Diane Dauphinais writes about how Sound of Sleep consulting will help your family with sleep training advice.
“Suddenly my child is waking several times a night?”
“My baby has started protesting at bedtime!”
“He looks tired but he refuses to nap now.”
Do you have a child that used to sleep perfectly, but for reasons unknown to you he seems to have hit the 4 month, or 18 month or 2 year old sleep regression (ever notice that every age group gets labeled with the word “regression” behind it)?
Obviously, you are not alone in dealing with a sleep regression—trust me or I would not be writing about it! Sleep regressions are unfortunately normal, even for the children of a sleep consultant. Yes, I know what you may be thinking, but it does happen with my own kids too!
Sleep regression is normal, but knowing how to deal with it gets sleep right back on track. ← Tweet this
Here are the 3 top signs to look for if you are wondering if your child is experiencing a regression, and answers to help get their sleep back on track.
He needs lots of help to fall back to sleep.
Perhaps your little one used to blissfully fall asleep once his bedtime routine was complete. You could give him a cuddle and a kiss goodnight and he’d be off to dreamland, but for some reason now you need to rock him endlessly, try to feed him, or give him a pacifier, trying for a lengthy amount of time to help him fall asleep. This may show up just at bedtime or it could happen during a night time wake up.
Always make sure that your child is put in his crib or bed awake at bedtime so that he is able to fall back to sleep on his own. If he becomes dependent on an external item (“sleep prop”) such as feeding to help him fall asleep, it is likely becoming a habit at some point.
By falling asleep awake, he will develop the skill to self-soothe to sleep. Keep in mind that there are a variety of ways that you can support your child in falling asleep without the use of a sleep prop! It is best to find a method that works best for you, your family and, most importantly, your child.
Sleep trouble without signs of illness.
I can still remember my son waking for three consecutive nights every few hours well past after he had been sleeping great for months! He did have a bit of a cold and a few ear infections that winter so I was certain that this was the culprit of the wake ups. I quickly found out that nothing was wrong. What? How did I miss this? You can imagine what was going through my mind – this is WHAT I DO. So with no signs of illness and no signs of teething, I had to support him with getting back on track with his sleep and since he had great sleep habits already, it only took a few nights!
If you ever have any questions or concerns about your child’s health, always get it checked out by your Doctor or Pediatrician. It is always best to be sure and you can always get the good sleep habits back on track.
Poor sleep habits have become the new norm.
Have you been suffering for weeks, months or years? Is the last time your child slept well through the night a distant memory? This is when it is always so important to check-in. Very often I find that parents understand what is causing the sleep regression to occur but they are at a loss for how to get things back on track.
There are a couple of things that I know for sure. First, children can begin to sleep well again by implementing good sleep habits even if it has been a long time—they CAN overcome a sleep regression and it is never too late.
It’s never too late to improve your child’s sleep habits. ← Tweet this
The first step is recognizing that the current sleep habits are no longer working well to provide your child or you with the proper rest that you need and then doing something about it. This usually means getting back to basics by implementing a solid bedtime routine every night, making sure that your child is not dependent on sleep props, and realizing that the benefits of having a child that is well rested is incredibly valuable to their overall health!
P.S. If you have a child that needs some help with sleep, you can always set up a free 15-minute call with me.
My passion for sleep began once I became a mom.
When my daughter was born, she began sleeping through the night at 10 weeks of age. When I say “sleep through the night” I mean that she slept for 11 + hours without crying-it-out. We worked diligently on her sleep routines, and she caught on at a very young age.
Fast forward 2 & 1/2 years later, and our second child was born. With a busy toddler and a new infant in the home, we were just not able to put in the effort and consistency needed to help our son. Plans fell to the wayside! I was obsessed every night with sleep – how much was I going to get, was tonight going to be a good night or a bad night, and on and on it went.
Then, the sad realization that our son’s sleep habits were getting worse—much worse! After yet another sleep deprived night, I almost had a terrible car accident with the two children in the car. Yikes! We then decided it was definitely time to take action and contacted a Sleep Consultant.
It was the best decision we ever made for our family.
After this incredibly successful experience, I made the decision to become a Professional Pediatric Sleep Consultant and have witnessed families rise above the exhaustion, or as one of my clients described it as being “a walking zombie”. Having been the sleep deprived, blurry eyed, caffeine addicted mother of two, I want to share with you some ideas that I wish I had known before I “hit rock bottom” and asked for help.
Sleep training is easy.
Now don’t get me wrong when I say it’s easy. There was no magic wand that put our son to sleep. What we did have was a plan that took out all the guesswork as well as helping us to understand why sleep was going so poorly. Being knowledgeable about your baby’s sleep is a huge part of working one-on-one with a Consultant. I just looked back at my son’s sleep logs, and saw that I had written “This is amazing. We are helping him learn how to sleep.”
