Sleep is for Wimps

Now, I’m not one to preach about how wonderful my children are at sleeping, because quite frankly they have all been a pain in their time.

My teenage son could sleep until 3pm in the afternoon if given half a chance, and that is through the squealing and shouting of his younger siblings. 

My tween, who was the world’s worst sleeper as a baby is heading the same way.  Since they have been back at school after the Christmas holidays I practically have to crowbar him out of bed to get ready for school!

Then there is my three year old.  Before his baby sister arrived he was a nightmare!  He wouldn’t settle in the evenings and was often up with us until 9pm at night, and even then he wouldn’t stay in bed.  I think I was awoken daily to find a little person tucked in between me and his dad and he always took up all the room!!

Knowing we would soon have a newborn to look after, I knew I had to break this habit.  I envisaged weeks of pain and screaming.  I warned his brothers and sister that they may have to put up with a few sleepless nights whilst we broke the habit.
I wish I had done it sooner!
It took 3 days – YES – THREE days.
The first day was the worst.  I remember getting up and down so many times through the night, I didn’t think I could carry on.  Night 2, was better.  It was still a struggle to get him into bed without cuddling me on the sofa, but he went down with less fuss and only attempted to climb into bed with us three or four times.  Night 3 – he went to bed with no argument, had his story and went to sleep.  He got up once!
How did we do it?
Routine is the short and simple answer.  We have one that works for us:
Firstly – Ditch the daytime nap!
1.  Dinner at least 2 hours before bed – for us it is at 4.30 – 5pm
2.  A loud and splashy bathtime where we have lots of fun, but there is warning 5 minutes before the end that it’s nearly bedtime and we are quietening down.
3.  6.30pm – Bed and story time with warm Milk (asleep by 7pm)
It really does work for us and is far less painful than I throught it would be.  We did cut out his daytime nap as that was recharging his batteries so he didn’t want to sleep.  Even now if he has a “power nap” it will take him ages to go to sleep at night, but unless he is ill he stays in his own bed, ALL NIGHT!
The baby, well she isn’t perfect but is a better sleeper than her brother.  We do have nights where she comes in with us and I invariably fall asleep whilst feeding her, but she is better than her brother ever was, and now she is 1, I will be getting stricter with her routine too!
This is my entry into Childrens Beds fron Time 4 Sleep competition with Baby Budgeting
If you are reading this and simply feel you have nowhere to turn in regards to getting your child into a sleep routine, I can highly recommend Fi at Childcare is Fun – she has a sleep training guide, or can tailor a program suited to your own individual needs (and all for free)!

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