16 12, 2014

The 2-1 Nap Transition: How to Handle It Successfully

December 16th, 2014|Categories: Nap Transitions, Naps, Toddler Sleep|Tags: , , , , , |

2-1 Nap Transitions; Signs, Tips and Advice

There comes a time in a toddler’s life when it’s time to transition from two naps to one. I frequently get asked about this transition, even from clients whose baby is only 4 or 6 months old. The 2-1 nap transition has a well-deserved reputation for being difficult as children adjust to the longer activity times.  Here are my tips to help make this nap transition go smoothly.

2-1 Nap Transition Tip #1 : Wait Until It’s Time

Is your child really ready to transition to one nap? Although many people believe that as soon as a child turns one, they can handle being on one nap, this just isn’t the case. The vast majority of children naturally transition somewhere between 15-18 months of age. Forcing the 2-1 nap transition before the child is ready can result in a child becoming very overtired.

2-1 Nap Transition Tip #2: Determine If It’s a Milestone or Transition Time

When toddlers are learning how to pull up, cruise and walk, the new physical skills can lead to overtiredness and nap resistance. Since these milestones tend to happen around the one year mark, it can easily be misinterpreted as a sign to transition to one nap. Review what skills your little one has been practicing lately. If there has been new developments, then don’t rush to transition just yet. What your child needs is more sleep right now as they recover from all the new exercises ;), and bringing the bedtime up earlier will be more beneficial than switching to one nap.

2-1 Nap Transition Tip #3: Know the Signs

If your child is between 15-18 months and they’re not going through a milestone, the next step is to determine if they’re showing the signs to transition. Very often, we will see one or more of the following…

  • The child starts taking a long time to fall asleep for the morning nap which then pushes the afternoon nap too late
  • The child easily takes a long morning nap, but then refuses the afternoon nap
  • The child plays right through either the morning or afternoon nap and doesn’t sleep
  • Early morning wakings star to occur that are not related to being overtired, discomfort or outside disruptions.
2-1 Nap Transition Tip #4: Hang on to Two Naps as Long As Possible

This nap transition tends to be the hardest of all for children to handle, so if you can hang onto the two naps for even a few more weeks, do it. The older your child is, the easier the move will be on their bodies. Even though they may seem to handle the transition well for a few days, it doesn’t mean that after a few weeks it will be the same story. Adjusting to extended wake periods after the transition can be very tiring for children and over time,  a sleep debt can begin to accumulate and rear its head. After a few weeks, night wakings and early morning risings can start to occur.

2-1 Nap Transition Tip#5: When Ready, Move Quickly

If your child is ready to move to one nap, move them to a mid day nap as soon as possible. Yes, it will be a stretch and they will be grumpy, but moving the nap this far right away helps twofold:

  • It will help to close the gap to bedtime, even if the nap is short, thus helping to prevent early morning wakings from a too-late bedtime.
  • The nap is appropriately timed with the body’s circadian rhythms and helps to ensure the most restorative nap possible.
2-1 Nap Transition Tip #6:  Keep Bedtime Early!

It’s really important that bedtime is early, super early in fact for the first few weeks. Even if your child consistently takes a solid 2+ hour nap as soon as they transition; adjusting to the longer wake periods takes some time, so respecting their need to go to sleep early for the night is essential.

By following these tips, you will help to keep your toddler well-rested as they transition from 2-1 naps and adjust to the longer days. If you find that you need more help with your toddler’s sleep than this article provides, purchase a consultation to have private, one-on-one help to resolve the issues quickly!

Has your toddler transitioned yet? If so, share your experience in the comments below and remember to join our weekly Facebook Q and A sessions to chat with other tired parents!

22 08, 2014

Co-Sleeping To Crib: How to Make the Transition

August 22nd, 2014|Categories: Baby Sleep, Co-Sleeping, Toddler Sleep|Tags: |

Co-Sleeping.

It’s a concept sometimes loaded with controversy.

However, many families choose to do it-whether it is pre-planned and intentional, or reactive and out of desperation.

Regardless of the reason, if you are at the point where you are ready to transition your child from co-sleeping (bed-sharing) with you, to sleeping in their own space, you might be feeling a bit nervous. A thousand questions can pop into your mind, namely: How do I get from bed to crib as painlessly as possible?

As a pediatric sleep consultant, I’ve helped many parents successfully navigate through this transition. Although it can seem daunting at the start, having a plan in place will help ease your hesitations and see success.

Here are five tips to assist with the transition.

