Screen Time For Kids: One Expert’s Recommendations

Screen Time For Kids

‘Screen time’. Is that a phrase you use in your home? It sure is in mine! Because in this day and age, ‘TV time’ just doesn’t work. Our kids are surrounded by a plethora of screens these days. And while all those screens serve their purposes, and can be great for educational purposes, or to keep in touch (or even to give mom and dad a much-needed sanity break), you have to wonder….how is all this screen time affecting our children??

In an effort to bring you the most up-to-date and relevant content possible, we reached out to someone who’s very knowledgeable on this subject, and asked her to share her tips with it. Meet Hannah Whaley, a computer scientist who works to educate young children and families about the appropriate use of technology in the modern-day household. The author of two adorable books for toddlers – Webster’s Bedtime and Webster’s Email – Hannah is passionate about educating young children on the importance of tech safety and appropriate electronics usage.

Read on as she shares her top screen time for kids tips, and enter to win one of 4 copies of Hannahs’ newest book, Webster’s Bedtime!

Screen Time and Kids: Welcome To The Digital Generation!

Have you noticed how children are drawn to technology like moths to a flame? It doesn’t seem to matter whether its a smartphone, tablet, electronic game or the TV – as soon as it lights up, then their eyes do too! They are also incredibly adept at using new technology. Have you ever watched a young toddler using a tablet for the first time? It’s fascinating to see how quickly they figure out exactly how to navigate around and find the features of interest to them. Portable devices (from laptops to remote controls) present a perfect world of buttons, lights, touch screens and interactivity for our little sensory learners.

In educational terms, this is why we now refer to current youngsters as the ‘digital generation’. They are growing up with technology all around them, like no others before them, and developing an innate understanding and familiarity of all things digital.

We are only just beginning to understand the long term effects of how this will change they way they think, act, learn and even sleep. More and more studies are now being done to investigate device use, screen time, and digital habits and attitudes in children. One of the first areas becoming widely reported and acknowledged is the connection between screen time and sleep.

Screen Time For Kids: What Exactly Is ‘Screen Time’?

Let’s start by discussing exactly what screen time is, before we look at what it means for your little one’s sleeping needs. Is ‘screen time’ just another buzzword for guilt-riddled parents to research on their iPads while their kids watch Frozen for the third time that day? It’s certainly not a topic your own mom or gran would have spent much time discussing, and it no longer means just the TV screen.

’Screen time’ refers to any time your child spends on entertainment activities that use a backlit screen – like the kind that come on tablets, many ereaders, smartphones, TVs, portable games consoles and others. Educational activities still count towards a child’s total screen time count for the day, as do video games, having the TV on (even in ‘the background’), electronic books, videos and other time spent online. Do a quick tally for your child for the last week – we will look at the recommended screen time allowance per age group in a minute!

Screen Time For Kids: Is It Bad For Sleep?

Using electronic media and devices to entertain children is both understandable and unavoidable in many ways. Lets be honest, sometimes it feels like the best way to buy some much needed quiet time! But is it bad for sleep?

Unfortunately, yes. It is becoming clear that there are some serious issues connected to sleep. Increased screen time for children under 3, for example, is linked to irregular sleeping habits. For all ages (even grown ups!), using devices with backlit screens before bedtime delays the release of the body’s natural ‘sleepy hormones’ (namely, melatonin), making it harder to fall asleep and making the sleep less refreshing overall. Additionally, TV shows and games for kids are generally designed to be fast paced, to hold children’s attention, but this makes the brain work hard to process the rapid information. This literally tires the mind, reducing the ability to function immediately afterwards – drained and cranky children are usually less willing to comply with bedtime routines!

For these and other important reasons, the World Health Organisation, American Academy of Paediatrics and others around the world recommend the following screen time guidelines:

  • Under 2: No screen time for under twos
  • Age 2-18: Two hours of screen time per day

Does that surprise you? Many parents find this advice overly simplistic and unattainable. However, study after study is showing that screen time has negative consequences for sleep, and if sleep is a priority in your home, it may be time to come up with a media use plan for the kids.

Screen Time For Kids: Tips For Managing Screen Time

Cutting out screen time altogether is not achievable for some homes, and may not be necessary or desirable. However, there are still steps that you can take to minimise the impact that electronics have on sleep:

  • Set time limits
  • Simply being more aware of how much time is spent on screen based activities can lead to changes. Read up online about the issues so that you are informed, become conscious of how much time you and your kids currently spend on screens, and then choose a reasonable daily limit that will work for your family.

