28 01, 2019

Crib To Bed Transition

January 28th, 2019|Categories: Preschooler Sleep, Toddler Sleep, Transition Tips|

Here it comes; the crib to bed transition. Are you ready?

There comes a time in every child’s life when they outgrow their crib, both physically and developmentally. As much as we may want them to stay little forever, this can be an exciting milestone in your child’s life.

The crib to bed transition is when a child is ready to make the move out of their crib and into a more traditional ‘bed’ style sleeping surface. Whether they are cognitivally ready or developmentally, it has to happen sooner or later.

Tip One: Timing is Everything

As with everything in child sleep development, there’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ for tackling this transition. And while, many parents will move their toddler between the ages of two and four, I recommend waiting as long as possible. Personally, I find that when this transition happens after three years of age, it goes very smoothly.

Older and Wiser

The reason I recommend waiting until your toddler is three years old before making this transition is three-fold.

First at this age, your child’s impulse control is more developed.

They have learned, and are still learning, to control their impulses. At a younger age, they will act without thinking, which will not make for a smooth transition. At three years old, they might have the desire to get out of bed, but they are learning to rationalize and control these impulses.

Second, at three years old, most children have a pretty firm understanding of rules.
Threenagers have a much better understanding of boundaries and consequences should rules be broken, than their two year old counterparts.

Setting firm limits that your child can understand and adhere to, will help make the crib to big kid bed transition smoother for the both of you.

Lastly, kids can feel overwhelmed when their familiar crib is gone.

A crib can provide a  familiar sense of security, even to those kids who are physically outgrowing it.  When we remove them from it, it can feel a bit unusual and somewhat disrupting to a young child.

Waiting until they are three years old can help avoid this as they are more developed and emotionally equipped to deal with the transition into a new sleep setting.

How to make the crib to bed transition

As with any transition, there are steps to follow to help the situation go smoothly. Once you have decided your child is ready to transition to a big kid bed, here are more tips to consider.

Tip Two: Talk to them

In the lead up to this transition, you can talk to your child about it and explain what is going to happen. Keep it fun and upbeat so that they are excited about the move.

This will help them prepare mentally and emotionally for the switch, rather than having their crib disappear all of a sudden. When talking to them, it’s kind of like you’re trying to ‘sell’ them on the idea of a big kid bed.

Whatever you feel your child will respond best to, use it. You may want to say that it means they’re more grown up, they’ll have more room in the bed as opposed to a crib and/or it will be more comfortable for them.

Tip Three: Activities to Prepare

Another fun activity to help sell them on the idea of moving beds is to select some new accessories together.

You can go shopping for new bedding and sheets, and maybe some new cuddly toys for the bed too.

Countdown calendars can be good fun and a great way to prepare your child, but if you choose to use a countdown calendar, don’t let it go on for more than a few days.

Tip Four: Taking Ownership

Allow them to take ownership, within reason, of this transition. You could let them choose where in the room they would like their big kid bed to be placed, which stuffies to have on their bed, or which sheets and pillows they want.

Try and let this transition happen in a way that feels fun and exciting and like they have control over the transition.

Tip Five: Set Your Child Up for Success With Expectations

Are you familiar with the story; If You Give A Mouse a Cookie? It can serve as a cautionary tale of what happens if you give a toddler a bed without rules. 😉

Bedtimes can easily spin out of control as toddlers are notorious for trying to test limits (and your patience).

Want to keep bedtimes on track before make the crib to bed transition? Get tips on bedtimes, night wakings and more by downloading your copy of : Sleep Solutions for Toddlers + Preschoolers: Easy Tips for Exhausted Parents

To cut down on the requests for multiple glasses of water, stories and hugs, I highly recommend setting up a simple list of expectations.

Not only does this help your little one again take ownership of their sleep routine, but it creates a very specific outline for them to follow.

When creating the the rules or expectations, make it into a fun activity with your child get their input into it.

Make sure that you give clear instructions on what is expected, but don’t over complicate the rules. They need to be simple and unambiguous.

Tip Six: Good Day Sunshine!

While it’s important to set rules and expectations around bed time and going to sleep, don’t overlook the morning and waking up.

Does your child know what to do when they wake up in the morning?

What time is acceptable to start the day?

Should they come out of their room by themselves?

