We spend the first year of baby’s life yearning for it. Routines, methods, schedules – we will try anything to arrive at the holy grail that is a baby that sleeps through the night.
Poor old Google is absolutely worn out from mothers inputting the words ‘sleep’ and ‘baby’. Exhausted mothers to newborns everywhere are desperate for an answer. What they don’t want to hear is that it is simply something that gets easier with time. And eventually, baby will sleep. (Sorry new Mums reading this, but it is true!)
They don’t have sleep issues. They go to bed easily and fall asleep. Agus sin é.
Or do they?
Well, not quite. Now in my house, we have encountered a fair few sleep problems, compliments of my perma-wired 4 year old. Having autism, sleep issues come with the territory. So I guess that you could say that I sometimes have an extra tough battle on my hands. Then again, having spoken to many a mama friend over a large coffee or three, they too have had the toddler that just wont quit come bed time.
So, in the spirit of mama camaraderie, I have decided to share some of my tried and very tested (oh so tested) tips and ideas that can help get that little person down for the night.
- Set times – you need to have your kid up at the same time and going to bed at the same time, every day. So set times that work and stick to them. Young bodies need a little bit of extra help in regulating their clocks. Same is true for us adults if you want quality sleep.
- Set the scene – ditch the TV, electronics and anything stimulating from their room. Try to keep toys out of the bedroom. The room needs to be dark, however most kids fear the dark so invest in a Gro Light. I got mine in Boots.
- Set the routine – this is a big winner for us. Follow the same routine every night. For us, it’s a bath, a night-time story and drink and off he goes. We also stick to the same person putting him to bed each night which helps. Whatever your routine, stick to it. If you are having issues with a toddler getting up a lot, now is not a good time to plan nights out, trips away etc.
- TV/iPad – we all let our kids watch the screen. Well I certainly do. And yes all the doctors and specialists will say not to but I am sorry, that’s life. However, letting them watch it before bed is a recipe for disaster. Have you ever been in bed on your phone and found it hard to switch off? Cut out the screen 2 hours before bed if you can.
- Daytime antics – fresh air, playgrounds, walking, play centers…the more activity, the better. (For all of us). Get em out, get em active. Also, try to avoid naps and if they have to, have them earlier in the day. Hard when you are travelling in the car – this is what I keep the iPad for – keeps him awake. Use whatever will keep them occupied for the journey.
Maybe there is nothing new here to you, maybe you have done all of this and still you have no luck (or sleep).
Here are a few little extras that I have used….
Lavender – I buy a good quality lavender oil and add a few drops in the bath. I also use an oil burner in his room and burn the lavender in there about an hour before bed. Make sure you remove this when they go to bed – curiosity is a very dangerous thing.
Epsom Salts – again I use these in the bath. Epsom salts are said to increase levels of magnesium in the body, which can be lowered by stress. They also relax the muscles of the body.
Magnesium oil – bought in spray form, it can be sprayed on the soles of the feet, just before turning in. My little man gets a little foot rub as I do this which he really enjoys. (Ruined, I know). I bought Magnesium oil in Holland and Barrett.
And finally, do your best not to let your little person see you stressing when they are giving you a hard time. When you are putting them back to bed (for the tenth time) do not engage in conversation, the game of ‘why’ or inquisitive toddler conversations. If Mammy or Daddy are ‘boring’ then the game of getting up and down becomes boring.
Remember, they will go through phases of this. But they are just that – phases. And someday, sleep will come again. Might be a few years away (in my case) but we shall sleep again!!
“Even where sleep is concerned, too much is a bad thing.” – Homer
Homer didn’t have kids.
Homer was a dick.
Don’t be like Homer.