  • Plan screen activities
  • Get in control by planning activities in advance. That way you pick the best time of day, the type of activity, and the length of it. Avoid screen time directly before naps or bed, and vary the type of activity depending on your plans for the day. Save more intensive media like video games and TV for lazy days.

  • Make it a shared activity
  • Change the type of screen time they are exposed to and maximise the positive benefits. Instead of TV being on in the background, make it time spent on educational apps or ebooks that you can do with them. Engaging with them slows down the fast-paced nature of the media as well as adding in some parental bonding time.

  • Devices in bedrooms
  • Think very carefully about allowing digital devices in bedrooms. TV’s in children’s bedrooms are on the decrease, but most of that viewing has switched to tablet devices. Mobile devices are more easily removed before bedtime, but you may want to separate digital entertainment and the sleep environment altogether. ‘Screen-free zones’ are recommended in the home.

  • Switch off as part of a night time routine
  • Talk to your children about why spending time on electronic devices before bed is not a good idea. Make switching off all devices an important first step in your bedtime routine so that there is a ‘wind down’ period before sleep. Helping children to recognise that there is a time to ‘switch off’ may be a valuable skill to start teaching them from a young age.

Screen Time For Kids: Teaching Good Tech Habits, Right From The Start!

One of the things our team really likes about Hannah’s work is her emphasis on teaching “tech etiquette” and healthy tech habits from a very early age. As Hannah mentioned, we really are dealing with a new generational phenomenon as we birth our ‘digital babies’, but unfortunately, much of the research hasn’t really caught up. Google ‘toddler tv’, and what you’ll mostly find are articles admonishing you to turn the TV off and shield your toddler from screens as much as possible. However, Hannah has taken a unique approach with her books: she aims to teach young children how to engage in their digital world safely and moderately…and in our minds, that is a refreshing approach!

Webster's BedtimeHannah’s latest book, Webster’s Bedtime, does just that – it teaches toddlers, in a simple and effective way, about when tech use is appropriate, and when it isn’t. This is all communicated through the sweet little story about Webster, a very tired spider who’s finding it hard to wind down and fall asleep with all his brightly-lit, blinking devices around!
 

Websters_Bedtime_Back_Cover_sm

Enter To Win One Of 4 Copies of Webster’s Bedtime

Intrigued yet? If so, then take a minute and be sure to enter to win one of 4 copies of Webster’s Bedtime, shipped straight to your house – and each winning copy will be signed by the author herself, and include a short, personalized note for your family!

Here are the details:

  • This giveaway will run from Monday, 4/20 through Monday, 4/27.
  • Giveaway winners must be willing to provide a full name and a mailing address.
  • This giveaway is open to entrants in the United States, Canada, and the U.K. only.

Hannah_Whaley_BW_SMHannah Whaley authors children’s picture books which introduce technology concepts from an early age through reading and stories.Based in Scotland, she is a computer science graduate that has always worked to combine education, technology and research. She began her career in educational technology, being named UK Learning Technologist of the Year in 2007, before moving into university library management in 2009. Her latest children’s picture book “Wesbter’s Bedtime” helps children learn about switching off from technology before bed. You can find out more about her books at www.borndigitalbooks.co.uk

Should You Wake A Sleeping Baby?

Should You Wake A Sleeping Baby

“Never wake a sleeping baby.” Even people who are not parents have heard the old adage. That one phrase perfectly describes how elusive baby sleep can be for exhausted parents. It almost feels superstitious in a way, as if by waking a sleeping baby, you may never get another moment’s rest again. So if your baby is sleeping peacefully, why would you ever want to wake them, especially if you’ve worked so hard to get them to sleep in the first place?

While this rule is generally true, believe it or not, there are a few times when waking your baby can be solutions to other sleep problems. Not sure when you should let your baby sleep, or wake them up? Keeping reading for four situations where you might want to consider waking your baby.

Should You Wake A Sleeping Baby? In These 4 Situations…Yes!

