Baby Central, Kid Central, Sleep Central, Toddler Central, Uncategorized

Don’t Let Your Child’s Sleep Fall Apart – DST “Falling Back” Sleep Tips

Finally, your kids have adjusted from the grand switcharoo the Spring, but now Daylight Savings Time is coming to an end.  While some babies, toddlers, and children are minimally impacted by the time change, others are thrown for quite a loop! Especially those children (and even adults) that are more sensitive to any sleep changes and/or whom are particular to set routines will probably notice. By notice, I mean that they won’t be sleeping as well as they typically do. This upheaval is temporary, and I’m going to give you some practical advice to restore sleep normalcy in your house (did you ever have that to begin with?).

IMG_4735

First thing’s first, if your child is used to going to sleep at 7:30pm every night, but 7:30 is approaching the new 6:30pm, let’s devise a plan. A week or so before the Fall time change, start placing your child to sleep 10-15 minutes later every other night. Nice and slow, so they won’t be so sensitive to this change, nor think they are being bamboozled! In turn, you will ideally shift your child’s entire schedule. That means, a little later bedtime, and hopefully a tad later of a morning wakeup, nap schedule and so forth. So, in theory, the evening before Daylight Savings Time ends (Saturday night), you will be placing your little one to sleep approximately 8:15pm or 8:30pm. Remember, you have gotten to this point over a week’s time by slowly making changes. Sunday night, when you go to place your child back to their routine 7:30pm bedtime, as it will be yesterday’s 8:30pm. Voila.

Sounds easy enough, right? Nice and steady is the key to winning the race. Eh, or helping your child sleep better without a major disruption from the end of DST. If you are reading this post-time change, consider yourself the majority! Not all hope is lost; inch near your child’s ideal schedule slowly, and prep your child for sleep with extra wind-down time each night.

The schedule adjustment alone may NOT be enough for it all to go off without a hitch, so here are some pointers to smooth the process both before the time change and after!

For Your Baby

  1. Begin to adjust the schedule slightly at night, as detailed above.
  2. Instill extra wind down time to prepare baby for bedtime. This means dimmer lights, softer music, and nothing too wild – set the scene that sleep is coming!
  3. The darker the room the better for all sleep periods. This is contingent to where you live at; if you live in Central, Ohio like myself, it will be dark enough both at morning wake time and bedtime, and this is virtually a non-issue.
  4. Have a somewhat flexible schedule over the next week. Naps may be a bit off, and night sleep may certainly change. Mornings may be rocky in the beginning – so please know that this is simply how it goes. If this is your first dance with DST and baby sleep, you will curse it forever and ever. It will pass, but have realistic expectations of your baby and help her with the points above.

 

For Your Toddler or Child

  1. Begin to adjust the schedule slightly at night, as detailed above.
  2. Wind down time is key – no tablets, television, or stimulating and/or rambunctious play at least 1.5 hours before bed. Remember, you are reading this info because you are most likely having a sleep disruption in your house. Set the stage that it is time to calm our bodies, because bedtime will be approaching soon. Don’t make it a threat – make it fun. Entertain with your child’s favorite one on one activities leading up to bed – ahem, that don’t involve technology.
  3. Have a conversation about DST with your child depending on your little one’s receptive language skills. Additionally, be adaptable overall with your child’s schedule during the next week,but be consistent with your timeline at night.
  4. The darker the room the better. If your child prefers a nightlight, I have a super helpful tip for the best one to curb DST nuances and also to help your child understand time through colors. The Smart Light is a bulb that you can use in your child’s lamp (please place out of reach, such as on a higher shelf). It connects to your Smart Phone and you can set it up manually to a dim red for night sleep (red promotes sleep). Pair the light with the phrase, “red means stay in bed, and go back to sleep”). At an appropriate time, set the light to change automatically to green! “Green means go – time to play and start your day”. Did you read the part where I said appropriate time? That doesn’t mean 10am; have it be within 15 minutes on the earlier side of when your child typically wakes for the day. The light shouldn’t be so bright to wake your child – you can adjust the settings. Your kid will love it and you can thank me later: Magic Light Smart Bulb.

Remember that your little one has sleep requirements based upon her age – an example is that most young children need about 11 hours of night sleep. Do a little math based upon her usual wake time and see where that lands you. I bet it hovers around 7:30pm give or take a bit. My biggest tip is to remain optimistic – the time change often affects us adults, too! But you will persevere – until Spring, when we get to do this all over again. And, if you need my help, let’s connect and find the package that is the best fit for you!

