Holidays

How to get back to your families’ sleep routine after a sickness or other interruption?

 It’s so hard having sick kids but you will get your independent sleeper back.

It’s so hard having sick kids but you will get your independent sleeper back.

You have worked so hard at making sure you have a great family sleep routine, perfect sleep environment and finally figured out your kid's sleep. Once everything is in place you get hit with - a cold or flu hits your family. (This could also be vaccines, unexpected late nights or travel) We've all been there.

No one is sleeping well. You are busy caring for your kids, and you might be fighting the same cold, or up worried.

My rules for sick kids or other sleep interruption - try and relax, do what you need to allow you to protect your kid's sleep and get them to sleep. Techniques can include extra cuddles, naps, extra drinks in the middle of the night or even crawling into bed with you.  I always tell parents to fill your kids with love and let your gut lead you.

Remember it can only take as little as three repeated reactions to create a new habit for your child. It could be that you go in and check extra times at bedtime with your 3-year-old or you go back to nursing your 6-month-old at every night waking.  (I've done both more than once) or your 18 month old is sleeping in your bed. Either way, they were sleeping through the night or at least sleeping independently.

Once everyone is feeling better it’s time to get back to our normal sleep patterns but HOW?

Look at how you got them to sleep independently the first time.  Whatever method you used that will be your starting point.

It could be using the chair method, check and console or "good night/good morning" (what I like to call extinction). Regardless of the method, it's time to retrain your child.  Don't panic. Your child learned to sleep once so they will sleep independently again.

It won't necessarily be easy, but they will remember what to do. You need to bring out the sleep plans, start being consistent and predictable with an early bedtime, and use your sleep cues and routines.  You can do this.

I like to modify when possible shortening the method. Instead of making a change every three days start making one every 1 or 2 days.  As soon as you begin to see improvements run with it.

If you used the chair method, you might start by moving the chair every day.

If you used 'check and console' skip to checks every 10 minutes.

If you used extinction/ 'goodnight/good morning' jump right in.

Remind yourself that they did this before, you did this before, and you will all  get back on track quickly. The longer you were off your routine, the longer it will take to get back.

Until you are back to your regular schedule.  Try an extra early bedtime and give yourself a break.  It will be worth the hard work when everyone is sleeping better again.  

If you have fallen off your sleep routines and need help getting back to your happy place get in touch.

Happy Sleep

Alison

 Mom’s get sick too - take care of yourself

Mom’s get sick too - take care of yourself

Parents remember after a cold or flu has made a pass through your house it is also important you get extra sleep. Try adding a nap and/or an early bedtime will help you recover a little faster.

Making Halloween Fun While Protecting Our Kids Sleep

I will be the first to admin, I didn’t love Halloween until my kids were old enough to get me excited about this holiday. I now happily participate! Watching the joy in my girls eye makes me love all of it.

I have slowly started to participate more and more every year but never not wanted to jeopardize my girls sleep. We have started early, done the baby in a carrier jaunt and now just enjoy the excitement and get back to schedule the next day. I always try to remember it’s only one night.

Last night I event took my girls for a drive at bedtime to see all the spooky lights. Who am I?

My top tips for balancing sleep and this spooky holiday

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  1. Plan ahead. Talk about the the evening and bedtime. For toddlers and preschoolers they like to know what to expect.

  2. EXCITEMENT - if your kids are anything like my kids they are very excited for halloween. Find fun ways to embrace the holiday while sticking to your sleep routines. Include bedtime themed books, make up stories, crafts, colouring sheets and games. One of my favourites is to practise trick or treating…great fun but also a great opportunity to work on manners and behaviour.

  3. Halloween Fear - during the days leading up to halloween or even while trick or treating your child might see or hear something that is scary. Bedtime is often when these memories come back and scare us or our children. When your child does wake up scare or worried - the best plan is to show your child empathy no matter how irrational it seems to you. Talking it through will show you care but can also help them work through it. If the issue is a scary movie or character maybe look for a better movie or tv show.