  1. Long night-waking
  2. Do you have a child whose schedule is being thrown off with a long night-waking, or insomnia, in the middle of the night? If so, letting him make up for that lost sleep by sleeping in the next morning can exacerbate the schedule problem. We’re not talking about the one off day here or there – of course you’d let him sleep in for those situations. But if your baby or toddler is consistently waking for long periods night after night, you need to be proactive and help him sort out his schedule. Although there are a few exceptions, long waking at night is usually caused by a schedule problem, especially if he is sleeping enough, but in multiple fragments.

  3. Naps are too long
  4. Even if you’ve managed to avoid common baby nap mistakes and mastered your baby’s naps and schedule, sometimes naps can become too long. With the exception of newborn naps, your baby or toddler should not nap longer than 3 hours total for a day, on average. Of course, there will be exceptions, but often if a baby or toddler is napping too long during the day, it will impact their night sleep, since the amount of total sleep in a 24 hour period will remain relatively constant. It can become a bit of a chicken and egg problem, because allowing a baby to make up for lost sleep at night by napping too long during the day could reinforce the very sleep problems you’re trying to resolve at night. Instead, you should tackle the sleep problems that occur at night and keep naps properly balanced, because night sleep is more restorative.

  5. To manage naps before a nap transition
  6. This one is a close relative to naps getting too long. Sometimes, right before a nap transition, it may be necessary to manage your baby or toddlers naps by waking him from one of his naps in order for there to be time for subsequent naps or to stop bedtime from getting pushed back too late. Nap transitions can be tricky and difficult in that babies or toddlers who are over-tired at bedtime tend to have more difficulty falling asleep at bedtime and staying asleep all night. For most babies older than 3-4 months old and for young toddlers, bedtimes should generally be between 6 and 8 p.m. While there are exceptions and all families need to find what works for their specific dynamics, but most babies have a biological need/rhythm to go to sleep early and wake early (before 8 a.m.). Quite often, a baby waking too early is due to bedtime being too late.

  7. Sorting out day / night confusion
  8. It’s not uncommon for newborn babies to come home being confused about day and night. Because many parents have been advised not to wake a sleeping baby, new parents will allow their newborn to sleep too long during the day (sometimes as much as 8 hours straight), but then become surprised when their baby is up all night, sleeping on and off for an hour or so. While in general, we do recommend letting napping babies sleep, sometimes this rule needs to be bent, and this is one of those times. In order for your newborn to sort out their days and nights, she will need to be awake during the day for her internal clock, or circadian rhythms, to adjust to life outside the constantly dark womb. For newborns, it’s best to limit any one nap to two hours and keep your baby up for at least 30 minutes to an hour to help reset her clock.

So, Should You Wake A Sleeping Baby? Sometimes…But Not Often!

Occasionally, waking your sleeping baby can be a temporarily solution to fix a specific issue, but should not become a long-term strategy. If this specific sleep problem has been occurring for just a short period of time (less than 1-2 weeks), it may just be a phase that you can wait out to see if your baby can self-adjust her schedule before taking action to wake her. If you find that you need to wake your baby frequently (as in a week, maybe two), more than likely you either have a scheduling issue or  there may be something else at work. But luckily, we can help!

Baby Sleep Help That Works – Guaranteed!

Between long night wakings, struggles at bedtime and naps that feel all over the place, baby and toddler sleep challenges can be tough! Our consultants at The Baby Sleep Site® specialize in creating Personalized Sleep Plans™ that are customized to your own parenting philosophy, and that will NEVER make you feel guilty or pressured. Even better, once you have your Personalized Sleep Plan™, your consultant will walk you through each step of implementing it at home.

Browse our list of consultation package options here.

Once you make your choice and purchase, you will immediately receive an e-mail with your Helpdesk login information. You’ll be able to login and start your Family Sleep History form right away – it’s that simple!

Want more information about how personalized help works? Check out our FAQ page here, and get answers. You can also take a tour of the Helpdesk.

What do you think? Should you wake a sleeping baby? Have you ever had to wake your baby from sleep? Leave a comment below, and let us know!

 
bss_email_featprod_memberspic-CROPPEDOur Members Area is packed with exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, peer support, and more. It actually costs less to join than buying products separately! As a member, you’ll also enjoy a weekly chat with an expert sleep consultant. And the best part – members receive 20% off all sleep consultation services!
 