Amy Douglas is a Certified Sleep Consultant at Baby Sleep Central. Recently named as one of the Best Sleep Consultants in the United States, Douglas works with parents of children from Birth – Age 6. Help your baby, toddler, or child sleep more independently, starting tonight.

 

Baby Central, Kid Central, Toddler Central

DIY Toddler Bookshelf – Your Child Will Fall in Love with This Reading Nook

I am the first to admit, I am not a DIY type of Momma. Don’t get me wrong, I try. I am known for going overboard on the purchase of materials, only for it to end up disastrous. Oh, and the surplus of products I bought? Those end up being donated. Every. Single. Time.

But, my husband on the other hand – he is quite creative and handy. When he gets an idea in his head, there is no turning back. The difference is that he can create a near masterpiece out of nothing! He made my son his own magnetic chalkboard when the one he envisioned in his head was not found in the stores. The same can be said with his amazing toddler bookshelf he made a few years back.

IMG_0973

 

This was Pinterest inspired, that much I remember. When he told me he wanted to make my baby a bookshelf out of rain gutters, I am near certain I shot him a glare. Even the photos online looked a bit harsh and industrial – super cool, but would not flow with the rest of our decor. Nonetheless, he had a vision, and by golly, it was going to work. With the help of my father, who was happy to insert himself into a project for the “grandbaby”, off to Lowes they went. For plastic rain gutters.

He brought home an off-white, 10 feet long beam, and I was feeling a tad concerned. He was not! After sawing the gutter into thirds, he then capped the ends. These caps were sold right next to the plastic gutters at the department store. I personally wanted to share that, because I know nothing about the exterior of our house, or that maintenance (these are my confessions).

After finding the studs in the wall, the rest is history. They hold a lot of books, and this is a recent picture, but we have been rocking these for over 3 years now. It is interesting to see how my pictures over the years have evolved from baby board books to those of particular interest. We rounded out the space with an oversized chair and a monkey pillow for the youngest so they would feel inclined to hang out and read more! Do you have a reading nook in your house?

Amy Douglas is a Certified Sleep Consultant at Baby Sleep Central. Recently named as one of the Best Sleep Consultants in the United States, Douglas works with parents of children from Birth – Age 6. Help your baby, toddler, or child sleep more independently, starting tonight.

 

Baby Central

The 4 Month Sleep Regression – How Does it Happen?

Picture it with me: your baby is a mere 12 weeks and you are just amazed at well she is suddenly sleeping. You think to yourself, “Thank goodness, we are in the clear. I think I can deal with just one night feed a night. I feel so blessed and lucky”! Then, before you know it: BAM! Your baby is now waking 5-6 times a night with no warning that anything could be amiss! You have tried everything and cannot understand where your baby’s sleep took a wrong turn. Things were going so great.

Photo Apr 10, 9 00 06 PM

Ah, the 4-month sleep regression paints this same picture throughout many households. Just about the time you’ve acclimated to less sleep with a new baby, your little one throws quite the curveball and decides she can go the entire night without much sleep at all! While it may seem that way, it’s likely the result of your little one’s system attempting to make some major changes. Spun in a positive light: your baby is growing, and doing so appropriately. Before, baby’s sleep was just that – baby sleep. Now, your 4-month-old is more alert, with newfound hormones at play, plus is experiencing sleep cycling for the very first time. This means that your baby is waking approximately every 35-50 minutes, transitioning from deep sleep to light sleep, and back again all through the night.

Perhaps you have already noticed this if you find yourself reading this with heavy eyes. It’s true, at this stage most babies need a little more help to fall asleep initially and get back to snoozing than ever before. This can feel completely discouraging as a parent due to your tedious efforts in this department. After all, I’m sure you have been implementing much of the advice you’ve gathered from seasoned parents and have scoured one website after another searching for clues. Please know, the changes within your baby are a natural occurrence and this is all par for the course; this is not necessarily the result of anything you have or haven’t done. Sure, some babies make it out of the 4-month zone with sleep unscathed, but more often than not, this is a typical experience.

So, where do you go from here? First off, try to remain consistent with what’s worked in the past. Just because it didn’t work last night, doesn’t mean it won’t tomorrow. Additionally, attempt to place your baby down drowsy, yet not quite asleep. This is an excellent skill that is never too late to learn and aids your baby during the middle of the night wake-ups. If you try this and your child is having a particularly tough time, try it again another night. Comfort your baby how you see fit and know this regression shall pass in a few weeks.

