My child is an only child and although she gets socialization at school we’ve adapted a tradition of face timing family members at night. Sometimes my niece (her cousin) who is 2 years old will facetime my little one. They mostly just stare at each other and repeat “hi” but it’s really cute. There were a couple nights when my brother tried to connect this call and my LO was already sleep.
The phone would ring, I’d silence the ring and text back “Bree is sleep”. My brothers response was “Wow it’s only 7:30pm you run a tight ship”. Indeed I do!
What I learned over time is children need structure, they not only need it but they like it and thrive with it. There was a time when Bree went to sleep whenever she wanted and if she was in bed before midnight I considered that a victory. However the next day she was sleeping until 10am, we were missing half the day and there was no balance.
These days we have a much tighter routine, I pick her up an hour earlier than when the daycare closes (4pm), on a nice day we go for a walk on a not so nice day we do a activity together (no ipad, no tv). By 6:30pm we’ve had dinner and we’re ready for bath, and PJs. By 7-7:30 the plan is for her to be in dreamland.
What I found in running this “tight ship” and it could be a coincidence but her sleep is much more sound. Prior to this schedule it seems like I couldn’t get Bree to sleep no more than 3-4 hour and she was already up. It broke my heart that her sleep was so broken because I know that’s when your body heals and resets. So I intern would lose so much sleep worrying about her sleep. It wasn’t good for anyone. What I also discovered is she wakes up on her own, bright and early and really happy because she’s well rested.
Mom Tip: If you’re having trouble winding your child down, check with her doctor about giving a children’s Melatonin. They come is really easy gummies which kids love. I actually gave Bree a gummy every night for 2 weeks straight just to establish a pattern. Once we got a nice rhythm going I stopped giving them to her and only give them to her when needed. I also asked her daycare NOT to allow her to take a nap so that she would be ready for bed shortly after getting home. Not every child needs a mid day 2-3 hour nap, I learned my child does really well getting about 12 hours a night. 12 is her magic number that I stick with. Sleep is as important to a child’s development as learning and playing. As a mother it’s important to understand quickly how to provide your child with the best possible sleep schedule.