Essential Keys to Newborn Sleep Essential Keys to Your Newborn’s Sleep is THE newborn sleep book that will help you to not only improve your newborn’s sleep using gentle, sleep-inducing routines – it will also answer your feeding and newborn care questions. You can even buy a bundle package that includes the e-book AND a Personalized Sleep Plan™ PLUS a follow-up email to use for further support!
 
bss_ebook_3stepsystem_leftFor those persistent nighttime struggles, check out The 3 Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your baby sleep through the night.
 
 
bss_ebook_masteringnaps_leftIf you’re looking for ways to get your baby or toddler into a healthy sleeping routine during the day, I encourage you to explore Mastering Naps and Schedules, a comprehensive guide to napping routines, nap transitions, and all the other important “how-tos” of good baby sleep. With over 45 sample sleep schedules and planning worksheets, Mastering Naps and Schedules is a hands-on tool ideal for any parenting style.
 
bss_ebook_5steptoddler_smalFor those persistent toddler sleep struggles, check out The 5 Step System to Help Your Toddler Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your toddler sleep through the night and enjoy a better daytime schedule.
 

Need help knowing where to start? Visit our Help Me Choose page for helping choosing the Baby Sleep Site® resources that are right for you.

Baby Rolling Over In Sleep? Here’s How To Help.

Baby Rolling Over During Sleep

It’s so exciting to watch your young infant grow and develop and learn new skills, isn’t it? For most parents, the first major mobility milestone we squeal over is watching our babies learn to roll over. You know what I mean, right? That first time you see your baby arch her back, lift her head, lean to one side, and then suddenly – FLOP! She’s rolled!

So cute and exciting. Unless it’s happening during sleep. Then it’s frustrating and exhausting. Why? Because (as I know many of you can attest) a baby who’s rolling is a baby who’s NOT sleeping.

So how can you mange your little baby’s rolling during sleep, and keep her safe, while also ensuring that she’s getting enough sleep?

Read on for details!

Baby Rolling Over In Sleep: Why It Happens

Simple – your baby is rolling over during sleep because he can! You’ll find, as your child grows, that he doesn’t really discriminate between awake time and asleep time (or, rather, ought-to-be-asleep time!) when practicing his skills. When your baby learns to pull to a standing position, for example, it is very, very likely that instead of napping or falling asleep quickly at bedtime, your baby is way more interested in standing!

The same is true for rolling. While he’s awake in the crib, your baby may practice rolling around – and that may mean that he doesn’t fall asleep quickly, or that he ends up spending long period awake at night, rolling. You will probably also find that your baby rolls during sleep, and that the act of rolling wakes him up. This can REALLY be a frustrating, vicious circle, as your baby can’t seem to help rolling over, which means lots of nighttime and mid-nap waking.

Baby Rolling Over In Sleep: Safety First!

First and foremost, it’s crucial to ensure that your baby’s newfound rolling mobility isn’t creating an unsafe sleep situation. If your baby is still swaddled for sleep, you’ll want stop swaddling once she can roll over, as a swaddled baby should never sleep face-down. Plus, all that rolling will no doubt loosen your swaddle blankets, which can be a big suffocation risk. Instead of swaddling, try a sleep sack. We love the ZipadeeZip, as its custom design provides enough resistance to still be nice and cozy, just like the swaddle.

You’ll also want to be sure that your baby’s sleep surface is flat and free of any loose blankets, pillows, stuffed animals, or toys. Now that your baby can roll, her entire sleeping area is fair game, meaning that every inch of it absolutely has to be baby-proofed.

Finally, many parents feel like they need to turn their babies back over onto their backs when they roll onto their stomachs, as back sleeping is safer than tummy-sleeping. However, many medical experts advise that once your baby is able to roll over onto her stomach, it’s safe for her to sleep that way. Of course, we recommend that you discuss this with your healthcare provider, and get their okay, before you leave your baby to sleep on her tummy.

Baby Rolling Over In Sleep: How To Help

Now, as for how to help your baby through this stage, and maximize everyone’s sleep: first, remember that there is no “cure” for this. Your baby’s rolling is a totally natural part of his growth and development, so you can’t really fix this by stopping the rolling.

That said, some parents find that simply turning their children over each time they roll is a great way to help them through this phase. That’s especially true for babies who can roll one way (say, back to front), but can’t roll the other way, and who don’t really like being “stuck” in a different position. Since this phase is usually short-lived (generally 2-3 weeks), this is an easy, short-term solution.