A baby waking at night is common. But a baby waking all through the night may just need a little help from you to get back on track. If your baby continues to have challenges with sleep and is well into her fifth month, you may find yourself feeling stuck (not to mention exhausted). I recommend at this point to touch base with your baby’s provider to rule out anything medically that could be lurking (don’t panic – this could be anything from minor allergies to an ear infection). Once you have you cleared that checkpoint, 5-6 months is a wonderful age to begin working with a Certified Sleep Consultant to work on some lasting sleep foundations for your baby. And that mean’s more sleep for you too.

Baby Central, Toddler Central

Top 5 Travel Tips – Minimize the Sleep Impact for Your Baby or Toddler

Ahh – baby’s first vacation. These special trips are truly exciting as they’re loaded with “first times”. If planning ahead, there are a few handy things you can do to help your child adjust to their temporary stay! Believe it or not – returning back from travel is the number one reason that drives parents my way (recovering from illness and sleep regressions are tied for a close second).

Screen Shot 2017-08-22 at 8.45.49 PM.png

Once back home, sleep often falls apart, as baby (or toddler/child) are happy to be home, but not so happy to sleep alone! Little ones become quickly accustomed to the overnight cuddles, room sharing, and carefree schedule experienced on vacation. Who would want to give that up? I know I wouldn’t – it’s even tough for us adults to go back to the daily grind when our own vacay comes to a halt!

Whether you have an upcoming trip scheduled, or you’re seeking a plan for your sound return, check out these 5 sleep tips (great for all young children)!

1) Try to Duplicate the Room SETUP at Home

This seems simple at first glance, but things are rarely what they seem when it comes to sleep! First, let’s simplify: If you room share at home, try to room share on vacation. And, if you and your little one have separate bedrooms at home, try to have that same divide while away. Many times, we don’t have the extra funds or the capability to pull this off, but this is so often the driving force of major sleep disruption upon returning back home. Besides being away from home, it is a big teaser and a large adjustment to dangle this preference and then rip it away once vacation is complete. Children don’t think as logically as we do, and therefore won’t understand your intentions of only rooming together for a few nights. For this tip, keep in mind that 1 or 2 nights, isn’t as big of a deal as a 3+ night stay in terms of disrupting sleep patterns back home.

2) Mimic CONDITIONS from Child’s Sleep Space

Besides the room setup, it’s an excellent idea to bring along some familiarity to your getaway. Some examples include your child’s lovey or blanket (it applicable/old enough), and a sound machine. If they usually sleep with a white noise machine it can help add some consistency with their sleep, as well as drown out any foreign sounds the new place may hold! If you aren’t flying, throw in a dark blanket and some push pins that way you are prepared to tackle any window that needs a rapid treatment. The darker the better for naps and night sleep in a new setting. Too much light, in a new, exciting environment can lead to tons of stimulation during what should be, sleep sessions. Are you worried your tot may feel scared in this unfamiliar place? Then keep reading!

3) Try to Keep Your Little One’s Consistent SCHEDULE

Have FUN, yes! But, don’t have high expectations of your child to sleep well if naps are being skipped, shortened, or at irregular times. I think it is natural for your vacation schedule to deviate a bit from the norm – after all, that is what vacation is all about! But, if you aiming to curb sleep disruption, I would try to adhere to as much of your child’s schedule as you can. Maybe a nap won’t happen at the exact same time, in the crib or pack ‘n play…but it should still happen. Other things you can do to help promote sleep include instilling some wind-down time and implementing the same bedtime routine.

4) Let Your Child PLAY in Their Temporary Sleep Space

During the daytime hours, do your best to find a few minutes here and there for your little one to really play in their temporary bedroom. This will help your child feel comfortable and familiar with this unknown place. Sure, I know you want to get out there and sight-see! Therefore, find your opportune times and moments to help your child feel safe and secure in this space. Go for major laughs. Create a positive association quickly by pulling out everything from your bag of fun tricks! Ideas include: singing silly songs, interactive stories, or light tickles!

