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Monday, February 15, 2010

Does Your Toddler Have Sleeping Issues?

I thought that everyone knew how to deal with sleep issues with a toddler but just that since it can be difficult (time consuming and tear-jerking) parents were hesitant to be hard-core about it. The truth is however that so many parents really do not know what to do to get their child into a healthy nighttime routine and that they just think they have to suffer with what they are dealing with. I have dealt with my share and as far as I am concerned your share of sleep issues with my girls. Here is my “foolproof” method for getting back into a healthy sleep routine with your child. It works every time and with any kid but you have to be committed and diligent. I cannot stress that enough. This is my own combination of various methods (disclaimer, disclaimer, disclaimer….) Ok, so here goes…

Step one is decide that the result you are striving for is to get your child to sleep for an entire night in his or her own bed. Period. And that you will accept no less. Got it? Do not read anymore until you have taken this vow because you are getting ready to embark on an emotionally and physically tiring journey.

Now that you have taken the above vow you will need to choose a start time. Ideally I would start on a Thursday night since typically it takes no more than three nights to get the job done and it is easier to deal with work when you are tired and it is the end of the week instead of increasing the amount of stress you feel on Monday morning.

On Thursday night put your child in the bath tub a little earlier than usual and if you do not bathe your child at night I recommend starting to because this really does help to soothe them. I used to start the day talking about how tonight she is going to sleep like a big girl by herself and get her excited about from the morning but this has backfired and can also cause unnecessary stress over the course of their day so just judge by what you know about your child. If you think you can get them excited about being a “big” girl or boy then start talking about it in the morning.

After bath tell your child how the rest of the night is going to go. Tell them how many books you will read, songs you will sing and that then they will get a kiss and you will leave. Then do exactly what you said. Depending on your child the crying may start right away. Whatever the deal is the next things are simple but must be consistent.

Leave the room. If your child follows you put them back into bed with a “goodnight” and maybe a few kind words like “I love you,” “you can do it,” “don’t cry,” etc. Only use words the first time you put them into bed. Now for the rest of the night sleep someplace that you all will not wake your spouse (no point in both of you being up all night) and keep putting your child in bed. No matter how hysterical they are put them back in bed as gently as you can but with no words for the entire rest of the night.

My daughter had puked, she has come out of her room 20+ times and she has even been physically resisting me before but the first night is the worst for us. When she pukes I clean it up with as little fuss and light as I can and then continue on with my plan. This can also vary according to the child but by the third night you will have a different kid and if you continue with diligence you will have your nights back in no time!

This really works so try it if you like to sleep…

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