  4. Scaredy cats- is your child a little too young or nervous about the whole idea of halloween? Look for alternative places to show off costumes such as Nursing homes, malls and even community events as less scared ways to celebrate. If you live in Calgary please check out too cute to spook.

  5. Afternoon nap or quiet time - give your kids the opportunity to nap or have quiet time in the afternoon and make it a little longer as you can expect the excitement and sugar will likely make bedtime a little later.

  6. Have your children leave out pyjamas and bedtime story before you leave the house.

  7. I know it’s hard to limit candy on halloween but the associations between sleep and candy are real. A scientific study concluded that ”Sugar intake is associated with lighter, less restorative sleep with more arousals.” I will give my children one or two to try before we start trick or treating but only after a healthy dinner.

  8. Once you get home turn out the light and bring in the candy. This will limit the number of interruptions you will have during your bedtime routine. Most people respect the no lights or pumpkin rule.

  9. Use your sleep tools - white noise to reduce the outside noise, dark room, bedtime sleep cues - stories, songs and kisses. These are things that help your kids get into the mood for sleep.

  10. Relax - remember this is one night and you can get back on track the next day. Enjoy and make some new memories.

Halloween is lots of fun but making family memories is sometimes as important as a good night's sleep.  I’m always happy to talk you through any concerns.

Happy Sleep

Alison

As always please email me alison@cheekysleeper.com and I am more than happy to help you find the right sleep solution and support to help your family get a better nights sleep.

10 Holiday Sleep tips for you and your family.

I had a great plan to post this a week ago... This is when being a mom and a business owner is hard. The worst flu, that has ever been through our little house. The girls are both better but as I sit here posting this, I have an awful sore throat, the chills and am counting the moments before I can crawl into bed. Enjoy these holiday sleep tips:

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  1. Involve others. My kids love nothing more than having a favorite Uncle, Cousin or friend puts them to bed or help give them a bath. This will be a treat for your children and give you a night off.
  2. Think twice if you make huge changes in your children's routines, bedtimes and even toilet training. You might have the time off for the short term, but to see long-term success consistency is needed.
  3. Quiet time - on those busy days, everyone will need some down time. For younger ones, this might be a nap or a quiet snuggle. For older, maybe reading a new book. Take time to recharge.
  4. Protect your Child's sleep as much as possible. Being late because your child needs to finish their nap is a great reason for being late. 5.Benefits are twofold...your child will be happy with reduced chance of a meltdown and you can stay longer if you’re having fun. Put your child down ready to go out so all you have to do when they wake up go to the party. If you are traveling try leaving slightly earlier (30 minutes) and f you arrive early you can sit in the car while your child finishes their nap.
  5. Maintain consistent bedtimes. Try to keep bedtime consistent as much as possible. If a nap has been skipped try an earlier bedtime.
  6. Travelling- take your sleep environment with you. Pillow, noise machine, favourite story, night light if needed and anything else you think would help your child feel comfortable sleeping away from their bed.
  7. Try to plan a quiet couple of days after a busy day. This will allow some time to get back on schedule before the next event.
  8. Play host. If you are invited out for a drink ask if they would instead like to come to you.
  9. Watching the magic of the holidays with your kids is amazing and less is sometimes more. They might have fun at one party, but 10-holiday parties might be a little too much. Get a babysitter or kindly decline.
  10. Start some new holiday traditions for your family such as a pajama car ride to see the Christmas lights or new book for bedtime stories every night of advent or even a toy or game to do as a family on a quiet day.

A well-rested child is a blessing and helps to reduce the number meltdowns. If sleep gets interrupted not to fear. A couple of days back home on your Child's normal routine will help them reset their internal sleep clocks.

I am wishing you a very merry holiday season full of fun and happiness. If you do need help getting a better sleep routine, please contact me, I'd love to help.

xx Alison