Spring Time Change - How to Survive!

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Spring isn’t apparent yet in Calgary. We just got another 18 cm of snow this past week on top of the 40 plus centimetres we got in February. I’m starting to wonder if I will ever see my garden again. I long for the carefree days of spring, no boots, coats, hat or mitts as I am sure you are as well.

But not to worry, signs that spring is coming are in the air. Spring officially starts March 20, 2018, we are starting to have warmer spells and are seeing snow starting to melt… Oh and every parent's favourite the spring time change March 11, 2018.

But take a deep breath. This may sound a little scary but it’s not too late to start to prepare your family. Keeping your family well rested is the best place to start.

Work with your partner and come up with a plan. Will you start to adjust your families’ body clock slowly starting on Wednesday or go cold turkey on Sunday morning? Either can work for your family but being prepared with a plan will allow you to more easily make the adjustments.

Most kids will take approximately a week to reset their body clocks. I would not suggest starting sleep training this week or make any other big changes in their life until they have made the adjustment.

Use what you have that works well for you. Use the same sleep cues and routines you already have in place.

  1. Snack and meal times are great clues for your child's internal body clock.

  2. Bedtime and nap routines - keep these routines in place. 

  3. Keep your sleep location consistent.

  4. Keep the sleep location dark. This is a great time to have blackout blinds. They were one of the best investments we ever made for our kids bedroom windows. Alternatively you can also use black garbage bags, cardboard and painters tape.

  5. An ‘okay to wake clock’ will also be a help to preschoolers and toddlers. They are a visual cue for them that it’s time to wake up.

  6. An early bedtime will also help make up for any lost sleep after the time change.

  7. Get outside. Sunlight will help reset your child's internal body clock. Okay yeah it's cold here but a short walk or open windows will also help .

If you want to start to prepare your child earlier start adjusting bedtime on the Wednesday before the time change by advancing bedtime 15 minutes earlier each night until the time change.  Try offering an extra few minutes in the bath or an extra story or song.

Wednesday Bedtime 7:15pm

Thursday Bedtime 7:30 pm

Friday Bedtime 7:45 pm

Saturday Bedtime 8:00 pm

Sunday Bedtime 7:pm

*Remember if you are moving bedtime you will need to adjust all naps as well.

This can be a rocky few weeks but having a plan for early waking and skipped naps will allow easier transition as you have support in decision making.

Happy Sleep

Alison xx

PS. I’m trained to help if you have trouble with this adjustment or any other sleep issues. I’m always available to set up a free 15 minute sleep consult. Contact me today.

 

 

 

Newborn Sleep Tips

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     You are a new parent and are having trouble with sleep. Your not alone, sleepless nights in the first few months are normal but there are a few ways you can help create a better routine for your baby. I don’t generally start working with families until their little one is at least 4 months (adjusted). This is when babies will start to string sleep cycles together as weight gain has been established and risk of SIDS has started to reduce.

Here are some Tips:

  • Work on Healthy Sleep Habits
  • Keep wake times short those under 4 months …. (45 minutes to 1.15 hours) 
  • Put baby to sleep awake but drowsy
  • Try to limit the feeding to sleep. Move the last feeding before bedtime to earlier in the bedtime routine. 
  • Create short routines throughout the day. Wake, eat, play. This creates a pattern that you will find easy to reproduce over and over again.
  • Around 2 months start to create “day and night distinction".
    • Day (7 am - 7 pm) happy cheerful voice, lots of light, change to daytime outfit (this can just be clean Pj’s)
    • Night (7 pm - 7 am) calm, dark, quiet.
  • Start a short soothing bedtime/nap time routine. This is more for the parents at this  stage but helps create the relaxed environment conducive to sleep.
  • Asking for help at night is okay. Split the night and take shifts. You wake to feed and your partner deals with the other waking but do what works for your family.
  • New borns will typically sleep 16 - 17 hours in a 24 hour period.

It’s really hard with young babies not to compare your child's sleep with others the same age, live your reality and don't feel unnecessary pressure to get your baby to sleep through the night.  Once your baby reaches 4 - 6 months they should be able to get 8-12 hours stretches. Sleep is a really big deal for most new parents. Take the time and ask for help when you feel ready.  

I'm always happy to help 

Happy Sleep

Alison

 

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

How to Ease Children into the Fall Time Change

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November 5, 2017 at 2:00am, is the end of daylight savings and the joyous day of the year that you get an next hour of sleep…. Do you remember those days? They are a distant memory … Just like sleep, sleeping past 7am on the weekend for me.

The time change happens twice a year. If not prepared it can mess with everyone's sleep, especially childrens. We work so hard to get our children good quality sleep (night time and naps) along with a good routines. Changing sleep patterns, even by an hour can create challenges for your children.  

Adults usually take 1 day per hour of change while children can take a couple of weeks.  Even if it takes that long remember you will slowly get back into the routine.

The time change affects much more than just sleep. Our internal clocks take a few days to make the adjustments because our bodies are so complex. Sleep has a role in appetite, drive for rest, moods, emotions, immune system, stress, memory, learning and the list goes on.

#1 - Be prepared -understanding the complexity of sleep and creating a plan to systematically guide your children through this time change will help everyone. It will take a little work, but once they adjust they will be back to normal sleep patterns.

#2 - Learn from our children's past (if applicable) -  How have your kids adjusted to time changes? Have you tried to handle it cold turkey and run into problems? Have you had success with a gradual transition? If something has worked for your child this is a great starting point.  Building on your past experiences can help you create a plan for this year.

#3 - Use your current routine Your current sleep routine provides sleep cues for your children and helps them know it’s time to relax and sleep. Continue to use what they know and understand.

#4 - Give yourself time to make the time change adjustment A week to 3 days will help to make the change gradually and thus have less of an impact on your day to day life. See the examples at the end of this post.

#5 - Everyone is different Every child is different. Some kids are hardly bothered by the time change while other kids can be thrown for days. Try not to plan very busy days or important activities. Relax and let them adjust.  Follow your kids’ lead and watch for the sleep signs. (extra cranky and rubbing eyes).

#6 - Have a plan Just like sleep training by having a plan you have an increased chance of staying on track. You know what to expect with early wakings and when naps should be each day. Being organized really helps everyone adjust to make this a straightforward transition.

Conclusion
Be prepared, have a plan, start early, relax and continue to believe that you will get through the transition.

If you miss the boat entirely and all hell breaks loose for your family you can slowly adjust bedtimes after the time change.  The time change can be hard on everyone.

I’m always here to help. Feel free to leave a question on my Facebook page @cheekysleeper or email me at alison@cheekysleeper.com

xx Alison
 

Gradual bedtimes the week leading up to a time change to allow for a gradual introduction of adjusting bedtime.

Sunday Bedtime : 7:00 pm
Monday Bedtime : 6:50 pm
Tuesday Bedtime : 6:40 pm
Wednesday Bedtime : 6:30 pm
Thursday Bedtime : 6:20 pm
Friday Bedtime : 6:10 pm
Saturday Bedtime : 6:00 pm
Sunday Bedtime : 7:00 pm

*All naps and wake ups should be adjust approximately 10 minutes.
** If you start on Wednesday adjust 15 minutes a day for both naps and bedtime