"Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house not a creature was stirring…” words that give a magical tingle to any parent anticipating the excitement of when their children wake to see their stockings at the end of the bed, yet for many parents those magical words couldn’t be further from the truth! A recent poll revealed that only half of parents (45.8%) say that their child regularly sleeps through the night, with more than 11% getting up three or more times, not a recipe for a well rested mum.
s a trained sleep expert, I can attest that uninterrupted sleep is the most restful, healthy kind of sleep for infants and adults. Sleep that is broken leads to daytime tiredness, a decrease in mental flexibility and attention, as well as considerable impairments of mood. The juggling act of keeping the turkey moist, the potatoes crispy, making sure the glasses are filled and guests out of the kitchen (a fine art on the best of days!) can become a nightmare when you’ve been up since 5am and already been woken several times the night before!
Add a grisly overtired toddler and the magic of Christmas starts to lose its shine somewhat.
So how can you get your child to drift off to sleep happily at bedtime and not wake until a respectable hour, even on Christmas Day?! Well I wish I could tell you where to buy that magical dust that I tell my children the big red man sprinkles on them before he comes down the chimney, sadly I can’t. What I can tell you is that every child is capable of sleeping soundly for 10-12 hours a night waking well rested, attentive and cheerful, they simply need to learn how. My top tips for sleep can be downloaded from www.babysleepthenight.com to get you on the right track. For many with a child that wakes every night, implementing a plan is a daunting task, if you find yourself in that situation then possibly the best present you can give yourself is to ask for help, something many parents are afraid to do.
The poll revealed that a third of exhausted parents lie about their children’s sleeping habits because they want to be seen as perfect parents. If this sounds familiar then you are not alone and your child not sleeping is certainly not a reflection on how good a parent you are! Any parent knows there’s no manual to the toughest, and most rewarding, job in the world so do not think you’re failing if your child doesn’t sleep well, you’re not alone and there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Karen’s Five Top Tips
1. Don’t over schedule yourself – trying to pack in late nights on top of all the excitement will only make sleep harder for your overtired child. Stick to routines and bedtime as much as possible.
2. Make sure you bring your child’s sleeping toy/ blanket and their unwashed sheets from home so that the smell is familiar.
3. Don’t share your bed with your child even for a few nights, you could find yourself having to teach them to sleep independently all over again when you get home.
4. If a separate room is unavailable then try to make some sort of private space for your baby to sleep, anywhere that you can build a partition so that if she has a night waking she is not excited to see you and thinking it’s playtime!
5. It is very normal for children to test the boundaries when they are somewhere new, this may mean that your baby cries for some time at bedtime or has a night waking. The best way to deal with this is not to do much different than if you were at home, go in and offer a little reassurance every 5 minutes or so, but other than that don’t bend!
For more information please go to www.babysleepthenight.com or call Karen on 01794 341172 for a free 15 minute consultation.