you get (i.e. how much “time” you want to purchase.)
Beginning the consultation process is very simple but I would recommend setting aside enough time, free of distractions to complete the sleep history. It might also help to write down any notes about your child’s specific areas that you want to work on, what their schedule is like, and how they’ve responded to sleep training in the past.
Once you have an idea of what you need work on, you submit a sleep history assessment via the Help Desk. The questions are pretty straightforward and there are several places to elaborate further on what is happening specifically with your child.
It took me approximately 15 minutes to complete the assessment.
Prior to submitting your sleep history, there is an estimated chart of how long it will take to receive a response.
I submitted my sleep history on a Friday after 5 PM EST and received my personalized sleep plan on Monday morning!
The Personalized Sleep Plan
As a “researcher” myself, I didn’t have extremely high hopes for the personalized sleep plan. I felt as though I had read enough books and blogs, all of which had the same info, that there wouldn’t be much in the personalized sleep plan that I didn’t already know. (In the sleep history assessment, you have the option to select the level of detail you would like.I, of course, selected the highest level.)
I will admit that, upon receiving my personalized sleep plan, it exceeded my expectations. The key reason being – it’s personalized! I didn’t appreciate exactly what that meant until I received the sleep plan back from Nicole Johnson and her team of experts.
Let me highlight my favorite parts so that you can see what I mean:
Specific needs for my child based on the information I included in the assessment. For example, how much she should be sleeping or eating or napping based not just on her age but also on her temperament and history.
Daytime and nighttime routines based on her sleeping arrangements since my toddler and five year old currently share a bedroom.
A personalized mantra about my specific sleep training goals that I can repeat to myself on those rough, sleepless nights.
The day to day plan with precise steps to take each day, including how and what to prepare for before beginning the plan. (See image below)
All of these different things stood out to me in the personalized sleep plan. When I was doing my own research on sleep training, then it was up to me to create a plan based on what I learned and I truly had no idea if it was going to work for my child or not. Upon reading this personalized sleep plan, I found myself pretty confident that I could easily incorporate these changes, and more importantly, that my daughter would be comfortable with them.
The personalized sleep plan included actionable steps for me to take to correct my child’s sleeping problems, based on a number of different factors that I hadn’t even considered.
I still have my three follow up e-mails to use, which are good for 6 months. So as I incorporate these recommended changes to her schedule and bedtime routine, I will have help waiting if I encounter any problems.
Knowing that I have an expert in my corner has absolutely saved my sanity! I regret that I didn’t choose a sleep training expert when my second child was younger and I was battling such extreme postpartum depression. Perhaps it could have reduced the amount of stress and sleep deprivation I was experiencing then. But now, as a busy mother of three, sleep training is no longer an issue I need to stress about, thanks to The Baby Sleep Site.
How much would you pay for a good night’s sleep?
The largest obstacle I would see to most parents hiring a sleep consultant would likely be the cost associated. For this, it all comes down to priorities and how important the sleep is to you. In my case, sleep deprivation is a big trigger of postpartum depression relapses, and so I can’t afford to lose that war.
It’s important to keep in mind that what you are paying for is the time and service of a professional. I’m pretty sure I’ve paid the guy who fertilizes my lawn in the summer more money and that hasn’t gotten me very far in life.
So when I take all these things into consideration, the cost of a professional sleep consultant is worth it, in my opinion.
Bedtime excuses are common in kids of all ages, and can lead to much frustration for parents.
Are you sick of getting your kids that “one more drink of water” after tucking them into bed each night? A mother who has already spent the entire day taking care of her children looks forward to finally putting them to bed at night. This is normally the only time a mother has to practice self care. So how do you win the bedtime battle and regain your alone time?
There are several ways to handle bedtime excuses and avoid the added stress that comes along with putting energetic kids to sleep.
1. Address all possible issues beforehand
Make a list of all of your child’s usual bedtime complaints and run through them each night before tucking them in. Do they have a cup of water? Have they used the toilet? Brushed their teeth? Got their favorite stuffy or blanket?
It’s no guarantee that they won’t come up with something else but at least you’ll have the bases covered.
2. Spend quality time together before bed
This is something that our family has recently started doing and it’s made a huge improvement in the number of bedtime excuses. Since we started putting the toddler to bed a half hour earlier than the older two, it allows time to do more “un-toddler friendly” activities like crafts, puzzles, board games or science experiments.
