Getting the little darling to sleep
I am no hero. I failed miserably to crack the sleeping routine. As a Mum I modelled myself as a martyr over the 4 years of disrupted nights. But I have learnt it can be different. When I was asked by a young Mum for tips I had to talk to other young Mums and a wonder Nan I know who solved the problem for her daughter. The message was ‘Be persistent, you do not have to leave them to cry all night, there is a way and it will work’ .
My advisors had children aged 9 months to nearly 3 years, all with troublesome sleep patterns.
- For the talker, introduce before bedtime they will have to stay in their own bed and not share the parents’ bed anymore.
- Get the parent who is least involved in night time management to take this on or even bring in Nan to help out for 2 /3 nights.
- How about parents take a few nights away and leave Nan to it if they think that would work. Or try this when you have a few days off work if there is no-one else able to help.
- It is all about gently breaking a pattern and introducing a new one.
- Ensure a good consistent reliable bedtime routine. For our boys it is –tea with stories- bath with songs-calming nursery rhymes on TV – teeth clean- bed. Others do stories at bedtime. Others do not have TV at all. Being the same every night is key.Children like predictability.
- The route to bed may be a carry or a walk with chatter – the last chatter of the day
- Put on the lighting you have always used…don’t introduce other changes at the same time.
Sleep routine starts
- Into bed, kiss good night, hug. The boys require a ‘squeezy one’. Then Nan leaves the room and shuts the door or puts on the safety gate. NO chatter. No answering questions.
- If crying starts leave for a few moments ( up to 10) , re-enter, no eye to eye contact. For an older child you can say ‘ go to sleep’ and leave. If a small baby no words just a brief cuddle and leave
- Keep repeating Number 9 and only touch if you really have to do so. Never change the new pattern.
- Remember there may be a late dirty nappy or a tooth coming so do look for other causes if needed. It is not a good idea to try this is a child is ailing.
- The advice was clear DO NOT GIVE IN, NOT EVEN ONCE and DO NOT LOSE YOUR TEMPER that will just raise tension and stress the child.
The Nan message
I heard from those who know that it ‘ Worked after 3 days of gradual acceptance that her parents were not going to make sleep more interesting or get baby up or take them to their own bed’.
A support may be needed
There are some other aspects to consider. If you have a comforter /dummy for baby at bedtime the cry may be related to loss of the comforter and expecting an adult to replace it. The sleep plan may be the time to drop the dummy too but it may also be the opposite. You can think about a dummy rabbit to enable the child to find their dummy without help. Sleepytot.co.uk sell this and have other sleep related advice. Good luck
Lastly is the baby simply getting too much sleep over the day. Check out ‘sleep averages’ and you may be surprised.
Read the above and have faith, you can do it.