I’m really excited to be sharing this blog post with you. As a mother of three delightful little cherubs…most of the time… I can absolutely relate to having issues when it comes to the old ‘bed time’. For those of you who have been reading my posts for a while you’ll know that I am a stickler for a good routine. I like to keep things consistent and my kids respond well to knowing what’s coming up next. This doesn’t means it works every time and it certainly doesn’t mean that I haven’t ever had problems.
With so many of my friends having problems around sleep time I thought it best to call in an expert. Paediatric Nurse, Mother and qualified Infant and Toddler Sleep Consultant, Tara Mitchell from The Gentle Sleep Specialist is here to give us some easy and practical tips around ‘bed time’. Believe it or not, it doesn’t have to be that hard!
With over 15 years’ experience working with babies and toddlers she has used her knowledge to bring about healthy sleep habits, resolve sleep issues and establish routines for your family, setting your little ones up for the years ahead.
We love you Tara! Enjoy….
Editor Tara Mitchell
One of the most common questions I get as a sleep consultant is ‘How to make my toddlers bedtime easier?’ So today I will be sharing with you some advice to help ease bedtime battles.
The most common reason bedtime has become a constant power struggle is because many little ones have taken control of bedtime in the house hold. Basically – their children are running the bedtime process. For most of my client’s one of the first things they say to me is “I don’t know how we got to this point”. If having to submit to a series of requests, constantly appeasing your child in order for them to sleep or having to sit/lie with them for lengthy periods before bed sounds familiar then below are some ways to help get you back in control of bedtime.
Magical manipulators – Toddlers are the top of the crop when it comes to subtly changing things to work best for themselves. They are amazing at it and even better when it comes to bedtime because we are often very keen to call it a day. The seemingly innocent requests are easy to pacify in the beginning “one more drink”, “one more book”, “another light on” sit by my bed and so on, until… But before you know it you are lying in their bed cheeks squashed against one another, audience to a lengthy show before our little one finally crashes to sleep. This can sometimes last hours or happen a number of times throughout the night.
HERE ARE SOME TIPS TO HELP EASE BEDTIME BATTLES
Set a structured bedtime routine and DO NOT sway from it – Create a bedtime routine that is a step to step into bed. This allows your little one the opportunity to become familiar with the bedtime process. It in turns leaves little opportunity to sway from it and allows parents to be more aware of attempts from their children to take back control of bedtime.
Use a reward chart – when you are trying to get back on track. Get your child to pop a stamp on each activity i.e brush teeth, have a drink, toilet and into bed. This will help encourage new structure and keep bedtime positive.
Parent guided negotiation. Toddler’s love to think they are in control so allow them to feel this whilst resting in the knowledge that it’s not actually the case. For example, ask them to choose two books or what PJ’s they would like to wear. Allow them the freedom of choice in certain areas.
Dinner matters – I cannot tell you how important dinner time is when it comes to setting you up for the bedtime ahead. Toddlers don’t usually only try and run the show from bedtime onwards, it normally begins at dinner. If you really pay attention to your little ones requests and refusals at dinner you will often see how it flows from there straight into bedtime. The majority of toddlers I work with are also described as fussy or particular eaters. Only eating foods such as pasta, bread, nuggets and yoghurt. The moment we work together establish a positive routine and put parents back in control – the change in eating habits is dramatic and wonderful to say the least.
I hope this gets you on the right track!
Let’s get your little ones and the family unit the sleep they deserve. Working with families to resolve sleep issues that their baby’s or toddlers may be experiencing is what I specialise in. Contact me to get sleep sorted at www.gentlesleep.com.au, or head to Facebook – The Gentle Sleep Specialist, to find a variety of tips, relevant information and read some inspiring reviews.