We all know how much children love attention, and at bedtime is no exception. Spending some time together right before bed can satisfy your child’s need for some extra one-on-one time.
3. Offer a distraction
Kids have wild imaginations and lying alone in bed is the perfect time for a child to come up with all kinds of excuses as to why they can’t sleep. A distraction at bedtime is a great way to help them slow down their thoughts and forget that they needed to tell you about something funny that happened that day. Some examples of good distractions are books, glow in the dark stars or posters, relaxing music or sound machines, or a projection night light.
But definitely try to avoid using screen time as a distraction before bed!
4. Stick to a consistent routine
Consistency is key when it comes to sleep training at any age. Handling bedtime excuses requires the same practice as sleep training a baby. Having a designated routine will help teach your child what’s expected of them. If your kids know what to expect when it’s bedtime, they will be less likely to ask if they can stay up longer or refuse to go to bed altogether.
They may try to test their limits, but if you remain consistent, they’ll soon realize they don’t stand a chance at winning.
5. Be boring
Dealing with bedtime excuses over and over again can be extremely frustrated and drive a parent to the edge of madness. Staying calm and positive is easier said than done but at the very least – try to be boring.
Make yourself a cup of tea, grab a good book and sit outside their bedroom door, waiting for the excuses to come rolling out. Then handle each one in a slow, controlled manner and speak in a monotone voice (if you need to speak at all).
Basically, try to be as boring as possible. Eventually, they’ll realize that it’s no fun getting out of bed.
6. Fresh air & exercise
If your child seems to have an abundance of energy at bedtime, consider how much fresh air and exercise they are getting throughout the day. While they may be active enough, fresh air and heart-pumping exercise is important to make sure they get enough oxygen in their blood. Tired kids make way fewer excuses than ones with some residual energy leftover at the end of the day. An after dinner walk may help to get your kids off to dreamland a lot faster.
If your kids still seem extra energetic at bedtime, diffusing some kid safe essential oils can help to calm them down.
7. Avoid giving in
Kids are way smarter than we give them credit for. And if we give in to one excuse, even on a night when we’re exhausted and at our limit, they will remember it and realize that it worked. They don’t call it a bedtime battle for nothing. If the bedtime excuses have gotten out of control and you truly want to put an end to them for good – then you have to stand your ground and avoid giving in.
Try setting a goal not to give in to a single excuse for one entire week. If that works, then try another week and so on.
8. Give out one free pass
Finally, my favorite tip to battle bedtime excuses is the use of a free pass. This has been tried and tested on my middle daughter, a.k.a. the QUEEN of bedtime excuses. Essentially, each child is given one free pass to use after they’ve been tucked into bed. If they absolutely need something, they may use their one free pass, i.e. one excuse. But once it’s been used, there’s no more excuses for the night. It provides something solid in the way of “just one more” and gives your child a sense of control and lesson in prioritizing.
Designing and decorating a child’s bedroom is never easy, especially when you have three kids with very different tastes.
How can you get it right without disappointing your child or having to change things around again in six months’ time? It’s a pretty difficult balancing act, and many parents get it wrong. Unfortunately, when parents do get it wrong, they tend to waste a lot of money, and that’s the last thing you need.
Luckily for you, there are lots of tips that you can take advantage of if you want to get this whole thing right without ever wasting any money. And it doesn’t have to involve taking the cheap option and disappointing your child either, so everyone can be a winner here!
Here are some tips that will allow you to get the most out of your child’s bedroom and remain relevant and suitable for a long time to come.
1. Don’t be Too Specific With Design Features
Your child’s interests, tastes and favorite TV shows and characters probably change all the time. That’s something that you should definitely keep in mind when you’re coming up with design features for their bedroom. If you choose a theme that is too specific, relating to a movie or TV show, they will probably lose interest in that thing within 6 months or a year if you’re lucky. That’s simply the nature of childhood. So many parents have made this mistake in the past, and it costs them big.
2. Keep Things Adaptable Because Change is Coming
It’s not just the general design you need to keep adaptable though. It’s also a good idea to keep the furniture and general arrangement and layout as flexible as possible too. As we’ve already mentioned, your children will change and grow up over time. That means their needs will also change. It’s wise to be prepared from that from day one when it comes to designing their bedroom. So don’t nail things to the walls and floors, and don’t set things in stone because you’ll only regret it later.