On day one of working with our Consultant, our son fell asleep independently after crying for seven minutes. Wonderful! There had been a lot more tears when we were trying to do this on our own. My clients often comment that the anticipation of sleep training is worse than the actual process. There are difficult parts for sure, but you can be successful knowing you have an expert Consultant supporting you.
Sleep deprivation hurts way more than sleep training. ← Tweet this
Babies do not “grow out” of poor sleep habits on their own.
When it comes to sleep, there are certainly bad habits that prevent children from learning the skill of falling asleep independently. Many people told me that my son would magically sleep through the night when he was older, but I knew that a healthy 22 lb. baby did not need to eat every two hours throughout the night. The plan initially included his night feedings, but once he had the necessary skills, he fell asleep in minutes at bedtime and happily slept through those feedings. He is going to be three years old soon, and those good sleep habits have continued despite illness, teething, travel, and other usual childhood events.
Becoming a parent does not equal sleep deprivation for life.
Yes, you are a parent, but that in no way means that you have to be exhausted with a child that does not sleep well for months (or years!). We do have to accept that we will be busier and more tired sometimes, but feeling exhausted and at the end of your rope night after night is dangerous. Your health and well-being, and relationships with others are too important to ignore. I remember how thin my patience was wearing with my daughter prior to sleep training. Once my son began sleeping, we immediately had more quality time to spend with her while he napped. My husband and I also had time for each other again in the evenings and knew that we would all be sleeping soundly through the night, every night!
Becoming a parent does not equal sleep deprivation for life! ← Tweet this
If this sounds all to familiar, I would love to hear from you and offer assistance to help end the struggle with sleep in your home. You can set up a free 15 minute call with me here.
The snow is on its way out (hopefully!) and perhaps you are planning a family getaway! Feeling a bit nervous about it all? I get it. We are planning two days away with our two and five year-olds and I can’t wait, but there are a few things that I know need to be in place so that we can all enjoy our time away and keep our patience in tact. Here are my top tips to keep you covered for enjoying your spring time vacation!
Plan, plan, plan!
Part of getting away for vacation is about being flexible, taking a break and having fun. In order to do so, you must plan ahead. If you have a baby, a toddler or pre-schooler this is especially true. Here are some important items that will help make planning easier!
- Make a list. Write out a checklist of what you absolutely need to bring and check each item off as it goes into a suitcase. Bring your list with you so that you can have peace of mind by knowing that each item has been packed before heading back home. This will keep you from forgetting your iPad and preventing a melt down with a stuffy that gets left behind.
- Travelling by plane? Make sure that you have everything you need to feed your baby, plenty of diapers, wipes, and a change of clothes just in case. Try to condense it enough so that you can store it under the seat in front of you and avoid going into the overhead compartment which can be tricky.
- Taking a road trip? A DVD player or child’s favourite story book can be helpful if you are going to be travelling by car with a child between the ages of two and five years old.
- Healthy snacks. Prepare to have plenty of good healthy snacks on hand, such as homemade trail mix, sandwiches, muffins or your child’s favourite fruit to avoid buying sugar filled or fried food options at the airport or highway stops.
Keep in mind that the odd missed nap or later than usual bedtime isn’t the end of the world, but you do want to schedule important outings ahead of time so that your little one does not miss out on quality sleep each day and night. Otherwise, the overtiredness will be sure to show up at some point, which is not fun for you or your child.
- Travel days will be travel days, so just do the best that you can until you arrive at your destination. If you are going on a plane, the goal is for you and your little one to be comfortable until you arrive – if he decides to take a nap and it isn’t his usual nap time – don’t sweat it. Then, once you reach your destination, follow your child’s nap times and bedtimes as usual.
- Separate sleeping space. Just a few nights of sharing a bed with your child when he is not used to sleeping with you can lead to a habit that might become challenging to break once you get back home. Hotels usually have cribs available if you ask, or you can bring a pack and play if you are staying at a friend or family member’s home. Plan for a room with a bed for an older child or purchase a travel bed for toddlers/pre-schoolers if you travel a lot.
Make sure to have other important key sleep items on hand:
- A favourite lovey or blanket;
- Sleep sack for babies – Halo has a variety of fabrics and sizes – www.halosleep.com;
- Sound machine to create a familiar background sound and block any noise while baby sleeps; and/or
- Gro blinds to keep the room nice and dark during sleep times.
If you are travelling to a new time zone, the best thing to do is try and get in line with the new time as quickly as possible. Use sunlight to help keep your child awake and darkness to increase melatonin (sleepy hormone). Both are incredibly helpful strategies for resetting your body’s internal clock. The regular daily routines of meal times, bedtime routines, etc. are extremely helpful in cuing your child’s mind and body for what comes next. For example, if nap time happens right after lunch, following this same routine will help your child adjust very quickly to the new time.
