Sleep Training and Re-training
I posted this on Instagram and my mom messaged me to put it on the blog – so here I am 🙂 I added to the post because I got a comment on Instagram, “What to do when they regress?” I answered at the bottom.
🎤❤️What a nice song to wake up to this morning ❤️🎤
My favorite part of sleep training is that as babies they learn to hang out when they wake up. Some of my favorite memories are from listening to them babble to the funny things they say.
Over 4 years later, I still love it. Now I get sneak peeks of school performances and holiday spirit from the moment I wake up.
Consistency is key. Don’t run in as soon as they wake up, go in around the same time every day and say Good morning! It becomes what they know – wake up, hang out, a parent is coming with a smile soon ☺️
Consistency is also key as they get older. They will need “re-training” – reminders, “if you wake up and it’s not time yet, what are some things you can do?” Come up with ideas together – “tell your stuffed animals about your day” “sing a song.”
If they’re in a bed and you’re ok with them getting out – have a toy box for morning toys that they can use before it’s officially “morning time.” Be careful with this one because if they don’t read a clock they can be getting up at 4 am and starting to play. To solve this you can teach them a number on the clock that they can’t get out of bed before, or you can have two kids clocks. My older son was waking up very early so we did 2 clocks – one traffic light clock that turned Green when he was allowed to get out of bed and then he had the Gro clock which turned yellow when he is allowed to come wake us up. Even though he sleeps later now, and can read time, he still likes having his clocks.
We have one son with 2 clocks and one son with no clocks. Every kid is different and different things will work with their personalities. It would be nice if a one size fits all approach worked, but in parenting it never does!
I got a comment on the post – “What to do when they regress?” Regressions are totally normal at all ages. Post being sick, post vacations, scary dreams, the list goes on. Every situation will vary, but basically the way I see it is:
If they’re still babies, go back to routine and stay consistent and they will follow suit.
If they’re older…
1) Assess the situation. Are they waking for a reason? Hunger? Too hot? Too cold? If there’s a cause that can be fixed, first start there.
2) Confront the situation. Have a chat during the day – NOT in the middle of the night. Talk about how sleep is important and we all have to do it.
Role play what to do when you wake up. Go in your bed and show them what you do when you wake up in the middle of the night. Show how you don’t wake anyone else, maybe hug a stuffed animal, and close your eyes to go back to sleep. If it’s the morning but not quite time to get up yet, show some examples of what you can do when still laying in bed. Then have your child practice in their crib/bed.
Have them involved. Make a list with ideas together, have them decorate it. Give them ownership over getting back into a good sleep routine – join together on the same team instead of it being a fight against you.
Enlist a friend to be “the sleep teacher” and call them if you have any questions that can be asked together. You can also use the friend as a motivator, he/she can say, “call me in the morning to tell me you stayed in bed all night!” Some kids love that.
3) Stick to your word. If you don’t want your kids sleeping in your bed, then don’t do it. When you’re tired, it’s not easy to stick to your plan, but the only way to make it work is if you follow through on what you say.
If none of these work, and you’re not in a good place – mad and angry yelling at your kids when they wake you up – then you can put a gate on their door – I wrote about our experience with that here.