Over the last week or so I have answered a lot of questions on my Twitter regarding sleep. It’s a fundamental discipline that parents need to get under their belt. As you have heard me say 1000 times, sleep deprivation affects the whole family. The detriment of lack of sleep in children may lead to irritability, temper tantrums, inability to focus and concentrate, learn and process.
For adults the dangers are just as detrimental and could lead to: loss of energy, irritability, no consistency, armchair parenting, lack of attention, anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, not enough rest and relaxation. Most of you on Twitter stressed concerns with your toddler-aged children. But for those of you who mentioned your ‘tweens and teens, what I’m about to say will apply as well.
In order to promote sleep, you have to create an environment that is conducive for it. You can’t expect anyone to sleep through WWIII. With the likes of cell phones ringing, radios pumping, and televisions blaring, these distractions set our children up for failure. Be sure to create an ambiance that will cushion the bodies natural response to slow down. Secondly, you have to be present! No good comes of rushing through the bedtime routine. Like I said in last month’s editorial, you have to carve out the time to do so.
Read children books, ask them questions, show your affection, massage, hug, kiss your children. It will help them to feel safe, peaceful and reassured. Consistency is what’s creates a bedtime ritual, which helps with transition, which, in turn, helps with self soothing — which helps with the ability to sleep on their own and results in equals sleep for all.
When we make the rules up ourselves and go off track, we get sidelined and ultimately what we do is break the promise that our homes can be a guaranteed sanctuary for rest, sleep and safety. You see our children might not prompt us, but they see with our actions the steps we take that ultimately lead to feeling very sound when it is time to go to bed.
For those of you who claim you have done all of this, I urge you to go back and check the list. In my books you will find several sleeping techniques that will resolve your sleeping issues once you have fundamentally fixed the above. My sleep techniques include:
Controlled Timed Crying Technique (CTCT) is my sleep technique that is preferably used for those under 18 months old. It requires a discipline that is timed so that your child is never left to “cry it out.”
The Sleep Separation technique, is for those youngsters who show anxiety and clinginess during the day, but are certainly ready to sleep in their own rooms all night.
The Stay in Bed technique is for toddlers more confident during the day and who just need to be settled during the night.
When you can identify which type of technique fits your child’s needs, it is easier to use the right technique to help them when it comes to sleeping through the night – and finding the right one benefits the whole family.
So, for those parents right now who are screaming out, “What about my 8-year-old?” or “What about my 10 year old?” I suggest you do the above and take their electronic devices out of the equation as well. A good gripping story, a peaceful melody, all work just as good as long as you are the one who becomes the sleep regulator. Oh yes, and that does include TV as well. Trust me, TVs are electronic nannies you do not want in the room whilst trying to promote better sleep.
Now chop, chop! There is sleep to be had.
Copywritten by Jo Frost