We’re thrilled to welcome Certified Sleep Consultant and Developmental Specialist, Jensine Casey of Baby O & I, back to the blog as today’s guest poster. Keep reading for her guidance on three popular sleep topics. And thank you for sending your questions in! If you still have a question for Jensine, email it to firstname.lastname@example.org and she’ll try to answer it in her next guest post.
I love to help moms with their sleep questions, and as it turns out, lots of moms have the same questions!! Since children follow the same developmental sequence (although the timing can vary!) moms always want to know about the big ones. Below, I address some common questions and concerns about sleep and how to combat them.
Having siblings share a room:
Growing up, I know lots of siblings that shared a room (my husband included!). However, I’m sure there were lots of parents wondering how to make the switch, and when? I always suggest making sure both children are already great independent sleepers before putting them together. If a child is not a great sleeper, it will not be solved by going into a room with a great sleeper. Once both children have been sleeping independently through the night for at least 2 weeks, the switch can be made.
Whatever child has already been sleeping in that room (typically the older one), make sure that their routine and location in the room does not change. Toddlers don’t do well when changes are made to their routine, so it will be very important to keep everything consistent for them. When bringing the younger sibling in, situate the children so they cannot easily see each other to minimize distractions. I also recommend the strategic use of sound machines so that each child won’t notice when the other is moving around or making a bit of noise. It will take some adjustment for everyone, but with consistency and time it will be successful!
This is always my least favorite thing to talk to parents about, as no one wants to give up the only peace and quiet they may have all day! Typically between the ages of 3 and 5 children drop their nap. The age this happens varies depending upon the child, but you can tell it is time to end them when:
- It is interfering with getting a solid 11-12 hours of sleep at night. This could be by taking a long time to fall asleep at bedtime, waking for long amounts in the middle of the night or waking very early in the morning.
- You have attempted to cap naps to one hour.
- Your child is fighting nap times and not falling asleep.
- All of these have been going on for two weeks or longer.
Once it has been determined that naps are over, then comes the big question, “now what?” This is the perfect time to introduce quiet time. Although it will take a bit to build up, having the expectation of quiet time helps you both get a well-deserved break. Starting with 30 minutes and building up to an hour (or longer) with some activities including puzzles, books, coloring (if okay to do unsupervised!), or setting up an invitation to play are perfect to foster independence and give you a chance to still have time for yourself.
Transition To A Toddler Bed:
This is also a big milestone that most parents are excited for! Moving to a toddler bed seems like a big deal, and something parents feel like they have to do by a certain age.However, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!
Typically around age 3 children can understand having to stay in a bed without seeing the physical boundaries, and can understand a consequence said for if they do get out of bed. Once you make the switch to a toddler (or larger) bed, keep the routine the exact same. The more things that are consistent about bedtime, the more the child will feel secure in this new space. If after leaving your child gets up, pairing consequences with rewards is the best solution. These consequences will vary depending on the child, as will the rewards. If a child does require a parent to lay with them or starts to wander into the parents room, being consistent with your responses are key to let the child know that the rules have not changed!
If you have any other sleep related questions or concerns, I am happy to answer them! Safe Sleep and Sweet Dreams – Jensine.
This post is sponsored by Baby O & I.