5) Get Right Back ON TRACK Once Returning Home

Whoops. So, things didn’t go as planned? You perhaps had no intention of room sharing, co-sleeping, or throwing your toddler’s schedule to the wind, but it happened. No worries – that is what parenting it all about! Lots of whoops, sighs, and picking up the pieces for next time (oh yeah, plus tons of joy, laughter, and high moments woven in between). Dust your shoulders off, because this tip is just for you. Whether your travels are a dream or a bust, upon returning home, get right back to your standard schedule. I am talking about NIGHT ONE.

What often occurs is that our response night one falls short; parents are plain tired and are trying to decide if they’re still in vacation-mode or not. I’ll help you here – you’re NOT. You’re home and you can help your baby or child understand that “this is how, when, and where we sleep at home”, by displaying the utmost consistency. Try to adhere to your ‘ole faithful schedule and implement all standard routines the first night back. If you don’t get back on the saddle, your child’s sleep can majorly regress on a new level. It may be a rough night for you to hush and pat your child when upset, but you can minimize that to just one night with some effort. Otherwise, one night can snowball into the next. And the next.

If you love to read, but also enjoy the occasion video blog, check out some more information on baby travel tips at Baby Sleep Central.

Baby Central, Parent Central, Toddler Central

Don’t Hide Your Hustle: Amy, Infant & Child Sleep Consultant

 

A day in the life of a [busy] Sleep Consultant. 🙂

Write Up by Finding Delight’s talented Beth Berger.

Finding delight.

Welcome to Don’t Hide Your Hustle, a new series on Finding Delight that explores the myriad of ways to make a living in 2017. I’m asking folks to share how they hustle over the course of one work-day (which usually extends far beyond a 9 – 5 situation).

Today, I present you with Amy’s story. Her clients are the teeniest of tiniest and she helps parents regain the sanity that comes with a good night of sleep. She has a strong background in maternal and child wellness and is currently pursuing a Master’s in Clinical Therapy. Let’s check out her hustle!

“An Infant & Child Sleep Consultant, what in the heck is that?” Well, for starters, that’s me, Amy Douglas of Baby Sleep Central. I get that question a lot when I excitedly announce my career of choice. In a nutshell, I help sleep deprived parents of…

View original post 1,270 more words

Baby Central, Parent Central

Baby Separation Anxiety – Tips for Managing Your Child’s Fears

Separation anxiety is one of those things that comes out of left field for many parents. One day your baby is oblivious to your comings and goings, and the next day – your little one is frantic, panicked, and not having any of this goodbye business! It typically makes its first known appearance when a baby is between 8 – 9 months, and can circle back for years to come if not an early focus. It’s important to note, that if your baby experiences separation anxiety, it is considered a perfectly normal part of development. But, rest assured, there are still a few simple things you can do to help soften the blow for each and every errand.

Photo Jan 14, 6 07 00 PM

 

Give Your Baby a Proper Goodbye

Yes, really! When parents notice their little one becomes anxious upon them leaving, they typically opt for the ole’ sneak-away technique. You know the one… it involves quietly bolting towards the door the moment their tot isn’t looking! While that may be a nice strategy at first glance, it can create an ongoing larger issue: placing your baby on high-alert at all times! This means, whenever you want to simply use the restroom or prepare a meal, all bets are off, as you can no longer be trusted to stick around or return!

Instead, as painful as it may seem, say your “goodbye” directly to your child. We cannot expect a baby to reason as soundly as an adult, but let’s provide the same respect in this regard. Tell your baby when you are leaving and that you will return; but ah – it doesn’t stop there. Keep reading!

Don’t Linger – Get to Steppin’

Now that you have said your suggested “goodbye”, you may notice it isn’t going as well as you’d hoped. Tears and protests are to be expected since you are your baby’s special person. I hate to keep laying the bad news on thick, but sticking around with an attempt to comfort your child will only prolong the episode. If you plan to comfort, then plan to stay. Otherwise, swiftly move out the door and get to going already! Whoever is in charge while you are away should provide tactic measures to distract with a purpose! Ensure your trusty sidekick has your baby’s favorite toys, songs, and activities ready to go upon your departure.

Remain Calm, Pleasant, & Reassuring

Lastly, but certainly not in last place, is this: it is important to curb your own attitude. I bet you are thinking, “Hey lady, back off! You don’t even know me”. This is true, and since I don’t personally know you, here is a friendly and effective tip that everyone can implement. During the process of you temporarily leaving your baby, remember to remain calm, pleasant, and reassuring. If your baby is crying, try to hold your own tears until you make it out the door.

