Sleep Routine Tips for Kids.

August 24, 2017

We want to start answering more of the questions we have received centered around family life that can be more thorough a quick social media response. Today I want to dive into the topic of the great mystery of sleep habits for little ones! I think most parents have experienced desperation at some point or other. You know that feeling of fog and confusion because everyone is sleep deprived, and you feel like you are willing to sign over your life on the dotted line just to have one night of good sleep? There really is nothing worse than a child OR parent who hasn’t hit a good REM cycle in a while. With 5 little ones, have tried just about every combination and trick in the book for getting our kids to develop good sleep patterns. I don’t think I will EVER figure out that first year of life (so unpredictable!), but there are some things that have seemed to help encouraging consistent sleep routines for kids both at home and while traveling.

 

  1. Blackout curtains – They are ugly fugly, but who cares if it can create nighttime magic when the sun hasn’t set yet! Keeping the room dark has always helped my little ones calm down for sleep. Most hotel rooms have these as well so if we want to try nap time on the go, we use those dark curtains and a sound machine to catch some zzzs while traveling. It’s not as needed as they get older, but for those toddler ages it makes a big difference!
  2. Diffusers – I discovered the wonder of diffusers through a friend, and whenever there are stuffy noses, fevers, coughs, or restlessness, I use it to diffuse essential oils. It really has worked wonders and I ended up getting a couple to have in different rooms. This diffuser has worked great.
  3. Noise machines (or fans!) – I used to giggle over all of the equipment my sister would bring for her kids when we all visited home for Christmas. She would haul in large box fans! I get it now. I have no shame busting out all of the equip if it equates to an extra wink at night. We either use a ceiling fan or noise machine to drown out outside noise and lulls them to sleep. These especially have been lifesavers in hotel rooms! We use this one by skipHop and this one from amazon.
  4. Soothers for babies – Usually babies tend to get attached to a certain blanket, pacifier, or stuffed animal early on. We bring them with us on vacation plus a back up, and it always helps make them feel some familiarity when we lay them down at night. A few favorites have been this little security blanket (Max got attached to a queen size duvet so I’ve learned to down size their options;)), wubbanubs, and these paci clips.
  5. Consistent routines – We kind of winged it for the first few babies. We brought them everywhere, didn’t have schedules, and were curious about people who left social activities early to stick to a nap time. spontaneity over predictability any day was my motto! Until #3 came along and rocked my socks off. I started singing love songs to my pillow at night. I couldn’t afford mombie life anymore, so I started getting them on the same nap schedules. Even if they couldn’t fall asleep for a while, I would encourage them to rest and lay down (even after getting up 23 times), and eventually their bodies got used to the designated nap time. This was life giving for me as a parent trying to manage work and home life, as well as complete mood shifters for the kids. Currently, my oldest still has “rest time” to read or play quietly and the rest of my kids nap when they are home all at the same time. It takes at least a few weeks for my little ones to adjust to a new sleep routine. We are currently switching from summer to back to school schedules!

Granted, every child is different. Gabriel could still sleep at any given moment while my Max could skip naps and cruise until he crashes at night. If they no longer nap at a young age, rest time can still come to the rescue for a midday breather.

 

 

Sleeping arrangements – We are shifting sleeping arrangements by the month. Based on personalities, energy levels, age, etc. I feel like we are constantly working around the new phases are kids are entering. I learned pretty quick not to try to force a roommate situation or bed, floor, or crib. It’s trial and error till we find a combination that works. Usually the child that is going through some sort of sleep training (like sleeping through the night or switching from crib to bed) gets their own room, and we shift the other arrangements around that. My kids actually love sleeping all together, but for the sake of night owls vs. morning birds we try to keep this to only weekends. It’s nice though that they like to be together, and comes in handy when you are all staying in the same place while traveling! They have learned to be patient with each other in the process.


P.S. My friend Katelyn from Sweet Pea Sleep can answer all your q’s about sleep tips for babies. She has some really helpful resources and info!

 

 

 

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  • Fans always helped me sleep as a child, and still do today! I can’t stand the buzz that comes with completely silence!

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
    http://charmainenyw.com

  • I love all of these tips you shared that work for your family! So many of these tips are things I recommend to clients as well, especially while traveling! Thank you for including me in your post! <3

  • Ohhh can you give some details or info on how you set up that amazing quadruple bunk situation?? (PS- fellow Stella Mom here! 😊)

  • I think I might use some of these tips for myself, haha. i’ve been having sleeping problem in the past 2 weeks that I keep awake until 5-6 am, and then I have to get up to go to work like a zombie.

  • Blackout curtains are a must. I would probably die without them.

    Paige
    http://thehappyflammily.com

  • Kris Chatfield

    Where did you get that adorable bunk bed?! And I was always a stickler for nap time and the routine. Sometimes it’s hard – even in your own extended family – because not everyone gets that. I also always made the younger kids (even those that weren’t napping anymore) have “rest” time. Sometimes I needed a nap, or just a break. It was good for everyone! My rule was to just stay in your room and read or play quietly until the end time – I would often set a timer so they would know there was a specific limit. That helped them to stay in there without constantly asking if they could come out.

  • we’re considering flipping around sleeping arrangements here and it’s so scary! gotta remember to keep it flexible (the 5yr old wants privacy and shares with his little sister. gotta figure out who’s going to share with the baby now!)

    • It’s a constant checker game…ha! I can almost count on no sleep whenever we do shake things up, but it usually takes no more than a few days for them to get situated. Good luck Bri!

  • These are great! I am so with you on the consistent routines thing. We only have one kid (he’s a little over a year old) and we’ll be kind of lax when it comes to spending the weekend with relatives or a vacation-type trip, but for the day to day home life, I try to stick to a consistent naptime and bedtime routine, and it has been such a sanity-saver!

  • Great tips!!! The blackout curtains were a game changer for us. I wasn’t convinced that would make a big difference at all, but I was wrong! Thanks for sharing what works for you guys 👊🏼

  • The link for the diffuser takes
    You to the noise machine. I’m curious which diffuser you use… can you fix the link? Thank you!

  • I love the sound of a fan to this day- I had a sound machine which helped but I am now in the market for a new one as it broke. As an adult I now use a sleep mask to block out lights from clocks, computers, etc. and it really helps. When I lived at home and had to work late waitressing or bartending my black out curtains in the morning was- me getting out of bed and throwing blankets over the curtain rod, lol, but it worked. Pat S

  • After your recommendation, and out of sheer hallucinatory exhaustion, I called Katelyn ! She helped me set up a plan to get my one year finally sleeping through the night! Praise Jesus! Thanks so much for including her link in your blog. I never thought I would be the type of person to ask a specialist to get my kids to sleep, but having your recommendation gave me the boost I needed. Katelyn is amazing!

    • Oh I am so happy to hear that Tara! She is brilliant on this topic! Sleep can affect the quality of our life in such big ways! I hope you get into a good groove soon!

  • My twins are 19 months old now and the only thing I haven’t tried are the blackout curtains. At this point, I feel like they don’t even matter because the bedroom is pretty dark. They both still wake 2-4(or 5 or 6) times a night. I used to require 9 hours of sleep at night, now I’m really lucky if I get 5 (but never all together, it’s always broken up). We have 10 children and these two are definitely horrible sleepers – right up there with our first child. LOL

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