Nap and bedtime struggles are a theme that I hear often hear when parents are looking at registering for classes. While there are no instant magic tools out there for parenting. Yet, we can work together to create a more peaceful and positive experience for the whole family!
Here are 4 tips that I hope you find helpful in the next week!
- Reframe the idea of naptime, bedtime, and routines
When Mr E was a younger infant, I tried SO hard to get him on a schedule that looked like – eat, play, sleep, and repeat. It was a nightmare, pun intended. He was a child how cat napped, no matter what. He had a witching hour from 3pm-10pm, I swear I was going to wear out the hardwood from pacing every single night.
I remember the last time, I tried to get him to nap and I am going to share one of my most vulnerable parenting moment.
He was napping in the playpen in the hallway. At this point, I do not remember why. I think it was because a said huge company was hooking up our TV (we no longer have) and drilled through his wall, and furniture. They were fixing and re-paining the room. Nonetheless, he crawled out of the playpen. And I lost it. I was defeated. I was a failure. I could not get this child to sleep even close to the
“recommended guidelines” whichever Google M.D told me.
I cried, I yelled, I had basically an adult sized toddler tantrum. When I had released my energy, when I had though ALL the negative thoughts on parenting. Then I decided I was the one who needed to change.
We started to do a routine dance. I call it a dance because sometimes, what needs to be done each day has 3 hours, and sometimes it has 45 minutes.
I started to leave the house when I wanted or when there was a class I wanted to attend and wow my mental health improved. AND funny enough, Mr E became more calm and content.
I watched his cues and encourage sleep when needed. He would learn to nap over time – sometimes this meant stroller naps, carrier naps, or we would stop and nap together during the day.
Flash forward to our current family structure and we have a witching hour from 3-5pm. During this time we experience many highs and lows. Our children can be engaged while playing together one second and melting down the next.
I started to reframe my idea of bedtime and routines and how I can help my family work through these challenging times and then continue in a positive and peaceful way navigate bedtime.
What I realized was that our bedtime routine needed to start hours before I thought. Our children and I created routine we use most afternoons while we are in school months. I try to have a healthy snack as soon as we are in the house and catch up for the day. If I am off to teach a Positive Discipline Parenting class, I will ensure that the crock pot has a highly nitrous meal cooking so we are not feeling the pressure as much.
Signing is a way to increase awareness and impact a child’s awareness of emotions, and needs. When your baby is feeling tired or showing tired cues, sign “tired/sleep” to them! Babies pick up this sign and start to associate it to what happens next. What is it that you and your child are comfortable doing? Then when they are in the bed sign, “sleepy time”. Your little babies as young as 6 months of age has needs and using sign hey are able to have these needs confidently communicated and responded too!
- Cleaning Up
If you have been reading my journey for a while, we have been working on the realm of being more of a minimalist family. This makes clean up time easier!
- Predictable while being open for Flexibility
Research shows that children thrive with routines and predictability. In short, this is due to a child having a sense of autonomy over their life and situation. We use the tool of a routine chart for bedtime to be predictable and flexible, see post for bedtime charts.
I cannot wait for Fall 2018 classes. And even more excited to see you and your little one there!