As you approach the end of September, it is normal to feel tired! It has been close to a month since your summer holiday season has ended. There are new routines that have begun since Labour Day, with the beginning of extracurricular activities, back-to-school and day-care. Fall is the time that you might be craving a little bit more sleep so that you are better equipped to deal with the busier days ahead – BUT is your child prepared? If your child has not yet gotten back into the groove of his regular sleep routine, now is the time!
Here are four great sleep tips to get you and your child back on track with sleep so that he can feel more energetic, focused for learning new skills, and be healthy – after all, sleep is the best medicine!
Educate About Healthy Sleep
Starting to teach our children about the benefits of sleep now is key! We easily speak with them about healthy eating, drinking lots of water, and exercising. Sleep is incredibly important for their well-being too. Discuss how sleep will allow them to play a favourite sport better, learn how to play a favourite instrument, and be more creative with art. Providing examples of the consequences when parents do not get enough sleep is also helpful. Perhaps our mood or patience levels change or we are more likely to get sick. This helps them to understand the benefits of sleep and reasons why they will want to reach their sleep goals. Understanding why is incredibly important!
One-on-One Time Before Bed
Include undistracted time with children after dinner time and before the bedtime routine begins. Eliminate all electronics, television, cleaning supper dishes and instead, spend time together. This creates time for families to slow down and see one another at the end of a busy day. Even just 15 minutes every day can make a big difference in eliminating stress and impatience at bedtime, creating a calmer, more relaxing bedtime routine and sounder sleep throughout the night.
Plan Your Week as Much as Possible
The more organized we are going into each week, the less time it will take to get ready in the morning. Being prepared for the next day allows us to feel less stressed at bedtime and get more hours of night time sleep, helping parents and children feel more rested!
Use the following strategies to help you plan for the next day
Determine a time that bedtime needs to happen so that children are getting the proper amount of sleep for their age (9 to 12 hours for children under the age of 10 years old).
- Use bedtime and morning routine charts that your children can easily follow.
- Spend 10 minutes on the weekend planning weeknight meals.
- Plan outfits for the week while folding and putting away laundry.
- Pack bags the night before for day-care, school and work.
- Have a family calendar hanging where everyone can see it.
Lead by Example
By showing children that we are prioritizing our own sleep needs, we help them want to do it for themselves also.
I have realized that many adults too are suffering with poor quality sleep. If parents are struggling with their own sleep goals, speaking openly to children about their sleep challenges and what they are planning to do to make improvements will help. This allows parents and children to make positive changes together. Remember, children are always learning by example through their parents. Some examples of how you can make healthy changes to your own sleep patterns are:
- Shutting down electronics an hour before bedtime.
- Creating a bedtime routine for yourself each night.
- Honouring your own bedtime hour (the ideal time for adults to go to bed is 10:00 p.m., waking at 6:00 a.m.)
Remember to stay on top of healthy sleep for you and your child! Everyone in your family will benefit.
Looking for more help with sleep for your children? Follow Sound Of Sleep on Facebook or schedule a free consultation here to chat more about your own child’s sleep!
With the last long weekend of summer coming soon, the countdown is on for back-to-school! To ensure that our children feel rested and at their best when the bell rings on the first day, it is important to make sure that they are receiving the proper amount of good quality sleep.
If summer time took your children way off track with their sleep schedules (ie. they are sleeping until noon but are no where near the teenage years yet!) here are my essential sleep tips for getting sleep back on track, starting tonight.
Start an early bedtime now.
There is no time like the present to get your children into an early bedtime routine before the first day of class. Start now – make sure that children are going to sleep no later than 8:00 p.m. so that they can get 9-11 hours of much needed sleep! Children will go through 5 sleep cycles, 5-6 times per night and each one is essential to help them focus, be creative, solve problems and be in a good mood at school. Not getting enough night time sleep means being forgetful, grumpy, impatient and can cause difficulty listening to teachers. For children that are in their first or second year of Kindergarten (as young as 3 or 4 years of age in Ontario), be prepared for overtiredness. If they are showing signs of fatigue, such as having more melt downs than usual, then moving bedtime earlier by even just 15 minutes can help them become more rested.