3. Fit a Chalkboard
Having a chalkboard in the room can be a great idea because it can serve all kinds of different purposes as your child moves through the different phases of childhood. They can use it to help them learn things while they’re young and still learning basic math and English skills. And they can later make use of it in order to get creative and express themselves in various ways. It could be as big or small as you want it to be so definitely consider this option.
One good way to add some style to your son or daughter’s wall is to use wall stickers and stencils. Stickers are perfect for short-term designs because they can be removed and replaced as soon as your child wants a new design to be put in place. These details will add something more to the room and stop it from looking dull or tired. There are so many sticker and stencil options out there that are ideal for children’s bedrooms.
5. Assess Furniture Materials and Choose the Ones That Will Last
The furniture you use in your child’s bedroom is important because you want it to be durable and as long-lasting as possible. The last thing you want is for your boisterous child to break a furniture item when using it. That’s not only dangerous for them but also costly for you as a parent. So always look at the materials from which relevant children’s bedroom furniture is made before buying. That way, everything you buy will last for as long as it possibly can.
6. Make Use of Old Picture Frames
You can do anything with old picture frames and it’s this that makes them so useful when you’re looking to liven up the walls of your child’s bedroom. You can add nice designs, photos or art to the frames and make them work nicely together. You could make a collage of picture frames because this often creates a nice impression, so give it some thought. It’s a simple trick but it works wonderfully.
Storage is a huge part of any child’s bedroom. Let’s face it; all kids of piles of toys and gadgets that need to have their own storage place. But that doesn’t mean the storage can’t be part of the design. It’s more than possible to use colorful boxes and baskets to make the room both stylish and functional.
8. Focus on Timelessness
Some design styles are timeless, and these are the things you should be focusing on if you want to avoid having to make regular design changes to the room going forward. The simple and classic touches that are both timeless and suitable for children are not always easy to find, but you’ll know them when you see them. Stay away from the temporary and plastic items that are only going to break or look tired within a few months of use.
9. Keep Your Child Involved in the Design Process
It’s important to remember the importance of keeping your child involved in the design process because they need to have their say. If they’re old enough to do that, they will be clear about what they want and what they expect. This is helpful because you don’t want them to start complaining about the design as soon as it’s in place. Obviously, you’re still going to have to take the lead, but your child should be involved in some way.
No parent should waste money when it comes to designing their children’s bedrooms. It’s more than possible to come up with designs that will hold strong and survive the test of time if you’re willing to think carefully and take the right steps. It is important for your child to have a comfortable, relaxing space of their own, but it is completely do-able on any budget.
With all of the horror stories floating around out there, it’s hard not to… Sleep training isn’t easy. As a parent, it’s one of the first opportunities to teach a child how to do something on their own, so it’s a task riddled with pressure, questions and self-doubt. If sleep training feels like the right decision for your family, then there’s no need to fear it. A positive sleep training experience is entirely possible.
Here are some tips for a positive sleep training experience.
1. Make the bedroom a sanctuary
“Go to your room” is something I heard a thousand times growing up as a kid, and I’m guilty of saying it to my older children now. But when it comes to sleep training, the bedroom should never be used as a place for punishment to avoid associating it with something negative. Designate a different room or area for time-outs. The bedroom should be a safe and comfortable place.
Before (and throughout) the sleep training process, spend plenty of time in the baby’s room playing or reading books and never force baby to stay in their crib or their room if they clearly don’t want to.
The more comfortable baby is in their room, the less they will dread it at bedtime.
2. Start early
Babies are actually born with naturally good sleep habits. They sleep when they feel tired and don’t know any different. Sleep training a younger baby can make for a positive sleep training experience. While young babies don’t sleep for long stretches, they do normally fall asleep on their own without much of a struggle.
Encourage that behavior – because the ability to fall asleep without help is the KEY to sleep training!
3. Conduct trial runs at nap time
While daytime sleep should be different from nighttime sleep, naps are a good way to get a feel for what sleep training will be like. The daytime is much less intimidating to begin sleep training. Both parent and baby will be somewhat more well rested than at the end of the day and there’s not as much pressure to get it right since naps are much shorter sleep periods.