Should they call for you?

When creating rules around morning wake up, remember to keep them realistic! If they tend to wake up around 6:00am, asking them to wait until 7:00am is too long for most young children.  You can always work towards that as a goal, but in the beginning, to help them feel successful, keep the interval much shorter.

Tip Seven: Consistency is Your Friend

It’s very important that you stick to the rules strictly in the first two weeks of the transition from crib to bed. This is the time where your toddler will test you and the boundaries that have been set.  

If you give in or give up, you set the tone for them to continue that behaviour in the future. They can only be as consistent as you are. 

Tip Eight: Follow Through With Logical Consequences

When (not, *if*) they break the rules follow through and employ logical consequences. However keep in mind, this is very different from a punishment.

Punishments breed shame and resent and never help the child to learn.

Consequences are respectful ways for the child to realize the direct impact their choice has.

When deciding on consequences, in order for them to be relevant, respectful and a teaching opportunity, they should be directly related to the mistake the child made.

For example, if they came out of their room at night, the logical consequence may be that they don’t go to the park the next day because they didn’t get a good sleep and are too tired.

While it’s important to ensure there are consequences for their actions, don’t shame, blame or manipulate. Avoid getting into power struggles with them, just have respectful consequences and they will catch on very, very quickly. 

Conquer the Crib to Bed Transition

No transition is easy for you or your child.

Believe me.

Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.

However, at three years old, your toddler is more developed and able to cope with and understand transitions. Unlike a the two-to-three nap transition which happens at a much younger age, you can have more rational conversations with your three year old to help them understand what is happening and why.

The crib to big kid bed transition can be an exciting one for your child, as long as you present it that way. If you’re stressed about it, your child will pick up on that and be worried too.

Remember that while this has every possibility to be an exciting time, it’s still a new way of doing things, so rules and boundaries need to be set.
Set clear expectations, and follow through with helping your child learn through logical consequences.

Kids are quick learners and before you know it, your toddler will easily be going to sleep in their new bed each and every night.

Need more help getting your toddler’s sleep on track? Grab your free copy of Sleep Solutions for Toddler + Preschoolers; Easy Tips for Exhausted Parents.  

Tired of reading?

Ready for action?

Schedule your consultation today, so you can start sleeping better tomorrow.

27 01, 2019

Crib To Bed Transition

January 27th, 2019|Categories: Preschooler Sleep, Toddler Sleep, Transition Tips|

Here it comes; the crib to bed transition. Are you ready?

There comes a time in every child’s life when they outgrow their crib, both physically and developmentally. As much as we may want them to stay little forever, this can be an exciting milestone in your child’s life.

The crib to bed transition is when a child is ready to make the move out of their crib and into a more traditional ‘bed’ style sleeping surface. Whether they are cognitivally ready or developmentally, it has to happen sooner or later.

Tip One: Timing is Everything

As with everything in child sleep development, there’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ for tackling this transition. And while, many parents will move their toddler between the ages of two and four, I recommend waiting as long as possible. Personally, I find that when this transition happens after three years of age, it goes very smoothly.

Older and Wiser

The reason I recommend waiting until your toddler is three years old before making this transition is three-fold.

First at this age, your child’s impulse control is more developed.

They have learned, and are still learning, to control their impulses. At a younger age, they will act without thinking, which will not make for a smooth transition. At three years old, they might have the desire to get out of bed, but they are learning to rationalize and control these impulses.

Second, at three years old, most children have a pretty firm understanding of rules.
Threenagers have a much better understanding of boundaries and consequences should rules be broken, than their two year old counterparts.

Setting firm limits that your child can understand and adhere to, will help make the crib to big kid bed transition smoother for the both of you.

Lastly, kids can feel overwhelmed when their familiar crib is gone.

A crib can provide a  familiar sense of security, even to those kids who are physically outgrowing it.  When we remove them from it, it can feel a bit unusual and somewhat disrupting to a young child.

Waiting until they are three years old can help avoid this as they are more developed and emotionally equipped to deal with the transition into a new sleep setting.

How to make the crib to bed transition

As with any transition, there are steps to follow to help the situation go smoothly. Once you have decided your child is ready to transition to a big kid bed, here are more tips to consider.

