When my kids were babies and toddlers, we had a rock-solid bedtime routine that my husband and I were completely in control of. We picked our babies up and carried them to the bathroom for teeth brushing. We played little games with them to get them to cooperate–and then we picked them up and carried them to the recliner to read a book and sing a song while rocking and snuggling a bit. Then we laid them down in their cribs with a kiss and left the room.
Obviously we worked hard to get to that place where they could fall asleep on their own and didn’t cry, but after their sleep schedules were established, it truly was easy. Because we, the parents, were very much in control.
That has changed since my kids have gotten older. They are now 11 and 8, and I can no longer pick them up and carry them to the bathroom to get them to brush their teeth. They push back way more on bedtime, especially in the summer when it stays light outside so late, and it’s hard for me to know if I should monitor every step of their bedtime routine so I can keep them moving along or if I should give them more privacy and independence. It just feels like I have so much less control than I used to have-and honestly, I think I am just way more tired. I don’t have the resolve and the new parent energy that I used to have, and I probably let way too much slide with my kids when I am exhausted at the end of the day.
That’s why I called in a sleep expert to interview on the podcast today, because I need all the help I can get to get back on track with my kids’ bedtimes, especially as we are starting a new school year and we need to get back into good routines of going to bed earlier so we can get up earlier.
Becca Campbell is a certified pediatric sleep consultant and the CEO and founder of Little Z’s Sleep (www.littlezsleep.com) and The Sleep Sorority. She has guided tens of thousands of families through the exhausting world of getting your child to sleep and is trusted by pediatric clinics and medical specialists across the country. Becca is also the host of the #3 globally-ranked pediatric podcast, Little Z’s Sleep Podcast, and her expertise has been featured in outlets like Parents magazine, NBC news, yahoo!Life, and Toddler Purgatory. As a CEO, wife, and mother of two, she understands the importance of restful, restorative sleep, so she’s dedicated to helping families prioritize good sleep.
I can’t wait to learn from Becca today.
1) Write down the steps for your child’s bedtime routine-which should actually probably be called a getting-ready-to-sleep routine…because that’s what you are doing. You are preparing your mind and body to relax. Review these with your partner or child hours before it’s actually time for bedtime, post them somewhere visible, and really stick to it.
2) Do the same steps in order, every time. This will help your child get into the groove so you face less resistance, AND it will help their body start to learn the cues to start getting sleepy. Consider adding a bath or shower to the routine, as well as some one-on-one time connecting with you.
3) Leave the room when your child is still awake so they can learn to fall asleep and stay asleep on their own. This might involve some conversations and reminders about HOW to fall asleep–shutting your eyes, breathing deeply, letting your body relax, listening to a meditation. This is a skill that your child will get better at with practice and it will bless them throughout their life.
>>>Are these tips from Becca Campbell helpful? What would you add to the takeaways? Tell us in the comments below.
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