A parents' resource to research-based information on parenting

Getting them to stay in bed once they’re in there! February 28, 2012

Filed under: Sleep,Uncategorized — theinvestigatingparent @ 2:24 pm
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When my son was 18 months he started to absolutely hate his crib. My husband and I decided to get him a bed so bedtime and sleep didn’t become this awful place for him. The first night we put him in the bed I was terrified! I imagined that he’d be running out of the room continuously and I had a plan ready in case. To my amazement, he stayed in bed and continued to go to bed pretty much perfectly. A lot of parents aren’t so lucky, and I’ve certainly seen my fair share of that in my work! In the sleep seminar I gave a few weeks ago, one of the common problems that came up was “how do I get him to stay in bed once I say good night?” There are 3 components to this answer:

1. It’s so important to make sure kids are in bed at their optimal sleep time. Remember that sleep experts indicate the optimal bed time for young children is between 6-8 pm, with 8 pm being on the late side. (For more on this topic see my previous post on Feb. 17 called “sleep needs for children.” If your child is up past his or her optimal sleep time, you’re likely to see an overtired child pulling out all the stops and not going to sleep properly at bedtime. I can always tell with my son when it’s just a little past his sleep window as he asks for everything under the sun at bedtime “I need another cuddle,” “drink of water,” “just want to tell you something,” “I’m hungry”… When I get him to bed on time, he’s an angel and there’s not a peep.

2. Be prepared by the door and give as little attention to him or her as possible. Particularly if you are trying a new sleep routine or moving from a crib to a bed, be prepared to hang out outside your  child’s bedroom until he or she stops coming out. As much as we like to blame our little rug rats for their behaviour, I’m sorry to say, but the majority of  child bedtime problems are well-meaning parental attention maintained. So have a little camp out by your child’s door, with your book or laptop and a glass of wine (as necessary of course!), so that you can nip the fun out of their bud. With as little attention as possible, walk him back to bed, put him in therand leave the room, and close the door. If you need to say something, keep it simple – e.g., “it’s bedtime, I love you, good night.” The first time you may need to repeat this several times (or 65), but don’t worry, be consistent and it will pay off soon.

3. Did I mention be consistent? This is THE most important tool in your toolbox. Kids are smart little cookies and they know when mom and dad are going to give in and exactly which buttons to press. Don’t underestimate them! Stick to your guns. Don’t bring them to bed with you, read 12 more stories, allow 4 more glasses of water…. Have a set routine and stick to it and they will believeyou when you say “it’s bedtime, I love you, now go to sleep.”



What to Remember for Sleeping After Illness February 12, 2012

Filed under: Sleep — theinvestigatingparent @ 4:57 pm
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It’s like a nightmare I remember only in my…well..dreams. My perfectly sleeping 7 month old daughter has a fever and barely slept a wink all night. Meaning my husband and I barely slept a wink last night. This is the girl who I normally can just waltz into her room, put her in the crib, and say “night night sweetie I love you,” leave the room and not even a peep. Last night I couldn’t put her down without her bursting into tears and crying for long periods of time. I would just rock her to sleep, slowly start to move her over the railing of the crib to put her down, and her eyes would pop open (like one of those dolls we had when we were kids) and she would start crying. So I spent much of the night sleeping off and on in the rocking chair holding her. It was like stepping back in time to when my son was a baby. He was the opposite of my perfectly sleeping 7 month old. He was the inspiration for my sleep training book, this blog, you get the picture. My husband and I spent many hours singing lullabies and doing strange rain dances through the night to get him to sleep. Anyways, I digress. But thinking back to that experience did lead to my train of thought to “here we go again, she’s never going to sleep again, I’m never going to sleep again…”

I had to start using some positive self-talk, and remind myself that I’ve been here before, I know what to do, and it will all be fine soon. I started planning for the worst case scenario. Anytime kids get sick we tend to do all the things we should and shouldn’t, to give them comfort, just to get ANY sleep, to watch over them. Once the kids are better this often leads to a need for some re-training – is it on our part or theirs? I dread that once my daughter is better that she won’t go back to being a perfect little sleeper. Maybe she will, and maybe she won’t. So I have to prepare myself that I will probably have to invest in some of the basics for sleep training. After her bedtime routine, I will put her down, tell her I love her and leave the room. I have to be prepared that some crying will be involved, and it will be okay. I can go and check on her if I need to, trying to provide as little attention as possible, and leave the room. She will get it. Now its just a matter of…how long is it going to be until then?

– Kirsten


Under Construction! January 29, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — theinvestigatingparent @ 11:07 pm
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This stite is currently under development. It will be a source of weekly parenting tips based on actual research, supplemented with examples of how I have been able (or not) to apply these to my own life and my own parenting. I hope it will be helpful to you, by cutting down the time it takes to find good sources and make evidence-informed parenting decisions. You will find topics about what actually works, that is, been shown through good research what really works, rather than my own opinion. Of course my opinion will be given as well 🙂 but based on the information I have found for myself (and for you).

Topics coming soon: How to REALLY get your kids to sleep and stay asleep


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