Tip Two: Talk to them

In the lead up to this transition, you can talk to your child about it and explain what is going to happen. Keep it fun and upbeat so that they are excited about the move.

This will help them prepare mentally and emotionally for the switch, rather than having their crib disappear all of a sudden. When talking to them, it’s kind of like you’re trying to ‘sell’ them on the idea of a big kid bed.

Whatever you feel your child will respond best to, use it. You may want to say that it means they’re more grown up, they’ll have more room in the bed as opposed to a crib and/or it will be more comfortable for them.

Tip Three: Activities to Prepare

Another fun activity to help sell them on the idea of moving beds is to select some new accessories together.

You can go shopping for new bedding and sheets, and maybe some new cuddly toys for the bed too.

Countdown calendars can be good fun and a great way to prepare your child, but if you choose to use a countdown calendar, don’t let it go on for more than a few days.

Tip Four: Taking Ownership

Allow them to take ownership, within reason, of this transition. You could let them choose where in the room they would like their big kid bed to be placed, which stuffies to have on their bed, or which sheets and pillows they want.

Try and let this transition happen in a way that feels fun and exciting and like they have control over the transition.

Tip Five: Set Your Child Up for Success With Expectations

Are you familiar with the story; If You Give A Mouse a Cookie? It can serve as a cautionary tale of what happens if you give a toddler a bed without rules. 😉

Bedtimes can easily spin out of control as toddlers are notorious for trying to test limits (and your patience).

Want to keep bedtimes on track before make the crib to bed transition? Get tips on bedtimes, night wakings and more by downloading your copy of : Sleep Solutions for Toddlers + Preschoolers: Easy Tips for Exhausted Parents

To cut down on the requests for multiple glasses of water, stories and hugs, I highly recommend setting up a simple list of expectations.

Not only does this help your little one again take ownership of their sleep routine, but it creates a very specific outline for them to follow.

When creating the the rules or expectations, make it into a fun activity with your child get their input into it.

Make sure that you give clear instructions on what is expected, but don’t over complicate the rules. They need to be simple and unambiguous.

Tip Six: Good Day Sunshine!

While it’s important to set rules and expectations around bed time and going to sleep, don’t overlook the morning and waking up.

Does your child know what to do when they wake up in the morning?

What time is acceptable to start the day?

Should they come out of their room by themselves?

Should they call for you?

When creating rules around morning wake up, remember to keep them realistic! If they tend to wake up around 6:00am, asking them to wait until 7:00am is too long for most young children.  You can always work towards that as a goal, but in the beginning, to help them feel successful, keep the interval much shorter.

Tip Seven: Consistency is Your Friend

It’s very important that you stick to the rules strictly in the first two weeks of the transition from crib to bed. This is the time where your toddler will test you and the boundaries that have been set.  

If you give in or give up, you set the tone for them to continue that behaviour in the future. They can only be as consistent as you are. 

Tip Eight: Follow Through With Logical Consequences

When (not, *if*) they break the rules follow through and employ logical consequences. However keep in mind, this is very different from a punishment.

Punishments breed shame and resent and never help the child to learn.

Consequences are respectful ways for the child to realize the direct impact their choice has.

When deciding on consequences, in order for them to be relevant, respectful and a teaching opportunity, they should be directly related to the mistake the child made.

For example, if they came out of their room at night, the logical consequence may be that they don’t go to the park the next day because they didn’t get a good sleep and are too tired.

While it’s important to ensure there are consequences for their actions, don’t shame, blame or manipulate. Avoid getting into power struggles with them, just have respectful consequences and they will catch on very, very quickly. 

Conquer the Crib to Bed Transition

No transition is easy for you or your child.

Believe me.

Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.

However, at three years old, your toddler is more developed and able to cope with and understand transitions. Unlike a the two-to-three nap transition which happens at a much younger age, you can have more rational conversations with your three year old to help them understand what is happening and why.

The crib to big kid bed transition can be an exciting one for your child, as long as you present it that way. If you’re stressed about it, your child will pick up on that and be worried too.

Remember that while this has every possibility to be an exciting time, it’s still a new way of doing things, so rules and boundaries need to be set.
Set clear expectations, and follow through with helping your child learn through logical consequences.

Kids are quick learners and before you know it, your toddler will easily be going to sleep in their new bed each and every night.

