Monday, 29 September 2014

Toddler Sleep Update..or..How we got our 2 year old back on track

Remember this? When Seb just would not sleep alone? And stay awake for hours on end at various points throughout the night?

Well, at the risk of cosmically breaking the pattern, I'm happy to report we seem to have gotten his sleep routine back on track. Most nights we can count on him to sleep from 8pm-6:30 or 7am, (...knocking on wood..loudly!). I wanted to share the update and let you know what we did that seemed to help.

Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, by Marc Weissbluth is our go-to sleep book. I had actually lent our copy out to a friend, but texted her something along the lines of "Remember that sleep book? I need it back asap. I have to re-read the toddler section. We're dying over here." So, here are the tips that we put into place.

1. No talking when you go into his room. This one is as easy as it sounds. No talking. Period. Even 'negative' talking (ex "It's not time to play. It's time to go to sleep.") is still attention, which is what he wants. Go in. Do what you need to do. Leave. No talking.

2. The same parent goes in every time that night. This keeps it consistent. You can switch parents on different nights, but when it's your night, it's your night. Then your little one knows a little bit more what to expect.

3. Ignore the whining. I don't remember if this was actually one of the tips from the book, but it was the philosophy we adopted. We have a video monitor, so we could see what was going on, and if he was really crying and freaking out, we absolutely went in to check on him, but the whining, we tried to have him settle that on his own.

4. Music/white noise. Seb started to really enjoy lullaby music. We use it in in the car if we need to drive somewhere during nap time, and it knocks him out quickly. So we started using our favourite white noise app again, but this time set to 'music box'. I also bought him a Lullaby Gloworm because Rob's friends were telling him their baby liked it, but Seb hasn't really warmed up to it too much.

5. Sleep rules. This was/is the best one. Directly from his book, we followed Dr. Weissbluth's suggested sleep rules. I wrote them on paper (pink..Seb's favourite), and Seb coloured the page. The sleep rules are:
At bedtime we
1. Lay down
2. Close our eyes
3. Stay very quiet
4. Go to sleep
(Seb is still in a crib we modified the first sleep rule. Instead of lay down, you can say "stay in bed".)

Then I made a second page called "Sebastian's Sleep Stickers". Before bed each night, after storytime we'd read the sleep rules together. In the morning, if he had a good night, he got a sleep sticker for his sheet. Seb LOVES his sleep stickers. He asks for them every morning. And look at all of the sleep stickers he has this month! If he ever does have a bad night and ask for a sleep sticker, we just say, "Not today. We can try again tomorrow." You can also do the sleep stickers after nap as well for consistency if you like. We don't do that regularly, because naps don't seem to be a problem.

In addition to the sleep stickers, you can also have a motivating reward. Seb likes things like yogurt raisins or fruit gummies, so he gets one or two with his sleep sticker on good mornings.

Maybe it was a phase and all of our antics had nothing to do with it. More than likely getting back into a nice daily routine after the business of the summer helped significantly. Nonetheless, these 5 tips, along with a few bottles of wine, helped us get back on track. Hope they help if you need them too! And thank you so much to everyone who commented earlier with their encouraging words! #miserylovescompany :)


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