April 13, 2016

All About Kids: Toddlers and Sleep

My daughter is now 3 years old (I seriously can't believe it) and for the most part, we were blessed with a great sleeper.  She started sleeping through the night at 6 months old and would sleep a solid 12 hours.  Up until very recently, getting her to bed at night was relatively easy too.  Our nightly routine is pretty typical...bath at 7:30pm, brush teeth, read a story, and in bed by 8:15pm.  I give her a big kiss and hug before I leave her room and she'd soothe herself to sleep.  Best of all, she'd stay asleep until 7:45am the next morning (which is amazing, I know).  We transitioned her to a "big girl bed" about 7 months ago and the change could not have been smoother.  I for sure thought that she would get out of her bed multiple times a night, but that wasn't the case at all.  She stayed in her bed all night long as well as when she woke up in the morning.  She would play with her stuffed animals and wait for me to come in.  Well, this all came to a screeching halt about 3 weeks ago.  Our perfect sleeper is now waking up 1-2 times a night crying, getting out of her bed and coming into our bedroom.  Let's just say that getting her back to bed is pretty much a complete nightmare, and this mama is tired.  I will say that if there's one thing I've learned since becoming a parent, it's that nothing remains constant.  There are new challenges daily and all of us are figuring out this whole parenting thing as we go along.

Not much has changed with Eliana's routine other than dropping her afternoon nap.  We knew it was time for her to drop her nap for two reasons.  She would fight her nap every afternoon and getting her to bed at night on days she napped was impossible.  Often times, she wouldn't fall asleep until after 9:30pm.  She's in preschool from 9am-12:30pm Monday-Friday and we now do quiet time for one hour after school.  We've shifted her bath to 6:30pm and her bedtime to 7pm.  What's nice is that she's out like a light within 3 minutes of her head hitting pillow.  It's staying asleep that's now an issue.  I know that toddlers have vivid imaginations and often times their dreams wake them.  Thankfully, my daughter has never had night terrors, but I do think her dreams are waking her.  I bought her the "Ok To Wake" alarm clock, but she's scared of it and doesn't want it in her room.  When she wakes at night, I walk her back to her bed (sometimes 3-4 times!), tell her that mommy and daddy love her and explain that it's still nighttime and that all of us need to rest our bodies.  She has a night light in her room, stuffed animals in her bed, even a music box that she often turns on for comfort.

So talk to me mamas.  I'd love to hear any tips/advice from any of you that have dealt with toddler sleep issues.  As with most things that are child related, I am hoping that this just a phase that too shall pass.