The elusive full night's sleep
For the third time this month I've had a conversation with a fellow momma about sleep and it dawned on me - not everyone tackles sleep the same way, but when we're without it? We all go a little bit nuts.
In this house, I'm a bit of a drill sergeant when it comes to sleep. Asleep by 7, not allowed to get me until 6:15 earliest in the morning. Brian travels for work and is gone 4 days every week, so getting my kids on a serious sleep schedule has been one way I can ensure I get some time to myself in the evenings, but more importantly, it sets the girls up for success! Think about it. When you don't get the sleep your body needs you are cranky, emotional, physically unable to be your best self all day. Our kids are the same, except they are unable to regulate their emotions like we adults can (or are supposed to be able to do).
So what am I doing a little differently than most?
First, sleep is a no compromise zone. If we get invited somewhere that will put us out past the kid's bedtime? We say no thanks. It's not that we don't want the kids to experience fun things, but let's be honest - no one has a good time when screaming, over-tired children are involved. Sure, we make exceptions when we're on vacation or for super special occasions, but that's probably....15 nights a year. If that.
Second, our routine is iron-clad and never-changing.
5:00 - Dinnertime. Never later.
6:00 - Head upstairs, pick out pajamas, go to the bathroom, brush teeth, take a bath, lotion up, get dressed, set the diffuser/sound machine up, 2 books (they each pick one), crawl into bed, 2 songs (they each pick one).
7:00 - Lights out. No exceptions.
I don't rock anyone to sleep or lay in their bed with them until they're asleep. This isn't because I don't love them. It's because I love them SO MUCH I want to teach them how to sleep properly! That means learning to put themselves to sleep. It's a life skill they need.
We also have a system in place to ensure the kids stay in their beds at night, which I've found is one of the biggest problems most moms tell me about. Have you ever heard about the "Ok to Wake Clock?" This thing is GENIUS and a must-have tool for mommas everywhere.
Instead of an alarm (which frankly is a terrifying thing to wake up to), the face of this clock simply lights up green (as in green means go!) when it's ok for the kids to get up in the morning. If they have to go to the bathroom before that I always help them, but then they have to get back in bed and stay there, quietly, until that light turns green. It took some training, but now our girls know that when it turns green, they're welcome to play and read quietly together in their room until I'm ready to come get them.
And finally, did you know that red light can help encourage the body to produce melatonin naturally? Whereas blue light does the opposite and can keep you awake? Our nightlight in the kid's room is the diffuser, and we set it to red on purpose!
If you're not getting enough sleep from your little ones at night, try some of these things out! They're smarter than we give them credit for and they can absolutely learn to sleep through the night. But you have to be their guide and show them the way.