By Alison Cupp Relyea
At every turn of parenting, there are changes that can interrupt your child’s sleep: teething, transition to a bed, nightmares and potty training are just a few things that can lead to nighttime visitors for you! Sleep, that precious thing you worked for long months in the newborn phase to encourage and protect, can suddenly be an issue again. Recognizing the source of the problem, and preparing yourself to deal with it, is the best way to get everyone back to sleep quickly
Nightmares can start around age two, probably near the time that you shift from crib to bed, but are often not the cause for night waking. When children experience nightmares or night terrors, you should comfort and reassure them, and if this happens very occasionally, it usually does not become a problem. When children cry in their cribs at night or get out of bed for reasons other than a diaper change, trip to the bathroom or a nightmare, they are usually looking for comfort. It is possible that your bed is more appealing than their bed! Here are a few things you can do to make your child’s sleep as soothing as possible and prevent unwanted habits from developing.
Routine: Keep the same bedtime routine through any transitions, like moving from a bed to crib or switching bedrooms. If you read books in a glider, continue to do that rather than laying down and reading in the big kid bed. Do everything in the same order each night so that when the lights go out, your child is calm and prepared.
Consistency: As much as possible, maintain a consistent environment in your child’s crib or bed. If you have a bedding set (link to PV bedding), keep an extra set of sheets on hand. Moving from a crib to a toddler bed means you can use the same baby bedding through this transition, a very reassuring thing for a young child who thrives on familiar smells and textures.
Quality: If your bed is spacious and has luxurious, high-thread-count sheets and soft textures, this, along with the warmth and comfort of sleeping with a parent, may be part of the motivation for nighttime visits! Our bedding sets create this comfort and envelop the senses to help your child sleep.
Security: When you move your child to a larger bed or change bedding, keeping your child’s comforter or transitional object, such as a security blanket or stuffed animal, will ensure that he or she has something to turn to other than you to self-sooth in the night.
- Plan: Know what you will do when your child visits in the night. If your child has always been a good sleeper and this is a sudden change, do not get alarmed, as children sense your anxiety. Many experts say the best thing to do is to quickly and quietly return your child to bed without discussion.
Songs, snuggles and glasses of water, while seemingly harmless requests at first, can quickly evolve into a midnight routine that has everyone losing sleep. By sticking to your goals and creating a comforting environment, you can smoothly and successfully weather any sleep transition.