Why? Because you will want your little one to see that you are in control and there is indeed nothing to be worried about here. Babies are not as logical thinkers as adults, and since you already know this, let’s start to consider this point when troubleshooting and planning ahead. Young children rely heavily on environmental cues, actions, and emotions (ahem, your emotions). Show your child there is nothing wrong by conveying this message with your own feelings, tone, and mannerisms. Trust me, there is a bigger benefit for you displaying this calmness to aid with the next time(s) you will have to leave your baby.

As I mentioned, separation anxiety is nothing abnormal, and it is a rather nice sign that your child prefers to be near you! This is all par for the course as far as parenting goes! However, keep in mind that the sooner you begin to expose your little one to new faces, environments, and situations, the easier it will be for your child to transition to a daycare or school setting (or another event) once the opportunity arises! Remember, there are no hard rules here; use this advice if you find it beneficial to manage your little one’s separation anxiety. I practice what I preach as well – and all 3 tips mentioned are a slam dunk when used together.

 

Amy Douglas is a Certified Sleep Consultant at Baby Sleep Central. Recently named as one of the Best Sleep Consultants in the United States, Douglas works with parents of children from Birth – Age 6. Help your baby, toddler, or child sleep more independently, starting tonight.

 

Baby Central, Kid Central, Sleep Central, Toddler Central

Do Night Lights Seriously Help Children Sleep Better?

As a Pediatric Sleep Consultant, this question makes its appearance every other day. I have real riveting conversations some would say. But, in my realm, it can make or break sleep and it’s a valid concern that I am always happy to weigh in on. I’m a parent myself, and I always admire the incessant attempts that parents take to figure out each sliver of parenting. By the time we have it all figured out, things have changed once again and our children are grown.

Night Light Final Cover

Night lights – who would’ve ever thought there needs to be much to say on the subject? Oh, but there is! Can some night lights actually hinder a child’s sleep? Most definitely; in fact, most of the fun, exciting products on the market do just that. You see, there are certain lights that stimulate us and others that make us drowsy. That means the way we view these lights play a role in our hormone production. Yesssss, it is that serious! When we, as adults, stare at our phones at night our bodies often become confused. Is it time to sleep? Is it time to party? What’s happening? And once we do fall asleep, it can often disrupt sleep. Why? Because our internal systems are desperately trying to recover and regulate, but the stimulating light battles our internal clock. It’s not life or death, but it does throw a wrench into our sleep patterns.

Now, put yourself in your baby’s shoes (err, socks). If you are trying to convey to your baby that it is time to sleep, and then you introduce a light, that can be truly confusing for your little one. Your child has little communication skills and is hanging on to every action, emotion, and environmental cue provided. Introducing light, when we are suggesting they sleep is doing baby no favors. On the other hand, you as a parent may want to see what you’re doing at 3am! Therefore, the nightlight is for YOU, not for the baby. You must safely navigate and that is a good practice. With that being said, you must choose your night light carefully.

Refrain from LED or white/blue light bulbs (this is also the light that our Smart TVs and tablets emit). You want to stick to the traditional nightlight that we all grew up with – an orangish bulb that does the trick. On a brightness scale of 1 (the Sun) to 10 (total darkness), you will want the room at least at an 8.5. Remember, night lights cast shadows on the wall, and the last thing you want is to intrigue and stimulate your baby traffic flows by or a tree blows in the wind. Give your baby every opportunity to fall back to sleep on her own, hence my point.

Does a toddler need a night light? They may want one and request a light; this is very typical and I encourage your support here. However, the same rules apply; nothing too stimulating, and nothing too bright. This means that the star projector should be reserved for daytime play, and grab a bore of a nightlight for wind-down time and bedtime.

The Magic Light Smart Bulb is a dream for the 2.5-years & up crowd. It syncs with your phone to automatically change to any color you’d like, at any time you please! Set it to a dim red for night sleep, and coordinate the Magic Light to change to green (“green means go”) at an appropriate time for your toddler or child to start their day. This light is super motivating and helps children understand the concept of time (time to sleep versus time to play). Check out the Magic Light Smart Bulb here (via my afflilate link: http://amzn.to/2t4D7yN).

For more about the Magic Light and how to use it, check out this 8-minute video!

 

Amy Douglas is a Certified Sleep Consultant at Baby Sleep Central. Recently named as one of the Best Sleep Consultants in the United States, Douglas works with parents of children from Birth – Age 6. Help your baby, toddler, or child sleep more independently, starting tonight.