Kids Sleeping Boot Camp: Prepare for Better Sleep
Prep your half-pint (and yourself) for a new bedtime routine by making changes in your behaviors and your home.
1) Schedule a regular bedtime and wake-up time. Regular bedtimes and wake-up times help organize your child's expectations of what is supposed to happen at certain times. Regularity helps them understand when they are supposed to be asleep in bed and when it's all right for them to leave their bedroom.
2) Get an alarm clock. If you don't already have a spare one for your child's room, get one that is capable of playing quiet, classical music (either from a radio station on a CD or using your MP3 player). If you plan to buy a clock, let your child take part in picking one out, so he feels like he's part of the process. You'll use this clock as a tool to signal to your child when it's okay to leave the bed.
3) Explain to your child that things will be changing. Have a discussion with your child about the fact that your routines are going to be changing and that you're going to be working as a family to make sure everyone gets better sleep. Reinforce the discussion throughout the week with gentle reminders.
4) Begin keeping a sleep log. Grab a notepad and a pen and start jotting down sleep events throughout your child's day. Keep track of waking times, bedtimes, crying, when your child is awake in the crib/bed, the number of times you have to return your child to bed at night and any other events you think could be relevant to your child's sleep routine.
5) Get your partner on the same page. If you're parenting with a partner, have a discussion about your participation in this Boot Camp and your plans to work on your child's sleep routine. A united front will be a huge bonus throughout the Camp.