Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Works for Me....Sleep!

I am playing along with Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer today and participating in Works for Me! Wednesday. I know Wednesday is technically almost over as I type this post, but I can sum up my last-minute blogging with one sentence:

I took my children with me to the gyn*cologist today.

I think a root canal might possibly be more painful.

Wednesdays are busy around casa de phillips to begin with because it is preschool day. Before we were even loaded up in the car making our way to school this morning Isaac enthusiastically popped his sister on the head in time with each syllable of the phrase, "It is school time, Baby Evelyn." Gotta love starting a school day off with a visit to the time-out carpet and a almost 10 month old crying the entire round trip to school. Add to this the fact that Wednesday is my main housecleaning day, Evelyn and I went in search of a specific baby present in boy colors only to find most stores carried just the girl versions, preschool let out late, Isaac attempted to feed Evelyn a marshmallow while I cooked lunch, and then nap time had to be shortened due to that lovely appointment.

(Which has been scheduled for another day...six months in advance....but was cancelled last minute due to a situation with the doctor. Only by the sheer pity the nurse took on me was I able to get this appointment today and not have to wait until June 2011 for a reschedule. The husband had a late meeting and couldn't make it home in time. The kids were actually quite fantastic and I brought our close friend, Mr. Portable DVD Player, along to entertain during the appointment and prevent them from seeing something that might scar them for life. Besides our doctor and her staff love our children since they were present during both pregnancies and deliveries. )

I wish I could say the evening was a bit calmer, but I had to hang up abruptly on a phone conversation with my father (who now has the stomach bug) due to the fact that Evelyn had bit Isaac on the shoulder...somehow breaking the skin with her two little teeth....and a potential brawl was brewing over the Little People house.

So...hello, Works for Me Wednesday....sorry it is almost Thursday.

Sleep...It is the thing that every parent wants for their child, possibly more than naturally straight teeth or a large college scholarship. Sleep is a precious thing here at casa de phillips and is taken quite seriously. Tobe and I are dedicated to getting a full night's rest and expect the same from our children.

Isaac became a great sleeper at about 2.5 months of age because I trained him to do so. It was hard work, but worth the effort. About six months ago we made a slow transition from crib to big boy bed. He moved sleeping locations quite well and experienced no issues. The crib was eventually dismantled and placed in the attic alongside the bouncy seat and baby bath tub.

About a month ago, Isaac discovered that he could get out of his big boy bed all by himself (it is a cargo style bed with rails on all sides....Isaac has never been a climber due to his tendency to be on the cautious side). About three weeks ago Isaac began popping up in random locations all over the house when he was thought to be in bed sleeping. On Valentine's Day he woke us up a little before 4am proclaiming he was ready to get up for the day.

This getting up at odd hours and not staying in bed didn't jive so well with our deep love for sleep.

Here's what worked to keep Isaac in bed and keep sleep precious in our house:

1. I purchased a LARGE digital clock and we talked about how it will tell us when it is time to get out of bed. Each night we cover the minute numbers with a sheet of paper with a large "7" written on it. Isaac knows that the hour number must match the "7" on the piece of paper before he is allowed to come out of his room. Same thing goes for naptime, except it is a "3".

2. There is a nightlight in his room. About the same time Isaac started getting out of bed unannounced, he began wanting us to leave the light on. Not a healthy sleep trend. He has a nightlight now and all requests for a light to be left on have died down. (By the way, research shows that fear of the dark develops around the age of 2 and 1/2)

3. When Isaac does get out of bed and/or come out of his room after we have put him down for the night, I say "Time for bed" and march him back and put him back in the bed. The second time, I say, "Bedtime" and put him back. The third time I say nothing when I put him back in bed. Children mainly continue to get out of bed because it drives their parents crazy and that is pure entertainment in their little books. Since doing this method and not providing entertainment by getting angry or frustrated, Isaac has not come out of his room and wondered around at all.

....except to get sick on our big, overstuffed chair

4. We discuss how important rest, sleep, and quiet times are for every body's body. I think a lot of kids view going to bed as punishment rather than as something that keeps them healthy. Providing a basic understanding of actually why we sleep makes the whole process a bit less intimidating to the child and cuts down on the struggles for control between parent and child. (If you would like to understand the more complicated reasons of why we sleep, email Tobe and ask if you can read his thesis....he would love to share it with you.)

5. Consistency. We do the same routines at nap time and at bedtime everyday. Isaac (and now Evelyn) know exactly what to expect and what is expected of him.

6. Isaac usually wakes up around 6:30/6:45am every morning....but is still required to follow the 7:00 o'clock rule. Sometimes when he wakes up this early, I will hear a little voice calling me and will walk to his room to find one blue eye and a lock of golden hair peeking around a tiny crack in his bedroom door. If it is past 6:30am, I will turn Isaac's lights on low and place a basket of books in his bed. He is then allowed to read until his clock says 7....and I get to finish that second cup of coffee before our day officially begins.

It Works for Me!


Anonymous said...

Great ideas. We do similiar things with just turned 2 1/2 year old daugher, and she is a good sleeper, but we need to try the clock one.....

Kazahn said...
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Paige said...

We did/do the 7 rule on P's clock and it has worked amazingly!