Vacations can happen few and far between during the course of the year. Remember to have a wonderful time away with the most important people in your life!
Still need help with getting more sleep for your family? Check out my upcoming online workshop More Sleep For Baby that will have your baby and you sleeping soon!
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.
Here it is! The Sound Of Sleep Christmas Sleep Guide!
I have created a Sleep Guide – just for you – so that you can help your little one sleep a little more soundly as we approach 2017. This guide is a mix of my favourite products and must-do sleep strategies for any child. By the way there is a VERY SPECIAL GIVEAWAY included in this list that may just get you and your child closer to a full night of sleep very soon!
Make it early
When you are determining an appropriate bedtime for your child, make sure that it is early, especially if he is extremely fussy or has frequent melt downs. Bedtime needs to happen between the hours of 6:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. Why? There are a few good reasons.
- Your child needs 11-13 hours of consolidated night time sleep every night up until the age of 10.
- An early bedtime is essential for your child to feel happy, healthy and energetic throughout the day.
- Getting enough night time sleep helps brain development and growth in babies and keeps older children feeling focused and at their best all day long.
- A late bedtime leads to disruptive sleep patterns and frequent wake-ups throughout the night, leaving your little one feeling exhausted the next day.
To make bedtime earlier, you may need to move an activity to the weekend or get home a bit earlier to have your little one in bed at an appropriate time. And don’t forget the bonus of getting your child to bed by 8:00 p.m. – a couple of hours in the evening to have for yourselves!
Give your angel a HALO
To keep your little one cozy all night long put them in a sleep sack. I absolutely adore the HALO company. They supply sleep sacks that come in a variety of styles and fabrics and help to keep your baby safe and warm, eliminating the worry of loose blankets in bed or toddlers leaping over crib rails. Find a sleep sack for every child:
- For newborns the Swaddle is best and you can keep hands in or out before they begin to roll.
- Toddlers have freedom with their feet out by using the Early Walkers .
- There is even one for Big Kids in a bed!
To have peace of mind and know that your child is tucked in comfortably for the night, these wearable blankets are a worthwhile purchase.
If your child is dependent on the use of an external item to help him fall asleep, then it will prevent him from developing an internal self-soothing strategy on his own. Some of the most common sleep props include falling asleep in one of the following ways:
- Feeding by bottle or breast.
- Motion (rocking, going for a car ride, bouncing).
- Needing a parent to lay with him to fall asleep.
When I meet a family struggling with their child going to bed or waking frequently, a prop is always present. Once we eliminate the prop, the child is able to sleep well and independently on his own.
Parents can compare this to how they fall asleep at night. We close our eyes and within 15-20 minutes we quickly enter into a peaceful slumber. We want our children to have this skill as well so that falling asleep is easy and prop-free, allowing for a consolidated and restorative sleep straight through the night!
Teach your child to tell the time
If you have a child over the age of two years old, getting him a clock will help him learn when it is time to wake up and when it is time for sleep. To do this, you have a couple of options:
- Make him familiar with number 7 and then get him a digital clock and cover up the minutes; then when the clock changes to the “magic 7” it is time to wake up!
- One of my favourite products is the Gro Clock. It has a screen that turns blue with stars when it is sleep time, and changes to a yellow sun when it is time to wake up. You can set it for a proper wake-up time in the morning and for naps. Your little one will be excited to let you know that his “sun is up!”
Sometimes you just need a little help
What can you do as a parent when you have tried every tip and trick but find yourself really struggling? It may have been months or even years since you have last experienced a solid 8 hours of sleep without being woken several times in the night. It is true that like everything else, sometimes you just need an expert to help you figure it out. Why?
- A Sleep Consultant can provide you with the support that you need and a clear plan to set you on the straight path to sweet dreams soon!
- We determine the reason why your child is struggling and what needs to be done to resolve it once and for all!
If any of this is resonating with you and you are tired of being tired, then enter to win my special Christmas Giveaway! A Private Sleep Consultation Package with me to help you get on track!
- A Customized Sleep Plan for your child.
- 1-Hour Private Consultation by phone or via Zoom.
- 2-15 minute calls
- Unlimited email support for the first week of implementing your child’s Customized Sleep Plan.
To learn more about the benefits of working with a consultant, read about other families success stories.
Enter your name here for a chance to win! A name will be announced on Thursday, December 15, 2016.
There you have it! My best list of strategies, leading you to a happy and healthy night’s sleep! Best of luck to all of you who entered for your chance to WIN!
Wishing you all a merry and restful Christmas holiday with your families! Sweet dreams for a blessed 2017.