Cheeky Sleeper

Bye Bye Crib - tips for transitioning Crib to a Bed

Preparing your child for the transition from crib to bed is a scary milestone for many parents and a challenge I am working on with my own child at the moment with this very transition.

I am a very big believer in waiting to transition your toddler until they are 2.5- 3 years. Many people start the transition prior to this for many reasons, including welcoming a new child or having a climber. If you are welcoming a new child I highly recommend if you can just get a second crib. Maintaining a safe place to put your older child can be invaluable for the first months after welcoming your new baby. If you have an early climber (like mine) establish a firm rule of “no climbing” to keep this at bay. If this is happening at night this can also be addressed with a silent return. If they continue than for everyones peace of mind making an early transition might be needed.

My youngest “A” is 2.7 months old now. She is mature enough to understand sleep rules. She is an excellent sleeper and clearly ready to proceed to a bed. “A” is toilet trained, is a skilled crib climber and uses the ends like a ladder.

To prepare her for the transition to a bed have started to introduce a ready to wake clock while she is still in her crib.  In addition we will be moving many of her toys and books out of her room. This is two fold. First is to reduce the number of distractions in her room and second to ensure her room is safe for her to roam around in without our watchful eye.t is also recommended to secure closet doors and ensure all furniture is secured to the walls.

Start an open dialogue with your family about sleep rules. Have a family meeting to talk about sleep. What are your family rules.  “Stay in your bed until Mom and Dad get you.” “You  can always get up to use the washroom” “Allow others to sleep.” Explain why sleep is important to everyone. By 2.5 years a child should be able to understand these types of basic rules.

Start to create excitement for your child in growing up. Let them help you by picking out new big kid bedding, help with decor or even a special new lovey to keep them company. Talk about how this is another step in becoming a big kid. Her new bed is close to the ground so I don’t have to worry about huge falls. Alternatively place your mattress on the floor to allow time for your child to become more comfortable with sleeping in a bed not a crib.

As parents you need to be ready for a few rocky days during the transition. Come up with a written approach of how you will deal with night waking, bedtime pop-ups and the early wakings. All of these are normal occurrences. Your child has a new level of freedom and will your limits. Maintain a clear and consistent approach to all these challenges to allow you to quickly deal with any problems. You know I am always here if you need any additional support.

As I enter this new stage of parenting I am preparing. No Cribs and No Diapers. Wow how did this happen so fast!!!!! I admit to feeling apprehensive but am systematically getting ready as she is ready. Wish me luck as I wish you luck. If you need any additional support during this transition or any other please feel free to reach out. I'm happy to help 

xx Alison



Back to School, Back to Bedtime

For parents and kids alike ramping up for back to school could be the most wonderful time of the year.  It’s August and the back to school merchandise has been available for a month. 

Regardless of the age of your child, back to school means a shift from care free days, to the routine days of school. You might have any or all of the following to deal with: early morning wake ups, tired dinner times and/or overtired bedtimes. Please take a minute to read the following helpful strategies to help make the transition back to school a little easier for both you and your children.

Early/Corrected Bedtime

Many parents are apprehensive of initiating early bedtime but it’s not something to be scared of. Keeping your child well rested will help both their academic performance and emotional stability along with a grocery list of other benefits. An earlier bedtime might be a great tool for those first few weeks of school. As your child adjusts to the busier requirements of their school days experts recommend moving bedtime back 10-15 minutes every few days till you find the right balance for your child. Most school aged children 4 years - 10 years old require something in the range of 10-12 hours of consolidated night sleep. If you know when you have to wake up your child you can calculate an appropriate bedtime.  This will mean a 4 year old should be in bed closer to 6:30/7pm with a 6:30/7am wake up.  An 8 or 10 year old might be able to tolerate a slightly later bedtime with the same wake up.

I highly recommend an earlier bedtime during the transition back to school to make sure you keep your household well rested.  As your child adjusts to school you can shift bedtime back 15 minutes every couple of days, until you get to your desired bedtime.  You will be amazed at the difference 15 or 20 minutes can make to your child.

A couple of weeks before school is set to start I would organize your routine to move the summer bedtime back to the school year bedtime. This will allow your children to slowly adjust to the new bedtime. This also means an appropriate wake up as well.

Prepare your house for Sleep by introducing Sleep Cues

  • Turn off all screens an hour before bedtime.

  • Introduce quiet games, puzzles, colouring, reading. Try and limit the rough or active play.

  • Try a Noise Machine that stays on for the night.

  • Darken the bedroom - blackout curtains will help.