Need more help getting your toddler’s sleep on track? Grab your free copy of Sleep Solutions for Toddler + Preschoolers; Easy Tips for Exhausted Parents. 

26 10, 2015

Fall Back: 4 Tips for Your Baby and Daylight Savings Time

October 26th, 2015|Categories: Daylight Saving Time, Transition Tips|

The End of daylight saving time and Your Baby; How to Cope

With the end of daylight saving time coming up in November, everyone’s looking forward to that “extra” hour of sleep we’ve all been hearing about.

But the parents of young children might already be starting to worry. They’re imagining what life will be like if their child who’s been consistently waking up around 5:00 am will now be ready to start her day at 4:00 am!

If this sounds like you, there are four methods to help you get prepared and make the transition as smooth as possible. There’s still plenty of time!

But first: if your child wakes up too early already, it’s time to figure out why.

What do I mean by “early”? It’s common for children to wake naturally between 5:30 am and 7:00 am. But if your child is regularly waking earlier than that, there’s probably a reason.

  • Your child is overtired at bedtime the night before. This is the most common reason for waking up before 6:00 am. And unfortunately, being overtired is a frequently missed as a possibly culprit of early morning wakings. To solve your child’s sleep debt, you’ll need to look at your child’s whole routine and make sure she’s getting the right amount of naps during the day and that bedtime is early enough. It’s worth working on good, healthy sleep habits now so a change like daylight saving time ending, won’t disrupt your child’s routine more than necessary.

 

  • Your child is hungry. Especially is your baby is under 9 months, she may simply need to be fed. Try offering a feed at this early morning waking. If she goes right back to sleep, you’ve found your solution.

 

  • Your child is uncomfortable. Common parts of life for a baby, like teething, a wet diaper, or a room that’s too hot or too cold, can be very uncomfortable and cause your child to wake up early.

 

  • Your child can hear too much outside noise. Did you know that your lightest stages of sleep happen in the early morning hours? The same is true for your child. Dogs barking, horns honking, a garbage truck driving by – these can all wake up your child just as easily.

Want more sleep tips for your baby? Download the FREE Baby Sleep Basics ebook here. 

Once you’ve addressed the sleep issues your child might be facing (or if your child already sleeps great and you want to keep it that way), you still have options to make the transition back into standard time even easier.

1. The simple approach: let your child adjust on his own. We all have internal clocks that operate on the light around us – the amount and the timing. And just like you’ll adjust to the time change in a few days, your little one can do the same. To make it even easier on your child, you could gradually move his bedtime forward by 15 minutes each night. He’ll be caught up soon!

2. A bit more strategy: shift forward to fall back. Four days before the time change, move your child’s entire routine (sleep, meals, wake up time, and playtime) ahead by 15 minutes, and continue that each day. Keep in mind that at first, you’ll need to leave your child in bed after they wake up from sleep times (naps and overnight) because they probably won’t sleep in automatically right away.

3. The complete routine overhaul. If you’ve got a child who gets overtired easily, this is the strategy for you. You’ll begin a full week before the time change and implement the 15-minute changes very gradually. On some days, you won’t switch the routine at all. Your child’s body will slowly catch up before being moved forward again. With this approach it’s important that you leave your child in bed longer, even if they continue to wake up at the regular time.

4. The happy medium. When daylight saving time ends, move your child onto the new clock time that day. However, with this technique, we also stay flexible with their routine for the following week. Maybe bedtime will need to stay early, or nap time will need to be moved – this method is all about taking cues from your child.

Changing up a child’s routine is never easy, but daylight saving time doesn’t have to lead to meltdowns. All it takes it a little preparation. With a well-rested baby in your house, you and your family will be less stressed and ready to enjoy the Fall.

10 08, 2015

Choosing a Daycare that Respects your Child and Sleep

August 10th, 2015|Categories: Daycare and Sleep, Transition Tips|

Choosing a Daycare that Respects Sleep (Daycare Series, Part 1)

Choosing a daycare can be a stressful endeavor for any parent that works outside of the home. Not only are emotions running high, but an array of factors can play into the decision in where to place your trust.

In this three part series, we will look at the most common issues for parents preparing to work outside the home and how to manage their child’s sleep routine. Choosing a daycare, preparing your child for the transition, and how to manage your child’s sleep once she’s in daycare, will all be explored.