Use bedtime/morning routine charts.
Bedtime routine charts are an excellent tool to help re-establish that bedtime routine that may have been lacking or non-existent during the more flexible days of summer vacation. Creating one with children is easy by talking about the different steps in their routine, using clip art for a visual and posting it in their bedroom.
Morning routine charts are also an extremely useful tool to help with getting back in the groove for busier mornings. Having a list for children with important steps like, brushing teeth, getting dressed, and packing their lunch will eliminate frustration and that rushed feeling before heading out the door. Having a chart is both a fun checklist that children enjoy using each morning and a mental checklist for parents to refer to as well!
Implement school wake-up time.
In order to set children up for success on the first day of school, begin implementing the morning wake-up time now. If children are still sleeping in later than they will on a school day, then it is time to push bedtime even earlier. Getting enough sleep means waking up easily on their own and feeling rested without an alarm or wake-up call from parents.
Completing as many tasks as possible before school mornings is crucial to help the morning flow more easily. Decide on school-safe snacks to keep handy in the pantry along with grab and go fruits and vegetables, label all clothing and shoes before the first day, and select 5 days of school outfits with your child on Sunday night. Making a list of simple and nutritious dinners such as pasta, vegetables, and a protein or a taco night will minimize the after school dinner rush too. Decide on the weekend and refer to your list each morning!
Parent’s sleep needs.
Taking care of our own sleep needs as parents is essential to enjoying and succeeding in the awesome role of raising children. Be kind to yourself and make sure that you are getting 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep too. Turn off all electronics at least 1 hour before bedtime, and create your own bedtime routine to help yourself stay on track with sleep, along with your child, during the busy and fun back-to-school season!
Looking for more help with sleep for your children? Follow Sound Of Sleep on Facebook or schedule a free consultation here to chat more about your own child’s sleep!
Who doesn’t love summer with barbecues, the beach and holidays?? There is so much to enjoy and look forward to. But with little ones who thrive on sleep routines, it can really throw a wrench into those carefree summer days.
Who wants to mess with nap times or bedtime? Certainly not this Sleep Consultant or many of my clients who are now track. As a wife and mom myself who loves routine and in working with families, I have learned that there is a balance that needs to be considered concerning bedtimes and families having fun together. Here are my top tips to help keep your child’s sleep routine on track while enjoying some much needed flexibility.
1. Plan ahead
If you have a family holiday or weekend event planned when your child will be out past his bedtime, be prepared and plan ahead! Look at your summer schedule a month, as well as a week, in advance. Decide which events and outings will likely happen and plan strategies that will make this more manageable.
- Make sure that your child is well rested beforehand by planning less exhausting days with built in rest periods and “downtime”.
- If your child’s bedtime is going to be much later than usual, consider asking if there would be a separate room or space for your child to sleep while you visit. Bring the “pack and play” and a sound machine (if used at home) to help your child fall asleep with some familiar pieces. Plan ahead and bring the necessary and reassuring items from home.
- Use room darkening shades. Gro blinds are a wonderful product that you can bring with you and set up anywhere to create a perfect environment for sleep!
As we know, consistency is important as it gives structure and reassurance to kids. Some tips to perhaps keep in mind.
- Do not put your child to bed later than 30 minutes past his bedtime. If you are staying out very late, plan a place where he can sleep.
- Replicate the bedtime routine or at least most of it. This is a strong cue to your child that it is time to wind down and prepare for sleep.
3. Get Back on Track
Summer is a season when families can quickly and easily get derailed with maintaining a solid sleep routine. When you are back from vacationing and returning to more regular days at home, it is important to return to your tried and true sleep routines. You may need to put your little one to bed 30 minutes earlier for a week following a very busy holiday so that everyone (yes, parents may also need an early bedtime!) can get caught up on much needed sleep!
4. Enjoy the Flexibility of Summer
Summer days come and go so quickly. Soon we will be rushing back to our usual routines in the fall. So make it a priority and enjoy this very special time!
Set up a complimentary 15 minute call with Diane for more solutions for your child’s sleep!
“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.