You can also invest in a product like the Swanling Slumber Sleeper, that helps keeps babies positioned on their backs in the center of the crib. If your baby prefers to sleep on her back and gets upset when he rolls onto his belly and can’t roll back, this sheet is a perfect solution. Note, though, that some babies may be frustrated by not being able to roll, and that frustration may cause sleeping problems.

Help For All Your Baby Sleep Challenges

Your baby rolling over in sleep can certainly be frustrating – but I know some of you reading this would give anything if that were your only baby sleep challenge! If your baby sleep problems are proving really tough to overcome, remember – we can help! Our team of expert consultants is ready to offer you compassionate, caring support that is 100% personalized to your unique situation. We will craft a Personalized Sleep Plan™ specifically for your family, that walks you through every step of sleep training in a way that matches your goal and parenting style.

Browse our list of consultation package options here.

Once you make your choice and purchase, you will immediately receive an e-mail with your Helpdesk login information. You’ll be able to login and start your Family Sleep History form right away – it’s that simple!

Want more information about how personalized help works? Check out our FAQ page here, and get answers. You can also take a tour of the Helpdesk.

Have questions about your baby rolling over in sleep? Ask them below – we’ll answer!

 
bss_email_featprod_memberspic-CROPPEDOur Members Area is packed with exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, peer support, and more. It actually costs less to join than buying products separately! As a member, you’ll also enjoy a weekly chat with an expert sleep consultant. And the best part – members receive 20% off all sleep consultation services!
 
Essential Keys to Newborn Sleep Essential Keys to Your Newborn’s Sleep is THE newborn sleep book that will help you to not only improve your newborn’s sleep using gentle, sleep-inducing routines – it will also answer your feeding and newborn care questions. You can even buy a bundle package that includes the e-book AND a Personalized Sleep Plan™ PLUS a follow-up email to use for further support!
 
bss_ebook_3stepsystem_leftFor those persistent nighttime struggles, check out The 3 Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your baby sleep through the night.
 
 
bss_ebook_masteringnaps_leftIf you’re looking for ways to get your baby or toddler into a healthy sleeping routine during the day, I encourage you to explore Mastering Naps and Schedules, a comprehensive guide to napping routines, nap transitions, and all the other important “how-tos” of good baby sleep. With over 45 sample sleep schedules and planning worksheets, Mastering Naps and Schedules is a hands-on tool ideal for any parenting style.
 
bss_ebook_5steptoddler_smalFor those persistent toddler sleep struggles, check out The 5 Step System to Help Your Toddler Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your toddler sleep through the night and enjoy a better daytime schedule.
 

15 Ways To Mess With a Sleep Obsessed Parent

Sleep Obsessed Parent

For parents of little kids, sleep can often feel about as stable as a straw house. One mild breeze and the whole thing can come crashing down in the form of whines, tantrums, frequent night wakings and a bedtime routine that takes longer than running the Boston Marathon.

What makes this all the more frustrating is that we’ve spent so much time and effort building a strong foundation for that delicate structure that any bobble or slight collapse makes us feel like we have to start building all over again. We become the highly underpaid and stressed out General Contractor of a feeble construction site in a bad part of town.

In an effort to avoid total destruction, we sacrifice spending more time at that play date, or staying out late at a family’s party, in order to get our kids to sleep on time. However, a well-meaning friend, family member, or even a spouse who doesn’t realize how fragile this whole sleep operation is can blow an unintentional hurricane into your sleep routine, that will totally sabotage everything you’ve worked so hard to guard against.

And there is not enough plywood and duct tape to protect against that kind of disaster.

So what kinds of “hurricane-force” sleep interruptions should you be on the lookout for? We thought it would be fun to bring you some of the zanier sleep disruptions we’ve heard about over the years. Keep reading for 15 truly crazy ways to mess with a sleep-obsessed parent!

