Tips For Getting Kids To Sleep: Own It
Is there a parent in the world who hasn't agonized, discussed, cried and lost their mind over the sleep issue? I don't think so.
For the first few years of a kid's life, sleep dominates most conversations, thoughts and desires. But I can tell you, parents who are in the midst of the sleep panic, that it does go away. Kids do learn to sleep, or at least you learn to function with night visitors, disturbed sleep and chronic tiredness.
I do believe that different kids have different sleep temperaments to an extent. But the biggest determinator of your kids' sleep patterns is you, the parent.
I was struck by the advice in this article about sleep tips, because of how different each tip is from one another and how they clearly reflect the parenting practices of the parent. For instance, I would never buy a white noise machine and make my child dependent on it, and yet I understand why people do.
What is our secret to getting kids to bed?Consistency. Our nighttime routine has always been the same and we always let the routine be our guide. There are no stories unless teeth are brushed. There are no long cuddles past a certain time. By letting the routine guide us, it doesn't become a power struggle.
The nitty-gritty of whether you let your kids fall asleep on you, or sing them to sleep, or rub their backs in a counter-clockwise fashion, is secondary to not allowing bedtime to be a power struggle.
I have friends who struggle with getting to their kids to bed at a decent hour because they feel guilty not seeing them all day. But when given the choice to put them to bed early, they don't want to change the routine and see less of them. That's okay.
I have friends who are so sick of their kids by the end of the day that they have them tucked away by 7:30 at night. That is what works for them.
When it comes to sleep - own it. Own your routine, admit that you like having a kid in your bed or that you aren't willing to do the work to make it stop. Or that you like having your baby fall asleep on you, or that you don't. In the words of Dr. Phil - you do what works for you.
Just repeat to yourself over and over: my kids will go to sleep, my kids will go to sleep. And eventually, you will believe it and you will make the choices you are comfortable with to make it happen.
Are your kids good sleepers? Is bedtime smooth or chaos at your house?