Children Hijackers

Sorry I haven’t blogged in quite a while (don’t worry…no baby #2 yet, but he’ll be here soon). Shortly after my last post our life was hijacked by a toddler/preschooler that decided she no longer wanted to sleep at night. So, in the past month and a half my life has been devoted to trying to figure out how to get her to sleep again. Sleep depravation combined with trying to keep up with a busy life left me with little desire to blog. It is by no means better, but we’ve made a little progress.

What I’ve Learned Recently

  1. Never assume that a good sleeper will always be a good sleeper. My little girl was an excellent sleeper for the first 2.5 years of her life. I’m pretty sure she was sleeping through the night after only a few months, and we did nothing to make it happen. She had always enjoyed her sleep, aside from the occasional cold or sickness. So, when her sleep problems started popping up we just assumed she’d settle back into her old pattern. WRONG! It became progressively worse, and as she became more sleep deprived it only compounded the issue.
  2. Cry It Out (CIO) doesn’t work. Not knowing much at first, we assumed letting her cry a bit at her bedroom door wouldn’t hurt much…except it eventually turned into long periods on nonstop crying. In the meantime, Mommy and Daddy were nearly crazy from it (I can’t stand the sound of crying and not allowing myself to console her). A lot of parents try this out of desperation, but it only did more damage in the end. We’ve been picking up the pieces ever since.
  3. Establishing good patterns and daily routines. Nothing has helped more than establishing good patterns and routines throughout the day. She needs a good nap everyday, at the same time everyday. Even if you’re busy and need to run errands, the nap makes a big difference when it comes to bedtime. She needs to eat at about the same time everyday. Evenings need to be TV-free and focus on quiet activities (like reading and quiet play).
  4. Live a healthy life. We’ve been focusing a lot more on eating healthy and removing junk from our life. We’ve been seeing a chiropractor to be adjusted. He actually found that my daughter has a dairy allergy, so we’ve removed all dairy from her life. This is a recent development…still curious to see the results.
  5. Mom & Dad need good habits. If I expect that my child have good sleep habits, I need it too. I’m still working on this one…mom & dad enjoy their night time together watching TV.

A book that has been really helpful in helping me find these realizations is this one:

The No-Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers and Preschoolers: Gentle Ways to Stop Bedtime Battles and Improve Your Child’s Sleep

If anything, it helped me to realize lots of kids have sleep issues and that I don’t have to despair. It promotes creating a sleep plan and gives practical tips on how to help your kid sleep no matter the cause. As a future librarian…check you local library before buying the book. I only provide the Amazon link for convenience.

Where I Am Now

So, after reading all of this you probably think I’ve got a child that sleeps through the night and has no issues…nope. It’s a battle every night to get her to bed. It is usually a 2 hour process and has the occasional tantrum (mommy and daddy included), but we’ve been doing much better at not crying to sleep. She just has a lot of trouble getting her brain to turn-off. She also doesn’t sleep through the night in her own room, but we’ve no longer got middle of the night tantrums, crying and screaming. At some point every night she will come into our room to sleep. I’ve made a little bed on the floor with blankets and she usually makes no noise and just lays down. It’s by no means ideal, but I accept the compromise…for now. A part of me actually enjoys having my beautiful little girl nearby. 🙂

Do any of you have sleep problems with your kids? Take comfort in the fact that you’re not alone. I feel your misery.

If you’ve had sleeping success, what has worked for you? Leave a comment.