15 Ways To Mess With A Sleep-Obsessed Parent

  1. Choose nap time to start drilling that IKEA desk together.
  2. Start a favorite Disney movie 15 minutes before bedtime.
  3. Ignorantly ring the doorbell, even though there’s a post-it right on the door that politely reads “please knock”.
  4. Suggest going out for ice cream after lunch. When parents explain that nap time happens right after lunch, ask the toddler, “Wouldn’t going for ice cream be more fun than a nap?”
  5. Play hide and seek with the kid’s lovey before nap time, but then immediately forget the last place it was hidden.
  6. Shun a calming bedtime story, like Goodnight Moon, in lieu of something more “exciting”, like The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.
  7. Let the kids know that you’ll be catching up on all their favorite cartoons while they sleep.
  8. Decide that nap time would be the perfect time to test the smoke alarms.
  9. Announce before putting the kids down for nap that after they wake up, the whole family will be going to Chuck E. Cheese.
  10. Skip story time before bed, and opt for “trampoline time” on the mattress instead.
  11. Offer to put the kids to bed, and then dress them in pajamas with really scratchy tags on the collar.
  12. Ask the parents if the toddler can have a quick snack before nap time. When parents say yes, offer the toddler a few handfuls of Skittles.
  13. Figure that, since it’s a pretty day, it’s a great time to rev up that motorcycle…and then let it idle forever.
  14. Since the baby looked so tired, assume it’s okay to just let them sleep “for a couple of minutes to take the edge off”, RIGHT before nap time or bedtime. Be sure to hand the baby off to parents only after she’s woken up and is really starting to scream.
  15. Sneak in to give that adorable baby one last, big, noisy smooch before leaving to go home. Be sure to step directly on all the squeaky spots on the floor as you walk out of the room.

Keep in mind that while the occasional “gale force wind” of a sleep interruption may happen, and temporarily destroy the quality sleep you’ve worked so hard to build, interruptions are to be expected every now and then. Such is life. We just hope that your interruptions are a little less “cruel and unusual” than the ones we just listed!

(Oh – and in the meantime, if you want to hand this list out to your family and friends as a “things not to do do unless you want an enemy for life” checklist, we totally understand!)

Sleep Help For The Sleep Obsessed Parent

Even the most sleep-obsessed parent needs a little sleep help now and then. (Okay, maybe LOT of sleep help right now!) That’s where we come in :-) If you need sleep help from an expert, that’s guaranteed to work, we can help! Our team of expert consultants is ready to offer you compassionate, caring support that is 100% personalized to your unique situation. We will craft a Personalized Sleep Plan™ specifically for your family, that walks you through every step of the sleep coaching process, in a way that matches your goal and parenting style.

Browse our list of consultation package options here.

Once you make your choice and purchase, you will immediately receive an e-mail with your Helpdesk login information. You’ll be able to login and start your Family Sleep History form right away – it’s that simple!

Want more information about how personalized help works? Check out our FAQ page here, and get answers. You can also take a tour of the Helpdesk.

Okay, confession time – what’s the craziest sleep-sabotaging technique you’ve witnessed? Let’s get the conversation going!

 
bss_email_featprod_memberspic-CROPPEDOur Members Area is packed with exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, peer support, and more. It actually costs less to join than buying products separately! As a member, you’ll also enjoy a weekly chat with an expert sleep consultant. And the best part – members receive 20% off all sleep consultation services!
 
Essential Keys to Newborn Sleep Essential Keys to Your Newborn’s Sleep is THE newborn sleep book that will help you to not only improve your newborn’s sleep using gentle, sleep-inducing routines – it will also answer your feeding and newborn care questions. You can even buy a bundle package that includes the e-book AND a Personalized Sleep Plan™ PLUS a follow-up email to use for further support!
 
bss_ebook_3stepsystem_leftFor those persistent nighttime struggles, check out The 3 Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your baby sleep through the night.
 
 
bss_ebook_masteringnaps_leftIf you’re looking for ways to get your baby or toddler into a healthy sleeping routine during the day, I encourage you to explore Mastering Naps and Schedules, a comprehensive guide to napping routines, nap transitions, and all the other important “how-tos” of good baby sleep. With over 45 sample sleep schedules and planning worksheets, Mastering Naps and Schedules is a hands-on tool ideal for any parenting style.
 
bss_ebook_5steptoddler_smalFor those persistent toddler sleep struggles, check out The 5 Step System to Help Your Toddler Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your toddler sleep through the night and enjoy a better daytime schedule.
 