While there’s no need to perform an entire bedtime routine at nap time, the key things to practice will be putting baby to sleep in the same place where they’ll be sleeping at night, and putting baby down while they are drowsy but not actually asleep.
If you can successfully get baby to go down for a nap on their own, then you’ll have a lot more confidence moving onto to bedtime.
4. Choose a realistic bedtime routine
Obviously sleep training involves some level of sacrifice, at least at first. But that doesn’t mean you should be wearing yourself out every night with baths and massages and stories and missing out on your social life. A bedtime routine doesn’t need to be elaborate.
Consistency is the key to a good bedtime routine so keep it simple and achievable. It could be the simple task of changing into pajamas and reading a special book (check out this list of the best bedtime books). Or maybe there’s a lullaby you like to sing. Even a special stuffed animal or blanket that’s reserved specifically for bedtime can do the trick. Diffusing some calming essential oils around bedtime can also help to calm the minds of both parent and child. Try to find one thing that soothes and calms each of the five senses. These simple habits, when done consistently, will give your baby the signal that it’s bedtime, no matter where you are or what time it is.
Having the option to be flexible in your baby’s bedtime routine will keep you from resenting the task altogether.
5. Eliminate the pressure
There is SO much pressure on parents to get sleep training just right. A common question new parents often hear is “is the baby sleeping through the night yet?” implying that something is wrong if they aren’t.
And if that wasn’t pressure enough, there’s also so much contradictory information about sleep training. Everyone has a method that they promise is the BEST and you always seem to be on the wrong side of the cry-it-out vs no-cry-it-out debate.
Accepting that all babies are different and sleep training is not a competition, or even a milestone, will help to take some of the pressure out of it. Sleep training will only be successful if both parent and baby are ready, and not because another baby who’s the same age or weight (even a sibling) was ready. Whatever method you choose to sleep train your baby should be the one that works for your baby and your family and no one else’s.
Remember that sleep training is not an all or nothing situation. It’s perfectly fine to take a break and try again another time.
6. Ask for help
Sleep training is not for everyone. Some babies have a much harder time sleeping than others and it can lead to a very unpleasant experience. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you’re struggling with it.
While it’s great to have your spouse or partner around to tag team during those late nights, a friend to talk to (especially another mom who’s been there and done that) can do wonders for building up your confidence.
If the sleep deprivation is really getting to you and you’ve tried every method of sleep training without success, it could be time to call in an expert.
Sleepwalking can be a frightening episode for parents of young children.
When my second child started sleepwalking at 3 years old, it was a night I will never forget. I had heard stories about an aunt who had to be locked inside her bedroom at night due to her wild sleepwalking episodes, but never imagined that I would get to witness this phenomenon first hand.
Of course, like any good mother, I immediately panicked and started researching what this meant for her. I am happy to report that it’s simply a phase many children go through and while it can be incredibly creepy – it won’t last forever…
Here is some information for parents of a sleepwalking child.
1. What is Sleepwalking?
It sounds scarier than it is. The medical term for sleepwalking is somnambulism which basically means that a person moves around or performs activities as if they were awake but they are, in fact, asleep.
For more detailed medical information on the definition, symptoms and causes of sleepwalking please visit WebMD or Mayo Clinic.
2. Understand the Sleep Cycle
To truly understand when and how sleepwalking occurs, you must understand the sleep cycle.
There sleep cycle consists of 4 stages of sleep plus the REM (Rapid Eye Movement) stage. Sleepwalking occurs just after stage 4 when a person is transitioning from a deep sleep to the lighter REM sleep and they get stuck halfway.
Every night we go through several sleep cycles each one is an average of 90 minutes but it varies depending on age. Young babies can go through a full sleep cycle every 45 minutes which explains why they wake more often.
So while most sleepwalking occurs within the first 1 – 2 hours after your child goes to sleep – it can also occur at any time of the night depending on their sleep cycle.
3. It is Hereditary
I cursed my sleepwalking aunt – or rather, she cursed us. It is 10 times more likely that a child will be prone to sleepwalking if it runs in their family.
However, just because a family member was a sleepwalker doesn’t mean your child will be. Out of my three children, only one is a sleepwalker (so far…)
4. It’s not just “walking”
Sleepwalking does not always manifest itself as a person wandering around while fully asleep. In young children, they may only sit up in bed and look around or move their hands.
