One obvious way for parents to get more sleep is when their children are good sleepers!
On a quest to become better informed, we recently enlisted expert Dr. Whitney Robanz of Sleep-EEZ Kidz, to spend 90 minutes with us and give us the inside scoop to get our children to sleep better. Her common sense approach comes from her years of experience consulting with families, practicing her strategies on her own two children, and influence from the strategies suggested by another guru, Dr. Marc Weissbleuth.
Twelve dads spent the evening sharing our war stories with Robanz and listened intently at her guidance, suggestions, and logical approach to fixing some of our children’s bedtime problems. There a few things to note. These challenges come in all shapes and sizes. Going to bed too late, waking up before 6 a.m., night wakings, falling asleep on bottle, sleeping with a pacifier, not being able to self sooth, getting out of their bed, climbing out of their crib, not napping, no schedule, and the list is endless. What is worse — even if you have a child who has always been a fantastic sleeper — life anxiety, a vacation, or getting sick can derail everything you have worked so hard to establish … so basically, you always have to be on top of your child’s sleep routines.
Our dads were candid in sharing some real challenges we are having and it was a nice bonding experience for all involved. Sleep is a health issue that is as important as food. During sleep, growth takes place and sleep patterns are linked to academic results.
Here’s some important notes about sleep and how we can all get more sleep:
Children ages 4 months to 4 year old need 11 to 12 hours of uninterrupted plus naps. Naps schedule by age:
- 4 months: three naps, each one hour
- 6 to 9 months: two naps, 1.5 hrs each
- 15 to 18 months: one nap, two hrs (around noon)
Interestingly, by 3 years of age, most children have given up nap but they really still need it until age 4.
- Good sleepers nap more and change to less naps when they are older
- Goal of sleep training “falling asleep unassisted,” learn to self-sooth
- Unfortunately, crying is involved in the learning process. Many parents can’t deal with that, but sleep training can be effective in as little as nights.
Tips on how parents and children can get more sleep
- Two notable methods of sleep training: one “extinction” from Dr. Marc Weissbleuth and the other is Ferber method which entails check and recheck
- Consistency in method you select is essential
- No water or milk bottles in bed. Parents need to remove any how during potty training (not to mention the dental problems), so why let them get used to it now
- Rigid schedule is really important when it comes to sleep
- Night wakings results in sleep deprivation … for the child and the parents.
- Put them in bed before any sleepy clues (yawning, rubbing eyes). Seeing these clues tell you were too late to put them to bed
- More day time sleep will mean more at night, too
- Respect the bedtime schedule – and get your spouse/partner on board as well
- It was suggested that you don’t take them out before 6 a.m.
- Try to have them in bed before 7 p.m.
- Remove most toys from the bed if it distracts your child in bed
- Give them 5 to 10 minute rule after wake up. Let them be by themselves so they can stretch and gain composure.
- If your child wakes up crying, let them cry for a few minutes, sometimes they go back to sleep on their own
- Move to toddler bed around age 3
- If child climbs out earlier, then give them a mesh tent over the crib