5 Facts That Equal Better Toddler Sleep

Better Toddler Sleep

If you have a toddler who just won’t sleep well – who’s popping in and out of bed like a jack-in-the-box at bedtime, for instance, or who still wakes frequently at night, or who just won’t take long, restorative, consistent naps, despite your best efforts – then odds are you’re feeling at your wit’s end, and are looking for any (ANY) ideas that’ll help you get your toddler sleeping better.

Well, look no further! Today, Renee Frances, author of the adorable Good Night Fairy book series, is here with us today, sharing 5 key facts that will help even the most sleepless of toddlers get the rest they need. Read on to learn more about these 5 keys, and to learn how you can enter to win one of 6 copies of Renee’s award-winning book, A Visit From the Good Night Fairy!

5 Facts That Equal Better Toddler Sleep

  1. Consistency is Calming
  2. Your toddler will be more relaxed if she knows what is going to happen next. Predictable schedules and a bedtime routine will set the tone, and help your child to ‘wind down’ before settling into bed. To help your toddler’s body secrete that special ‘sleep hormone’, melatonin, dim the lights and shut off all screens about an hour before you begin your family’s bedtime routine. Ideally, your child’s bed time should not only allow her to get adequate sleep; it should ideally allow you and your partner or spouse a few hours of ‘down time’ without the pitter-patter of little feet.

  3. Deep Breathing is Relaxing
  4. Deep breathing (with focused attention on your breath) is a relaxation exercise that is recognized by the National Sleep Foundation as helpful for people who suffer from insomnia. Interestingly, many children practice ‘deep breathing’ naturally; their chest and bellies naturally expand with each breath. You can help your toddler intentionally practice deep breathing by having them inhale slowly through their nose, holding their breath for a few moments, then exhale through the mouth. This practice should be as “un-forced” and natural as possible.

  5. Awareness of Surroundings Decreases Anxiety
  6. Your child is less likely to be anxious at night if he knows that his surroundings remain unchanged even when the lights are off. Simply installing a nightlight can resolve your little one’s fear of the dark. Sometimes, however, the shadows may be worrisome because their shapes are somewhat unexpected or unfamiliar. To help illustrate the concept that shadows are ‘what happen when light can’t go through an object’, you can show your child how to make a ‘shadow puppet’ with a flashlight and your (or his) hand, or some favourite toys. Show him how the length of the shadow changes with the angle of the light hitting the object. By taking the mystery out of ‘the dark’, you may help your child feel less fearful.

  7. Positive Self-Talk Reduces Stress
  8. Positive self-talk and its counterpart, positive thinking, correlate strongly with many important health benefits, including lower levels of distress, lower levels of depression, and greater psychological and physical well-being. Teaching your child the skill of approaching a challenging or unpleasant situation (and for some toddlers, bedtime is just that!) in a more positive way can have both immediate benefits and long-term effects. Guiding your child through some positive self-talk at bedtime can be an effective tool to help your ‘reluctant sleeper’ to sleep well through the night and have a happier tomorrow.

  9. Rewards Increase the Likelihood of Desired Behaviours
  10. Offering rewards as incentives increases the likelihood of a desired behaviour. Rewards are particularly effective for individuals who are reluctant to perform a ‘target’ behaviour – like a toddler who’s reluctant to go to bed! If the behaviour that you desire is for your child to sleep through the night on her own, reward that behaviour when it happens. In preparation, your child should know that staying in her own room throughout the night may result in a reward.

How A Visit From The Good Night Fairy Can Help Your Toddler Sleep

A Visit From The Good Night FairyA Visit from the Good Night Fairy weaves all 5 of these key facts throughout the storyline, making it a great bedtime tool for your toddler This clever and engaging tale unfolds with a typical night in the life of a young family, whose little one seems to have some common night time fears. This night is special, however, because after waking up early and finding her child still in his own bed, Mommy has a chance encounter with the “Good Night Fairy” herself, who places a small gift at the foot of the still-sleeping child’s bed!

You can use the themes in this story to your advantage. Be prepared to reward your child the on the very first occasion that he successfully sleeps through the night on his own. The reward should something that your toddler enjoys (e.g., a sticker or a coin), and it can be left for him at the foot of the bed (as the Good Night Fairy does), under the pillow, or even near the bedroom door, if you are afraid your child may wake up if you enter the room.