  • Aim for a cool sleep environment around 20 degrees celsius.


Establish a short bedtime routine

A bedtime routine should be short and predicable. Bath, PJ's, Teeth, Story and final good night kiss.  This can be any short combination that works for your family. If you are putting multiple kids to bed, either divide and conquer or use quiet activities for your other children. 

Other hints

  • Have a family meeting to work together to come up with strategies for everyone to help with the morning and evening routine.

  • Give your children a choice when you can. Would you like to go to bed at 7 or 7:05 pm? What time should I wake you up 6:30 or 6:35am? Would you like a bath or shower? Which outfit would you like to wear today your blue dress or your red t-shirt?

  • Give your kids the chance to help when you have time.

  • Try and keep weekends on a similar schedule.

  • Use daylight to your advantage and get outside and enjoy fresh air and exercise as much as possible. This will help with your families internal clock reset your internal clock. 

  • Tidy the house and the bedrooms. A tidy bedroom can help your kids have a clear mind for bedtime.

Back to school should be an exciting time for your family but finding the right balance can be a challenge.  It might be contentious but for young kids I would limit extra activities to the weekend. This will allow your child to be well rested so they can excel both at home and school.

Please find a smooth transition back to school and the joy in your kids. Reduce extra anxiety with back to school so please take every day in stride. If you are needing a guiding hand to help preparing for back to school please reach out to me I would love to help with your back to school plan.

Good Luck

Xx Alison

PS Don’t forget your first day of school photos



Summer Sleep Tips!

Summer is upon us here in the northern hemisphere….warmer temperatures, brighter mornings and evenings and no school….so often a less structured timetable.  Here are a few ways to help keep kids on a great routine for the summer holidays.

  1. Make sure you have room darkening curtains/blinds. This not only makes bedtime easier but also keeps your child's room darker in the mornings to reduce the early wakings.

  2. A noise machine - something constant to help drown out the outside noise coming in from the open windows. Those kids playing outside at 8pm and those chirping birds can be pretty loud in the morning.

  3. Bedtime routines - keep up with your bedtime routines. This acts as a reminder that it’s time for sleep.

  4. Structure your day. I like to create  plan for our days… adding a little routine to our mornings, afternoon and evening. Even in summer I make sure my girls are up by 7:30am.

  5. Keep night time clothes minimal - Try a summer sleep sack or light summer Pj’s. Babies have a hard time regulating their own temperature so be careful to keep light bedding. They can’t take off a  blanket when they are too hot.

  6. Be sun and heat smart. Keep your kids out of the sun whenever possible, remember sunblock and to drink lots of water. Keeping kids hydrated in the heat is especially important. Dehydration or an uncomfortable sunburn might make it difficult for your child to sleep.

  7. Don’t skip naps and quiet time.  Giving your child a chance each day to recharge and rest will also help create a better day. Summer can bring increased activities and thus recharging mid-day is so important. This will help you keep your schedule (#4).

  8. The most important message is to enjoy the time with your kids. Summer is to be memorable. Go somewhere new with your kids and remember how much fun summer vacation was when you were little.


If you are needing help to navigate summer sleep please contact me at as i’d love to help you.

xx Alison



What Happens During Sleep?


When I was studying to become to become a Paediatric Sleep Consultant I was blessed to virtually meet  a group of smart, fantastic, supportive, funny women. One of these women has written this excellent, educational article. I feel very lucky to have her permission to share her words with you.

"You know how good it feels to sleep well.  But do you know how amazing sleep really is?  If you could take a peek into what happens during sleep, you might be surprised at the complexity and the beauty of what goes on.  It would also give you a lot of insight into why little ones wake so often.  Let me explain.

You may have heard of REM sleep, which stands for rapid eye movement.  REM sleep is hugely important, but we'll get to that in a moment.  First comes a few stages of non-rapid eye movement, or NREM.  In NREM1, we’re still fairly aware of our surroundings.  This stage serves as the transition from waking to sleep.  Someone awakened from this stage might believe that they weren’t actually asleep.  We pass through this phase fairly quickly.

The second stage, NREM2, makes up most of an adult’s sleep.  It’s still a fairly light stage of sleep, but you’re becoming less aware of anything going on around you.  

During NREM3, heart rate and blood pressure drop; breathing becomes deep and even.  This is the deepest level of sleep, when cell growth and repair occur.  Energy is restored, key hormones are released.  We are least aware of external activity during this stage.  If awakened, you would feel extremely groggy.  Most of our deep sleep occurs during the first third of the night, making it the sleep your body is most likely to protect.

