Gone are the days where families sat around all summer and every weekend simply lounging, relaxing and catching up on sleep. Gone are the days where kids are bored because there is nothing for them to do. In today’s society kids and families are so over-scheduled with sports, school, extracurricular activities and more, that it doesn’t leave anyone the opportunity to feel that sense of boredom. Along with the crazy schedules and going from back-to-back activities we find we are completely exhausted. Families as a whole are completely wiped, both mentally and physically, leaving everyone on edge and not able to perform at their optimal level.
In order to create a household where everyone is given the opportunity to sleep the necessary hours for optimal performance, it takes participation from each family member. It isn’t possible for mom and dad to sleep if their baby is up all night or if kids are in and out of their beds for drinks, snuggles or just an excuse to sleep in your bed. All of these things disrupt everyone’s sleep, leaving everyone sleep deprived. Cooperation from each member is required for each member’s sleep hours to be protected and respected.
The idea here is that we work as a family to create healthy sleep routines that everyone commits to. This will take time and work, but trust me when I say that a bit of heavy front load lifting here will save your life on the back end. You will ask yourself why you hadn’t made changes sooner. To begin establishing healthy sleep routines you need to figure out what will work for all people involved. What routines and schedules do you feel you can actually commit too. Bedtime routines need to be efficient and shouldn’t last more than 30 minutes from start to finish. You also need to be clear up front about what the new sleep expectations are and then be ready to STICK TO IT! Consistency is key and without consistency you won’t find the sleep success you are working towards. I know the hardest part is sticking to the plan. It’s not going to be easy to not let your kids climb back in your bed or to stop rocking them to sleep, but in order for everyone to sleep properly these things have to be done. No one ever said that parenting was easy and this is one area that this clearly holds true.
Before you begin this process you need to recognize and pinpoint whether or not your kids have the skills to self-soothe and fall asleep on their own. This is a learned skill and one that you will need to teach them and help them achieve
Along with being able to fall asleep and stay asleep unassisted you will need to be sure that your sleep environments are conducive for good quality and quantity sleep. Areas to ensure are your sleep environment is ready are: proper temperature being not too hot or too cold, dark, quiet or noise machine if you have an infant, no distractions or high stimulation in bedroom and so forth. . For more on sleep training and sleep help contact me at www.tiaslightham.com/sleeptraining
Once your kids have mastered the skill of self-soothing you can begin counting on them to follow the new bedtime routines. If they decide to get out of bed at night and be awake you need to be very matter of fact and let them know that
“Nighttime is for sleeping. I need my sleep and so do you. Therefore, I will see you in the morning.”
Send them back to their room and stick to it! Kids are so bright and learn extremely fast. A couple nights of sticking to the new routines and maintaining the new bedtime boundaries and everyone will be feeling more rested. The entire family will be a whole lot more bright eyed and bushy tailed, making life easier to deal with and everyone less on edge!
REMEMBER: Sleep is not a luxury, but a true necessity. Help your entire family meet their sleep needs and create a more peaceful home environment where everyone feels and performs better!