Sleep talking is sleepwalking’s less offensive cousin and usually occurs in the same manner. But not everyone who sleep talks sleep walks and vice versa.
If your child is prone to sleep talking, it might be an early warning sign of sleep walking OR sleep talking may be the extent of their night time extra-curricular activities.
In my experience with my daughter she had exhibited many cases of sleep talking prior to the first time I ever caught her sleepwalking. Her sleepwalking episodes have ranged from getting out of bed and wandering around, to full out tantrums throwing stuffed animals around her bedroom.
If you’re concerned about keeping an eye on them at nighttime, then a baby monitor is a good idea to have. You can find the top three baby monitors from Reviews.com and/or you can download the Baby Monitor 3G app if you have two compatible devices – a great option for travelling!
5. The Powerful Subconscious Mind
I was always bewildered by the fact that my 3 year old daughter could manage to climb out of bed, walk down the hallway in the pitch black without bumping into anything, open the bedroom door and come over to my side of the bed (where she proceeded to stand there and say absolutely nothing until I opened my eyes because I could feel her breath on my face).
The subconscious brain is powerful and the things it stores within it are endless. I’m certain my daughter could navigate our entire house while she was sleepwalking. It’s also quite impressive that her subconscious brain has learned the floor plan of the three different houses that we’ve lived in.
6. Sleepwalking Triggers
While a person might be prone to sleepwalking because of their genetics – there are also many environmental/psychological factors that can affect them as well.
Illness/Fever – this was a big trigger for my daughter. We were pretty much guaranteed an eventful night when she was fighting a fever.
Lack of Sleep
A full bladder
7. Sleepwalking or just walking?
My daughter is infamous for her bedtime stalling routines. She’s never been a “good” sleeper and has woken regularly throughout the night since she was born (thankfully NOW she knows how to go back to sleep on her own but the first 3 years were rough).
The first time I found her sleepwalking I had no idea that’s what she was doing. I assumed she was up because she had a bad dream or needed another drink of water or trip to the bathroom. It wasn’t until I saw the glazed look on her face and couldn’t get a response from her that I realized what was happening.
For the past couple years, every time she gets out of bed at night I wonder if she’s really awake and there are many times when it’s still hard to tell.
Ways to tell if someone is sleepwalking:
They don’t respond when you speak to them
They don’t make eye contact with you, even if their eyes are open
They seem disoriented or confused
They may be saying things that don’t make any sense or just mumbling words
8. Reaction vs. Overreaction
The number one thing you will hear about sleepwalkers is DON’T WAKE THEM UP!If you realize that your child is sleepwalking, the best thing to do is to guide them gently back to bed (you may have to do it several times).
While it can be incredibly freaky to open your eyes and see your half-asleep child staring at you in the darkness – restrain yourself from screaming!
Waking up someone who is sleepwalking could cause them unnecessary stress. They will be in a disoriented state and the confusion could cause them more harm than good.
They won’t remember anything in the morning and it’s best if you keep quiet about it unless they ask. Knowing about their sleepwalking habit could give a child insecurities at night time, they may become fearful to go to sleep or be alone.
9. They will outgrow it
As tiny brains grow and develop they will learn how to handle their sleep cycles better. They may go months or years without an episode only to have one set off by one of their triggers but it doesn’t mean there is anything psychologically wrong with them, or that you need to worry.
Children often outgrow sleepwalking before they hit puberty. Some people have sleepwalking episodes their entire lives, and if it becomes a problem as they get older, it’s worth discussing with a doctor.
10. Protect them
If you discover that your child is sleepwalking – all you really need to do is to protect them. Make sure their bedroom is safe (no bunk beds, floor is cleared of toys, etc). Lock the outside doors and/or windows and utilize baby gates near stairs if necessary. If you are concerned about your child opening doors and walking around while sleepwalking you can get a door sensor that chimes when a door is opened.
Don’t over-think the things they do while sleepwalking. While they are acting on subconscious it is normal for children to use bad language, urinate or do something else out of character while in this state.
We’ve all heard of people revealing secrets in their sleep – but the dream world is mysterious place and shouldn’t be taken too seriously.
If your child is having more and more frequent episodes, try to keep a log of what foods they’re eating, activities they’ve been doing or medications they’re taking to try to determine a trigger.
And of course, speak to your doctor if you have any concerns.