….. And vacuum cleaners…. Boy loves to pray for vacuum cleaners.
Sleep has been one of the most contentious issues in our home since the birth of the boy. We
tired tried a number of “sleep training” methods in his infancy with little success because there were too many things that interrupted any good routines that we finally managed to perfect. And while we had different opinions, neither of us were quite comfortable letting our new babe scream until he passed out… (no judgement from me though… I know way too many people who sleep peacefully through the night as a result of it…). Toddler sleep has been eluding us of late though.
I’m excited today to share a new-ish strategy that somehow crept into our nightly routine and saved my sanity. We recently transitioned to a “big boy bed” – read: a bed that a kid can escape from at will…as many times as he wants…. in 0.15 seconds….
At least it’s safer than his crib Houdini antics…
Boy now had the upper hand.
First, I had to convince him that his bed was special (and it IS! we shlepped that organic mattress all the way from Canada people!). Then I more or less hyperbolically sat on him until he zonked out on it. Rinse and repeat. But it was taking SO much longer for him to fall asleep there then it did in his crib (we had it down to a 15 minute science) – which meant it that our new nighttime routine was gobbling up over an hour of our already short evening together as a couple.
Our Previous Routine to Encourage Toddler Sleep:
- Use the potty
- Put on a night-time diaper and pyjamas
- Brush teeth and wash face
- Turn on air purifier
- Close curtains
- Kneel beside bed and pray together
- Sing one of four favourite songs
- Place into bed
- Listen to litany of excuses and how “not sleepy” he was
- Remind him that he was, in fact, knackered
- Wait for him to pass out
- Sneak quietly out of bedroom.
NOW, the moment we have all been waiting for. I suspect this would work on kids of most ages from infancy on…. don’t get too excited now, but actually you can, because it makes so much sense, and it’s loving, and lovely, and comforting and just a delightful way to leave a Little for the night.
Take a Deep Breath
No really. That’s it. Then take another one.
I’ve been having a bit of a tough time falling asleep for the past few months… and repeated deep breaths were helping me. So why not him?
Following steps 1-7, our new 8th step is to sit quietly with him (I generally have to remind him that if he talks or moves around he goes straight into bed by himself- instant calm). Then holding him against my chest I take 15-20 deep, slow breaths and he begins to match them.
At the end of this, he is still awake, but so relaxed… and almost drowsy. I put him right into his bed… he still insists that he is not tired… but the proof is in the pudding parents…. 2 minutes to snoozeville.
I don’t want to mislead you into thinking this is a miracle that works 100% of the time… but it’s been close for us! There have been maybe 2 or 3 days over the last few weeks when he didn’t doze off quickly… but by and large – my boy and I enjoy a sweet time of winding down together, and he falls asleep on his own in under 5 minutes.
A peaceful and happy boy means this mama is full of joy!
Wishing you success and toddler sleep-dust 🙂