Do you know if your child is getting enough sleep at night?
How do you determine if your kids are sleeping enough at night? Do you follow a sleep recommendation chart? Or do you judge based on your child’s behavior? Do you compare sleep schedules with other parents and then feel guilty that yours isn’t good enough? With so many variables, sleep can sometimes create a lot of stress for parents and children. If bedtime and sleep feel overwhelming to you then stick around!
Why Sleep Is So Important
If you are asking me why sleep is so important, I could go on for days! Getting enough sleep is the #1 most important thing for easier more enjoyable parenting. Kids who lack good quality and quantity sleep have trouble with academics, development, and behavior. If your child isn’t sleeping enough at night and/or during the day, if naps are still in the mix, then you can expect to see more challenges. More tantrums, more whining, more sibling rivalry, more back talking, more school struggles, more, more, more!
Enough Sleep is the key to Easier Parenting
Your kids want to feel and do their best and the way you can help them accomplish these goals is by ensuring that your child is sleeping enough each night. When your child is over-tired they feel irritable and cranky. Am I right or am I right? Once you have your child sleeping well you will see a massive decline in tantrums, back-talking, refusal to cooperate or listen. It’s the first step most important thing to fix if sleep is not under control. Sleep will shift behavior in 1 week or less helping to make parenting easier.
Client Sleep Success Story
I was recently working with a family who was struggling with their 20-month old daughter. They came to me because Sophie’s sleep had recently become a disaster. Their little girl who once used to fall asleep unassisted and sleep all night was now screaming and crying when they put her to bed. She needed to be rocked to sleep, which took hours. Sophie was waking around 4 times per night and again needed hours of rocking with each waking.
Lack of Sleep = Tantrum Overload
This lack of sleep caused everyone to feel terrible. Sophie went from an easy toddler to one whom tantrumed all day every day. The breaking point arrived when they reached out for help. My clients were like walking zombies and very emotional about their child’s decline in behavior. They felt like they were failing, but I knew from our first conversation that sleep was going to be the magic solution. Sophie was clearly not getting enough sleep at night.
In Less Than Two Weeks…
Sophie was an entirely new child. She was falling asleep alone again, sleeping through the night and napping! My clients had a consistent routine to follow and a concrete sleep teaching plan to help them feel in control and equipped. They could enjoy the moments together because the tantrums had stopped. Sleep was the missing link and once sleep issues are resolved parenting is so much easier!
Recommended Hours of Sleep
Take a look at the chart below and see if your kids are in and around the recommended window of required sleep…
Signs Your Child Isn’t Getting Enough Sleep at Night
I often coach my clients to learn how to distinguish whether their children are getting enough sleep at night. Your child is tired and not getting adequate sleep if:
- They are falling asleep on the couch or in the car
- Needs to be woken up in the morning
- Your child is irritable, crabby and/or hard to reason with
If your child fits into one or more of these categories you need to shift their bedtime so they can get more hours of sleep and be sure your child is napping well if age-appropriate.
How Can You Make Bedtime Easier?
Now, I want you to ask yourself these 3 questions and I mean I really want you to answer them with 100% honesty. My child:
- Has a consistent bedtime routine each night?
- Goes to bed each night without a battle?
- Can and will fall asleep independently?
If you answered, “yes” to all of these questions and your child is happy and each day is smooth and easy, then you can probably stop reading and go grab a latte! You can check the Basic Needs Box of Sleep!
If you answered “no” to one or more of these questions than keep reading. I want you to figure out how to shift your bedtime and child’s sleep at night to all “yes’s” It can be done and with the right tools, you can solve these challenges in less than two weeks.
Steps To Ensure Your Child Is Getting Enough Sleep At Night
Step ONE: Create a concrete and consistent bedtime routine.
This routine needs to be something you can do each and every night. The routine consists of the same things, repeated each night in the same order. This helps your child learn to understand that their ‘long’ sleep, for nighttime is approaching. These sleep cues will begin to calm them, soothe them and prep them to fall asleep.
Step TWO: Have an earlier bedtime than you think.
If you are currently starting your bedtime routine at 7 pm, but your child isn’t falling asleep until 9 or 10pm, than your child is definitely not getting enough sleep at night.
Step THREE: Create firm and consistent sleep boundaries
Once you solve your bedtime battles by creating firm, consistent sleep boundaries, your child will feel so much better. The reason for this is not only because they will be well-rested, but also because they will finally know your limits and boundaries. You kids desire to know the boundaries and with typical bedtime battles such as;
- Begging for more books
- More drinks of water
- Extra trips to the bathroom
- Needing one more kiss or snuggle
- It’s too dark
It’s their way of pushing boundaries. I call this ‘Hoola- Hooping.’ Your kids just keep pushing you to set clear; firm boundaries and you keep jumping in and out of the hoola-hoop doing as they ask. Find boundaries they can’t stop pushing and Hoola hooping you until you set limits. Therefore, bedtime battles will go on.
What’s Next For Better Sleep?
I want you to have happy, well-rested kids. You can make this happen by following the three steps above, create solid bedtime routines, get your kids to bed earlier and set clear bedtime boundaries. With all of these in place, bedtime becomes a very enjoyable and easy time for kids and parents. Not to mention your kids will finally be getting enough sleep at night. Enough sleep means optimal growth, development, fewer behavior issues, and happier kids. Who the heck doesn’t want that?
If you need more information on how to create easy bedtime routines where your kids can stay in bed and fall asleep independently – BOOK your complimentary, no strings attached, 30-minute Discovery Call.