Every day I have the privilege of working with families to improve sleep not only for their children, but for their entire family.
I recently worked with a lovely family who was battling sleep deprivation with both their one year old daughter, as well as their six year old son. There is help as you will soon see after reading my recent interview with mom.
Diane: We worked together such a short time ago. Can you describe what sleep was like before we met?
Mom: Before Diane came into our lives, sleep seemed like a mission not even Ethan Hunt’s IMF team from Mission Impossible would accept, let alone successfully complete if they dared. Our 13 -month old would be nursed to sleep for naps and at night. She would always be placed in her crib asleep. At night she would wake after two hours screaming and I would stumble into her room (from our six year old’s room where I had passed out) and bring her into our bed for the rest of the night. She would nurse constantly. Our six year old fought us tooth and nail at bedtime. Each night I would fall asleep in his bed. Sleep would happen for everyone as a result of sheer and utter exhaustion.
Diane: What lead you to consider working with a Sleep Consultant for your children? Was there a significant moment where you felt that things needed to change?
Mom: I had heard about Sleep Consulting from friends of ours. I was curious…and desperate. Exhaustion can make you crazy. In preparation for heading back to work, I knew we had to try something different. I also wanted our bed back! I like the idea of having a coach – whether in sports, career wise or for sleep. My husband and I have terrible sleep habits and I didn’t want to pass this on to our kids. So, I hit up my good friend, Dr. Google, and found Diane. Her website was almost as fabulous as she is. Without a moment’s hesitation, I booked a consultation.
Diane: Did you face some challenges during the process? Was it easy and please be honest!
Mom: Absolutely. Naps were killer. At night my husband and I faced the new routine together with our 13 month old. For naps I was it. Diane was there to support and encourage me every step of the way. Without her, I would have given up. Even on days where my daughter did not nap, I made it through because of Diane’s patience, kindness and words of wisdom.
With our son, nights were tougher than ever before. Diane prepared us well with his new routine and anticipated every challenge we would face. Each day she helped us resolve the challenge, and reaffirmed we were taking the right steps to move forward.
Diane: Please describe what sleep for your children looks like now. Are they happy going to bed and waking up in the morning?
Mom: Our 13 month old (now 17 months) is a joy to put to sleep. Her grandparents regularly put her down for nap. She loves her routine, and goes to bed in her crib all smiles and waves us goodnight. We greet her at 6:30 the next morning after her brother takes her out of her crib. She wakes up babbling happily and then calls for him. She even gives him a kiss when he takes her out of her crib. Cuteness overload!!
Our son challenges us lots. He is seven now, and the challenges are typical at this age. The predictability has helped him anticipate what is next in the evening. He knows when reading happens and that he will get cuddles with Mum. This has given him security. I am now able to leave his room. He is asleep within 20 minutes and wakes up happy (for the most part) at 6:30 in the morning.
Diane: I always tell families that improving sleep for their child goes far beyond sleeping through the night. What changes have you noticed since sleep has improved for your family?
Mom: It has removed a lot of tension for the four of us at bedtime. Hubby and I have our bed back and have time to talk to each other after the kids are asleep. The kids’ sleep routines gave the adults predictability too. The battles with our son are fewer. Hubby and I even have a weekly date night! The routines have been invaluable for our babysitter too. The routine can easily be taught to others who care for our kids from time to time.
Diane: Every parent has valid questions when it comes to implementing a sleep plan for their child. Is there any advice that you would share with a parent who is struggling with sleep for their child and family?
Mom: Most parents plan on giving the gift of education to their kids. It takes planning and diligence to save for such an important part of your kids’ lives. Sleep is no different. It is a wonderful gift you can give your kids now that will last their lifetime AND make the education investment all the more profitable. Sleep is something you can give your kids (and yourself) now. All you have to do is call Diane. What are you waiting for?
If you can relate to this family’s experience and want to find out how I can help, connect with me for a free 15-minute call. I would love to chat and learn more about sleep for your little one and your family.
Do you ever feel like your home circulates between one virus after the other? Having young children can leave parents and little ones battling any combination of sore throats, stomach bugs and the sniffles. Sleep is such a powerful tool with amazing immune boosting benefits which is why it is important to optimize sleep as much as possible during illness. Following these tips will ensure that children are feeling better as quickly as possible.
Get more sleep.
When children are run down and sick, their sleep needs increase. Earlier bedtimes are necessary – even five or six o’clock is not too early, especially if they are running a fever – their body needs it and they will wake-up at their usual morning time or perhaps sleep in to fight off the illness. The body is incredibly smart and signals what it needs to recover.
Providing older children with a daytime nap is also helpful. As a mom to an active five year old, understand how there can sometimes be a struggle with encouraging children who no longer nap, to take one. Make sure children understand the importance of sleep and how it helps them recover more quickly. They will be able to participate in fun activities, feel more energetic and get rid of the sick symptoms more quickly if they listen to how their body – it is telling them to sleep in order to get better. Explaining it to them in simple terms, and always educating children on why sleep is important is key!
Keep them comfortable.
Being sick includes a number of ways that contribute to children feeling uncomfortable – a stuffy nose, bad cough, chest congestion or a stomach ache are just a few. Not to mention how these symptoms only worsen at night, it is important to provide reassurance and support and to make the environment as comfortable as possible.
If children have a fever, a bath is extremely helpful to bring the temperature down and to help them feel more relaxed for sleep.
Make sure that babies have comfortable pajamas and a sleep sack that isn’t going to become too warm during the night. For older children in a bed, provide them with blankets that they can easily pull on or off during the night.
If you do not have one, invest in a dehumidifier for each child (it is likely that they will be sick at the same time). I recommend a cool mist one, as they are safer. This helps with the flow of air in the room, and helps alleviate a bad cough, sore throat or stuffy nose.
If you are comfortable with doing so, providing age appropriate medicine is extremely helpful temporarily when children are feeling at their worst. There are some excellent homeopathic options on the market as well. It is always important to consult your pediatrician or family doctor to find out what they recommend.
Keep sleep in a familiar environment.
If children normally sleep independently in a crib or bed, this is not the time to have them sleep in a new space, such as the parent’s bed. It is always best to move to the sleep environment where they are going to have the best quality sleep. For example, place a mattress on the floor and be with them so that they can sleep where they will receive the best rest – this will speed up their recovery process and parents are still available should they need them during the night.
Trust your intuition.
Sometimes children need a bit of help on the road to getting well. It was not long ago that we had to make a trip to the hospital for our two and a half year old son who had a severe case of croup. Never question your intuition. Sickness can sometimes be more serious and if that is the case, a visit to the family doctor or using one of these resources to help get little ones get better more quickly may be necessary.