After NREM3, there is a return to stage 2 sleep, and then a period of REM--there it is!--when we are most likely to dream.  This stage is vital for learning and memory consolidation.  Adults experience about 25% of their sleep as REM sleep, but for a newborn this stage can account for as much as 75% of their sleep.  When you think about how fast their brains are growing, this makes a lot of sense.  

While in REM sleep, heart rate and breathing return to close to their waking rates, and the brain is incredibly active.  It is very easy to wake from REM sleep; in fact, adults may wake as many as 9 times throughout the night.  Normally we aren’t aware of these wakings since we return quickly to sleep.  These wakings are protective: they allow us to check on our surroundings, or to shift position so that we don’t become uncomfortable in one place for too long.  For babies, these awakenings also allow them to signal to their parents when they have a need.  If there’s no present need, baby might continue on to another cycle of NREM2, then more deep NREM3, repeating this light--to deep--to light--to dreaming trend through the night.  

Now pause for a moment here, and imagine with me that you’re in an unknown place.  Maybe you’re camping out in the open by yourself.  You’re not sure who else is around or what to expect through the night.  You can’t hold your eyes open for another moment though, and sleep overtakes you.

Would you sleep well?  Probably not.  Any foreign noise would put you on high alert.  A person walking by would startle you.  You would resist allowing your body to go into that deep stage of sleep; the wakings characteristic of REM sleep would give you frequent opportunities to make sure that you were still safe.  Rather than quickly settling back to sleep, you would scan your surroundings to make sure everything was still okay.

What allows us to sleep well when we’re at home and in our own bed?  We know what’s going on around us.  We know that we’re safe.  Because when you think about it, sleeping is an act of trust.  You’re incredibly vulnerable when you’re asleep.  As your environment stays the same night after night, you know that it’s okay to relax and let your guard down.  But if you woke during one of those points of lighter sleep one night and found that a light was mysteriously on in your home, you’d probably be concerned.  Things weren’t as you left them; instead of continuing to sleep you’d go investigate how this light happened to be on.  Note that the light didn’t wake you; it has no power to do that.  You came to a period of lighter sleep, woke, and noticed the light was on.

For your child, this world is a great big unknown.  The way they learn that it’s safe to fall asleep and stay asleep is to know that nothing will change through the night as they reach those frequent periods of REM sleep.  If mom was there as baby fell asleep, waking up during the night to find mom missing would be just as unsettling to baby as finding a light on in the middle of the night would be to you.  This is why consistency is such a big part of sleep for little ones.  If you rely on feeding your baby to sleep each night, each time your baby wakes during the night she’ll need that feeding in order to fall back to sleep again.  How she falls asleep at bedtime is how she needs to return to sleep through the night.  That consistency builds her trust that it’s safe to sleep.  Remember though, that babies spend more time in REM sleep than adults do, and that it’s normal for them to wake often throughout the night.  Committing to helping your baby fall asleep at bedtime means committing to helping your baby return to sleep.  Night after night after night.

The challenge is, no one can keep up with this.  Not without losing your sanity, that is.  We weren’t made to continue to face interrupted sleep without end.  While caring for your newborn at night is part of being a parent, your baby is capable of sleeping for longer stretches by 2-3 months of age, and generally through the night by 6 months of age.  But when your baby’s trust hinges on you being there every time sleep begins (at bedtime) or restarts (through the night), it becomes a black hole that you can never fill.  You simply can’t respond so consistently that your baby decides to stop waking.  

This is why we teach independent sleep.  By providing your baby with a consistent bedtime routine, you build predictability for your little one.  He learns to expect what comes next: sleep.  When we allow our little ones to drift off to sleep on their own, there are no surprises in the middle of the night.  When our daytime interactions have shown baby that we are responsive and they can trust us, that trust translates into a greater ability to fall asleep at night, knowing that we have provided for them.

Will your baby still wake you at night from time to time?  Of course.  It’s developmentally appropriate for babies to continue to wake occasionally throughout the first year.  Learning to roll, crawl, pull to stand, and walk all have a good chance of waking your baby, as he gets to a light stage of sleep and thinks, “I want to practice that new thing that I learned!”  Illness and leaky diapers will often be the cause of your baby summoning you from your bed.  But know that the effort you’ve put into making your actions responsive and predictable to your baby makes a difference.  You’ve taught your baby that surrendering to sleep is a good and pleasant thing, and she can trust you.  

Sweet dreams!" - credit to Sarah Christian, Once Upon A Bedtime.