To ensure that your child understands the connection between sleeping through the night and the gift from the Good Night Fairy (named REMy, after the Rapid Eye Movement stage of sleep), reward the first two or three nights that he successfully sleeps through on his own (this is known as a Continuous Schedule of Reinforcement). After a few nights, switch to a Partial Schedule of Reinforcement, during which your toddler will need to sleep two (or three) nights in a row before receiving a reward. Partial schedules of reinforcement use fewer resources, are very effective, and more likely to help your toddler make sleeping through the night a permanent habit. (Note that it’s important that your child does not receive a reward unless he actually sleeps through the night on his own.)

After your child is sleeping on his own for 5-7 consecutive nights, leave your child with a note from ‘REMy’, congratulating him for being such a ‘big kid’. The Good Night Fairy might add that she will still make sure that your child is safe and well through the night, but will no longer leave gifts (which are for children who really need the REMy’s help).

How To Win One Of 6 Copies Of A Visit From The Good Night Fairy

A Visit From The Good Night FairyThe techniques discussed above have been clinically proven to soothe, relax, empower, decrease anxiety, and increase the likelihood of desired behaviour – which means they’re perfect tools to use with your bedtime-resistant toddler! Renee’s adorable book, A Visit from the Good Night Fairy, incorporates each of these five tools: a consistent bedtime routine, deep breathing, positive self-talk, use of a night light, and positive reinforcement. This Mom’s Choice Award-winning children’s picture book just may be the perfect tool to help motivate your child to have a more restful night’s sleep.

And we bet that whether you have a sleep-fighting toddler at home right now, or whether you want to be ready for the day when your wee babe becomes a sleep-fighting toddler, you’ll want to take advantage of this chance to win a FREE copy of your own! Best of all, Renee has graciously agreed to personalize each winning copy with a special note for your family.

Here are the details:

  • Enter to win any time between 8 a.m EDT, Monday, March 23rd and 8 p.m. EDT, Monday, March 30th.
  • This giveaway is open to U.S. and Canadian entrants only.
  • Winners must be willing to provide a mailing address for prize shipment.

Enter to win today, using the Rafflecopter widget below:

d123276e569e4632569136ede7781896As a teacher, businesswoman, wife, and a mom of two lovely young girls, Renee Frances can appreciate the importance of a good night’s sleep! Inspired (read: exhausted) by real-life events, Renee penned “A Visit from the Good Night Fairy” with the hopes of helping more little-ones (and their family members!) sleep through the night on their own.
 
 

Resources For ALL Your Baby And Toddler Sleep Challenges

No matter what sleep challenges you’re facing, our team of expert sleep consultants can help! We’re standing by, ready to craft a Personalized Sleep Plan™ just for your family, that’s tailored to your unique challenges, goals, and lifestyle.

Browse our list of consultation package options here.

Once you make your choice and purchase, you will immediately receive an e-mail with your Helpdesk login information. You’ll be able to login and start your Family Sleep History form right away – it’s that simple!

Want more information about how personalized help works? Check out our FAQ page here, and get answers. You can also take a tour of the Helpdesk.

 
bss_email_featprod_memberspic-CROPPEDOur Members Area is packed with exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, peer support, and more. It actually costs less to join than buying products separately! As a member, you’ll also enjoy a weekly chat with an expert sleep consultant. And the best part – members receive 20% off all sleep consultation services!
 
Essential Keys to Newborn Sleep Essential Keys to Your Newborn’s Sleep is THE newborn sleep book that will help you to not only improve your newborn’s sleep using gentle, sleep-inducing routines – it will also answer your feeding and newborn care questions. You can even buy a bundle package that includes the e-book AND a Personalized Sleep Plan™ PLUS a follow-up email to use for further support!
 
bss_ebook_3stepsystem_leftFor those persistent nighttime struggles, check out The 3 Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your baby sleep through the night.
 
 
bss_ebook_masteringnaps_leftIf you’re looking for ways to get your baby or toddler into a healthy sleeping routine during the day, I encourage you to explore Mastering Naps and Schedules, a comprehensive guide to napping routines, nap transitions, and all the other important “how-tos” of good baby sleep. With over 45 sample sleep schedules and planning worksheets, Mastering Naps and Schedules is a hands-on tool ideal for any parenting style.
 
bss_ebook_5steptoddler_smalFor those persistent toddler sleep struggles, check out The 5 Step System to Help Your Toddler Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your toddler sleep through the night and enjoy a better daytime schedule.