Sleep deprivation is a term I used to joke about in my teenage years. In fact I was not sleep deprived at all, I just did not realise how much of a luxury it was for me to climb into my bed when I wanted and roll out of bed in the AM ready to start my day. I have never been one to spend hours sleeping the next morning, I have always been awake early even after going to bed at a ridiculously late time. However, now that I have my daughter I find that sleep is a myth.
As I type this my darling daughter is actually tucked up in her cot, away with the fairies in the land of the nod, so I am using this to my advantage before she wakes up screaming for her DeeDee. DeeDee is a lifesaver, so much so that I purchased 3! DeeDee is a comfort toy that Isabella-Grace has had in her possession since birth and if I could give DeeDee a big cuddle and kiss, I really would, however DeeDee often spends the majority of the day having it’s arm, leg or ear sucked by my daughter!
Now to delve into the post, I know so many mothers across the world can relate to the title. Babies and children are amazing, they really are, but sometimes they can be so difficult to get to sleep. I hold my hand up high and admit wholeheartedly that I love my daughter with every single piece of my heart, but when it is sleep time I really, REALLY would like her to sleep, so that I can also get some sleep. I have been trying out a few different methods of my own because I am determined to conquer this insomnia, so I hope that these tips will work for you.
1. Be persistent – that is with your child’s routine and what you intend to implement. Ensure that you talk to your child informing them what is going to happen next. For example, “okay Jessica, now that you have finished your dinner, we are going to brush your teeth and get ready for bed.” If they are a baby, that is completely fine and you should still speak to them, because they may not understand everything that you are saying, but in time they will. The key here is to stick to the routine as much as possible, so the more consistent you are, eventually your child will gradually know what is coming next.
2. A warm soothing bath before bedtime – my daughter loves bath time. I allow her to play with her bath toys whenever she has her bath and she absolutely loves splashing around with them. Although this depends on your child, you can give your child a bath without any toys in the evening. The reason why I give my daughter her bath toys at night is simply because she has TONS of energy and she will play during bath time because she will eventually become tired. I find that a nice long bath will usually help my daughter to go to bed after we finish her bedtime routine. After my daughter’s bath I usually give her a nice, soothing massage.
3. Switch off all distractions – meaning no toys, no technology and no bright lights! Opt for a side light or a night light for children as bright lights will tend to keep them awake. Limiting distractions and lights help your child to understand that it is winding down time.
4. Give them their comfort object - whether it is their soother, toy or a blanket, this will help them to start to get prepared for bed too and it will offer them some comfort if they start to become unsettled or upset.
5. Incorporate story time – it is nice to allow your child to select a book of their choice for you to read to them, it encourages independence and also shows that their choice is valued. You can ask your child questions about the story as you read it to them or if they are feeding then you can point out some interesting points about the book, for example, “oh wow, the little girl has a very shiny wand in her hands.”
6. Sing nursery rhymes – if your child is not sleeping after story time, then you can try to sing them some nursery rhymes and rock them to sleep. You can never go wrong with nursery rhymes!
7. Try to avoid becoming frustrated – babies and children are very sensitive and they will pick up on this, then become unsettled. Try to remain calm and speak to them in a soft, soothing voice so that they do not have negative associations in regards to bed time. Bedtime is supposed to be a nice end to the day, so try to keep it positive.
8. If your child is still not asleep then you could try using their cot mobile in a bid to soothe them to sleep. You can leave the door ajar and come and check in on them every so often to see if they are sleeping.
I find that having a routine puts everything into perspective, not just for me, but for my daughter also. I do not like chaos and I like things to be orderly, however with a little one sometimes you do not know what to expect! It may take some time, but once you have implemented your own bedtime routine everything will fall into place. Don't be hard on yourself, because every child is different.
How do you usually get your little one to sleep? If you try any of these tips let me know the outcome!
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