Rest Up For Success

Begin with ensuring that your child is well-rested. This one step is critical for a smooth transition, yet many parents fail to do it. An overtired child is going to resist sleeping in a new location a lot more AND have more night wakings, than a well-rested child. To prevent this, maintain a regular nap routine and keep bedtime early.

Agree on a Time

Next, talk with your partner and determine a date for when you would like your child in their own space. Having a goal will help you put your plan into action.

Create Positive Associations

Before making the switch to the new sleeping location, allow your child to spend some playtime in their crib every day. At first, when it is new to them, stay close and play games of peek-a-boo, or let them hang out with their favourite toy. As their confidence grows, leave the room for a few seconds to a few minutes to allow your child to get accustomed with being in that space independently.

Relocate

The next step is to move with your child into their room. Take a mattress to the floor of your child’s room and co-sleep in there for one to three nights. Move a little further away from your child each night during this phase.

Into the Crib

The final step is to put your child to sleep for the night in their crib. Once you do this, it is important to be consistent with it. Like any skill we teach our children, we can only expect them to be as consistent as we are. Taking them out after the first night waking and returning to co-sleeping is unfair to your child as it’s confusing. Have confidence in your child and trust that they can learn new skills!

Transitioning from co-sleeping to crib can seem challenging at first, but if you follow these tips, everyone will be sleeping happily in their own bed before you know it!

 

This article first appeared on  Modern Mama.

 

After you read the article, come back here and let us know in the comments below, what worked for you when you transitioned your little one.

22 07, 2014

Want Your Child to Sleep Better? The Timing Is Everything!

July 22nd, 2014|Categories: Baby Sleep, Preschooler Sleep, Sleeping Through the Night, Toddler Sleep|

When it comes to children and sleep, tired parents want to know how to help their child sleep better. The problem is, where to begin?

There is so much information out there, that it’s hard to sort out fact from opinion.

Add in Facebook forums, friends and family’s “advice” and we end up not doing anything because of the information overload and overwhelm.

Many parents have heard the term “sleep training” and wonder if that is what is needed. It may be, but there is something much more important that needs to be addressed first, otherwise sleep training efforts will fail.

Do you want your child to sleep better?

The majority of sleep issues in children that I encounter as a certified pediatric sleep consultant fall into two categories; dependency on sleep associations and insufficient sleep amounts.

While sleep training can help change sleep associations, a more important issue; having a healthy sleep routine, (which doesn’t require any formal sleep training at all), is often overlooked when parents are struggling to solve their child’s sleep problems.

If a child’s routine isn’t on track, that is, they aren’t waking up, napping and going to bed at the right biological times for their age, they can become overtired, or sleep deprived, extremely quickly.

It can be hard to believe that that term ‘sleep deprivation’ may pertains to your child. I know it can seem so extreme, but young children require such large amounts of sleep, that even missing one or two hours can have significant repercussions.

Is your child overtired? Here are some common signs:

  • Your child wakes up crying during the night, in the morning and/or after a nap
  • Your child cries, arches their back, squirms or throws a tantrum before a sleep period or while you’re trying to do your wind down routine
  • Your child frequently starts the day earlier than 6:00am
  • Once your child is sleeping, it is fitful and short; waking every few hours in the night or after 25-30 minutes for a nap
  • Your child will frequently fall asleep during a car ride, even if it’s short and/or they just had a nap
  • Your toddler or preschooler becomes cranky, irritable, emotional, defiant, or hyper in the late afternoon

How to Get Back on Track

To help get a child’s sleep on track, I frequently recommend that parents ensure that nap and bedtimes match biological rhythms or sleep windows after 4 months of age. The reason for this is scientifically based.

Our bodies are regulated by naturally occurring circadian rhythms or body clocks, which are controlled by a master clock called the Suprachiasmatic Nucleus or SCN for short. The SCN is responsible for our sleep/wake cycles, feeding patterns, body temperature regulation and other cycle fluctuations. The SCN is located in the brain, close to where the left and right optic nerves cross paths.

Why Do We Need to Consider Light Intake?

So why is it important to know about how light impacts our kids’ sleep?Because children’s sleep/wake cycles (and yours too) are regulated by the amount of light that is received by the SCN.

As the child’s brain perceives different intensities of light throughout the day, it will regulate when the child is best suited for a nap or bedtime.
If a child naps at a time when the SCN isn’t preparing the body to sleep, or if they are kept up too long when their body is actually biologically ready to sleep, they are going against their natural sleep drive.

The longer they stay up past their sleep window, stimulating hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline are released into bloodstream in an attempt to fight the fatigue.

Want more tips to help your child sleep better? Get your FREE copy of Help Your Child Sleep Through the Night.