Let’s begin with items to consider when choosing a daycare.

Choosing a Daycare Tip #1

Location, Location, Location

When deciding on a facility or home daycare, you need to weigh the pros and cons of its location. Do you want a place that is close to home or close to work? Is it easily accessible for both parents to do drop-offs and pick-ups, or does the location hinder one parent from helping to  share the job?

If your child is sick, you may want to consider if it’s more important for you to be able to pick her up quickly or get her home faster. The same would go for you as a parent, if you’re feeling under the weather.

Is it close enough that your child can sleep until their normal time in the morning? What about if they need an earlier bedtime-can you manage it with the distance?

There are no right answers here, but if you consider your schedule, your child’s morning wake up and bedtimes, it can help you narrow the options.

 Choosing A Daycare Tip #2

Nap Routines

This subject is a big one for many of my clients.

Through my experience as a sleep consultant, I have worked with daycare facilities, licensed and unlicensed home daycares. I’ve given presentations at facilities for the parents, and have been hired to teach daycare workers for further professional development. So, I have seen a wide array of how naptime is dealt with.

For a large percentage of parents in Canada with one year of maternity leave, many children are entering daycare at around 12 months.

At this age, the vast majority of those children biologically still require two naps a day.

While thankfully the childcare industry is becoming more knowledgeable about healthy sleep habits and the dangers of restricting daysleep, many daycares still automatically put a 12 month old on a one nap a day routine, even if they are needing two.

Some children can handle this, while for many others, it causes a myriad of sleep difficulties after a few weeks as a sleep debt builds.

Want to get your baby on a great sleep routine before entering daycare? Download the FREE sleep resource guide.

 

I have had countless families contact me after returning to work, desperate because their child has suddenly started having troubles settling at bedtime, waking at night, or waking up extra early in the morning.

Therefore asking questions of your childcare provider’s policy about nap time is essential for harmony in your family once you return to work.

Some factors to consider are;

  • Are all children put onto a one nap a day routine, regardless of age?
  • If two naps are provided, until what age?
  • Where do children nap for the morning nap if it’s provided? (Open area, in a stroller on a walk, or in a nap room?)

 

Choosing a Daycare Tip #3

Policies

As every centre or home daycare will be unique, so to will be their policies regarding sleep. When comparing options, ask about the following;

  • Does the childcare giver follow safe sleep practices for babies?
  • Does the caregiver allow the older baby, toddler or preschooler to sleep with a favourite lovey or blanket?
  • How long does the daycare allow a child to fall asleep? Ie if the child isn’t sleeping in 10 minutes, does the caregiver intervene or end the nap?
  • What happens if the child takes a short nap?
  • What do they do if a child is crying before or after a nap?

Choosing a Daycare Tip #4

Sleep Environment

My final tip for you when choosing a daycare, is to examine the actual room that your child will be napping in. Science tells us that in order to foster deep, restorative sleep, good sleep hygiene is important.  As you investigate child care facilities see if they …

  • Darken the nap room significantly. (Note: for safety reasons, many facilities will not darken the room completely, but they should dim the lights and/or close the blinds if possible)
  • Keep the room at a comfortable temperature
  • Play white noise (preferred), music or nothing at all

Deciding who to trust for childcare is just one of many decisions you will have to make for your child. By following the above guidelines, you can begin to focus on providers who value your child’s need for sleep as much as you do. Once you have a provider, you can start to prepare your child for napping at daycare, which is the second article in this series.

Did you find a provider, but now your child sleep has gone off track? Visit our consultation page and let’s get your family sleeping again!

3 03, 2015

Daylight Savings Time Sleep Tips For Your Child; Spring Edition

March 3rd, 2015|Categories: Transition Tips|Tags: , |

Daylight Savings Time Sleep Tips

It’s that time of year again when our clocks will be moving forward and we will all lose an hour of sleep. For parents who want to help their child easily transition through Daylight Savings Time this spring, I’ve complied my top three tips in this video.

These three quick and easy Daylight Savings Time sleep tips will help your child adjust to losing one hour of sleep, by still helping them keep on their routine. Watch and then comment below which tip was your favourite.

Spring Daylight Savings Time Sleep Tips