Monday, August 2, 2010

The Sleep N*zi

It was a nickname given to me by friends when my firstborn was a tot.
I know, I know, it sounds really bad but,
I was strict!
I'm pretty sure he had a 6:30 bedtime til he was 5.
Ok, maybe not that long but, pretty long.
He was NEVER to miss a nap.
If, for some odd reason, he did miss a nap
it took me forever to get him back on schedule.
See, he needed this schedule.
I needed this schedule.
I went something like this:
Wake: 6-6:30
Get us both up, fed and ready for day.
Him off to preschool, me off to college.
Study, learn, study, learn
Pick him up at 12:15
Nap: 12:30
I could study & get homework done.
Wake: around 3
Play, take a walk, get ready for dinner (eat promptyly at 5 cause mamas hungry)
Bedtime: 6:30ish
Me: possibly off to night class
See how perfectly planned the day was!?
Now, with my secondborn, I'm definitely a little more relaxed.
She must take a nap but bedtime can be pushed back a little if need be.
Like Fourth of July, she was up til 10!!
That NEVER would have happened with Logan.
There's even been a crazy occasion or two where she's missed a nap!
Like, if we are on the lake at nap time.
This isn't often but it's happened.
See how much more lenient I am now?
So why so strict with sleep schedules? What's really the point?
I mean, they'll be out of the naps soon anyway right?
Don't they need to work around my schedule?
I'm glad you asked!
These are my thoughts. These are in no way meant to be seen as THE way and if you don't do them you're a bad person. Just my thoughts and how & why I do things. Yes, sometimes I get heckled for my strictness, hence the nickname but, hey I'm ok with that!
Schedules
Kids love schedules. Really it's true! I can't remember a book or article I didn't read this in.
They like to know what's coming next. That lunch will be around 11:30.
That they'll nap after lunch and so on and so forth.
Ofcourse there's times you need to be flexible (ie vacations, special outings) but, for the most part, stick to what they know.
I mean, let's face it, they'll have a schedule pretty much the rest of their lives. Whether it's school schedule, work schedule or just palin being on time to meetings/events.
Kids are happier when they know what to expect and get the right amount of sleep.
Especially when they have a nap.
It's easier for you, for them and for whoever may be keeping your kids if you're away.
Schedules makes for less tantrums throughout the day and
who doesn't want less tantrums!!??
Falling Asleep and Staying Asleep
One of the hardest things to teach babies is how to fall asleep and stay asleep on their own.
I have taken the Feber approach with both of mine to help with this.
It takes time and patience and no kid will do it in the same amount of time as the other but, it works. If you stick to it and a few days or weeks of trials will payoff ten-fold in the long run! The Ferber Method, is not a leave them to cry until they pass out method as some might think. It's more like, do your sleep routines (bath, book, bed etc...), get them drowsy but not asleep yet and put them to bed. If they start fussing, wait 5 min., go in to re-assure them, say goodnight and leave. Never pick them back up.
Add 5 min. every time until they finally fall asleep.
This teaches them to not only expect sleep at certain times but, also how to put themselves to sleep. And even put themselves back to sleep if they happen to wake up in the middle of the night. These are lessons they'll need for the rest of their lives.
Co-Sleeping
Not.My.Thing.
At all, not ever.
I know it works for some, having a family bed and all and they love it.
I say more power to 'em.
I, however, like my bed and my room in that bed. I like my personal space when I sleep.
The only time I've let our kids in the bed is in their first few months because they are nursing throughout the night. B was in her bed at 2 months and Logan at 5 months.
I have never laid down with them to get them to nap. They can easily get confused, think that's what they need to sleep and then it takes so much longer to break that habit. I can't imagine having to do that everytime they were supposed to nap! I'd never get anything accomplished. I have had an issue with Logan sneaking in the bed in the wee hours of the morning but, that's because he's beds wet and that's a whole other topic!
White Noise
It is a life saver. I highly suggesting purchasing a sound machine before the babies home.
They are used to that sound of swooshes and whooshes in your belly. Plus it helps to drown out any background noise that might wake them (ie other kiddos, doorbell, having friends over). This does not mean falling asleep to a tv. That, to me, is just another bad habit. One that just might follow them into adulthood. I think you'll just know when to stop with the sound machine. When Logan was around 4 he pretty much told me he was done with it and it's never been an issue. That kid could sleep through anything.
I know my thoughts are completely different from others and I am in no way saying it's my way or no way but, I do have pretty strong feelings regarding sleep. It's worked very well for us. Having these sleep habits instilled early in life can only make for
happier kids throughout the day.
To sum up my thoughts, this is a great excert from a book I love
Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child:
"Sleep is the power source that keeps your mind alert and calm. Every night and at every nap sleep recharges the brains battery, increases brainpower and your attention span. Sleeping well allows you to be physically relaxed and mentally alert at the same time.
Then you are at your personal best."
To see short term and long term effects of good sleep habits
(or lack thereof) check out this link.
What are your thoughts?

3 comments:

Lindsay said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ann said...

Ah, your comments work! Not that I have a great one, but still!

I completely agree with you on the co-sleeping. Abby left our room at 6 weeks and has never been back. I could not even imagine it! I am in a "mommy's group" of other women that have Jan 09 babies and are always talking about sleeping with their kids - gross!

We didnt do the white noise, but have a humidifier and I think it helps.

Schedules are a must too!

I might not have been a "nazi" like you, but hey, stick to your guns!

Anonymous said...

hahaha love it!

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