It seems counter-intuitive, but overtired children do not fall asleep easily nor sleep solidly once asleep.

The more overtired they become and the harder it is for them to eventually settle to sleep. This is why many of my clients first come to me with the complaint that their child is resistant to sleep, is “wired” or hyper and doesn’t look tired, even though the parents know this can’t be the case.

This is why the timing of sleep is a crucial factor when establishing a healthy sleep routine in children.

If this key component isn’t addressed, then sleep problems will often persist.

When parents master this critical element of their child’s routine with a solid and consistent nap routine and well-timed bedtime, sleep issues will have a much higher chance of being resolved quickly.

Joleen Dilk Salyn is a certified pediatric sleep consultant and founder of Baby Sleep 101. She helps tired parents get their children sleeping through the night by working with the science of sleep and healthy sleep best practices. She is the Western Canadian Representative of the International Association of Child Sleep Consultants and in addition to her certification as a sleep consultant, also holds a Bachelor of Education, and Post Baccalaureate in Education. Joleen is also a mother to two wonderful children.

 

17 06, 2014

Short Naps Explained

June 17th, 2014|Categories: Baby Sleep, Naps, Toddler Sleep|Tags: , , , , |

Does your child continually take short naps? Modern Mama recently featured Baby Sleep 101’s article on the reasons for short naps and how to change that in Short Naps Explained.

2 06, 2014

How to Stop Your Toddler’s Food-Related Stalling Tactics at Bedtime

June 2nd, 2014|Categories: Feeding Tips, Guest Post, Preschooler Sleep, Toddler Sleep|

This article comes to us from guest blogger and child-feeding expert; Kristen Yarker from kristenyarker.com. She provides us with another commonly asked question about food and sleep. You can see her previous guest blog article, “Will Starting Solids Help Your Baby Sleep Better” here.

Today, Kristen answers the following;

“My toddler will only go to sleep after being given a bottle or milk/juice/water-does this mean they are still hungry? If I don’t give it to them, they scream and cry until I do.”

Using a beverage to transition a toddler to sleep is a habit that usually starts when they’re much younger babies. We do this because it works (it gets kids to fall asleep). However it’s a habit that does cause a couple of problems:

Tooth Decay

Putting babies to sleep with anything besides water leads to tooth decay. The natural sugars in cows’ milk, goats’ milk, breast milk, formula and juice cause tooth decay. And while it’s true that their baby teeth will fall out, the decay can cause damage to permanent (adult) teeth. We health professionals call it “baby bottle mouth”. A search on Google Images brings up all sorts of awful pictures. Trust me, you want to prevent this.

Picky Eating at Dinner and Poor Nutrition for Toddlers

Toddlers are clever. Many put together that they don’t have to try more challenging foods at dinner because just a short time later, they can fill their tummies with their bedtime milk or juice. This creates both picky eating behaviour at dinner and can cause children to have unbalanced eating habits and not get the nutrition that they need.

Many smart toddlers also learn that while other bedtime stall tactics like “one more story” or “I need to potty” don’t work, “I’m hungry” works like magic. They aren’t actually hungry, they’ve just learned to push your buttons to effectively delay going to bed.

The solution is twofold – one sleep-focused and one nutrition-related.

Sleep solution

Teach your child to transition to sleep without a beverage. Joleen teaches these solutions.

Nutrition solution

Provide 5 or 6 opportunities to eat each day (3 meals and 2 – 3 snacks). This may or may not include a bedtime snack. At each opportunity to eat, provide both familiar foods and challenging foods. Often kids only see challenging foods at dinnertime and get favourite foods at bedtime snack. This inadvertently fuels picky eating at dinner. Instead, offer foods from 2 or more food groups at snacks (including bedtime snack), offering a food that your child hasn’t tried before (this may be a new food or something that they’ve seen before but haven’t wanted to try). By providing 5 or 6 opportunities to eat each day your child will have enough opportunities to get the nutrition that they need during the daytime and they won’t be hungry at bedtime. Remember this as your toddler uses their (previously powerful) tactic of claiming hunger to prevent going to bed. Lastly, be sure to brush teeth after the last food/ bottle and before bedtime.

 

Kristen Yarker, MSc, RD

Child-Feeding Expert

Helping Moms and Dads support their picky eaters to try new foods on their own (without being forceful or sneaky)

 

www.kristenyarker.com

www.facebook.com/KristenYarkerNutrition

Twitter: @kristenyarker

Pinterest: kristenyarker

 

Do you have a toddler that refuses to go to sleep without food or drink? How did you solve the problem? Did you find this article helpful? Tell us in the comments below.