This piece is brought to you by Moose Toys but is 100% my story. Stace x
Remember the first time your baby slept through the night? Yeah, me too. It’s like you’ve been given a million bucks! That is, until you realise you’ve got ZERO control over the inevitable moment that they decide they just don’t want to sleep anymore. And chances are, they’re going to take you down with them. Hard.
I thought I was nailing life with my three boys. I started with a little blankie from the day they were born instead of a dummy and taught them to self-settle, which meant they were sleeping through the night in their first year of life. There was no co-sleeping, so everyone was living the glorious dream of a full night’s sleep… until they weren’t. It was like, poof! Everything changed seemingly overnight and the battle to re-train them to sleep had begun.
It feels like there’s so many things playing against you. There’s the transition from cot to bed, the nightmares and terrors, that cute ‘four-year-old sleep regression’ business and the list goes on. I mean, between the three of my kids there is always a reason to come out of their room, amiright? It could be the need to pee 6000 times, or the monster that’s hiding out under their bed. Or maybe it’s the Sahara desert-style need for hydration or that desperate need for a cuddle. Cute, NOT cute.
I mean, how do kids learn to be so manipulative at such a young age? It’s frightening and clever all rolled into one.
My house at the moment consists of a five-year-old who needs to chat every six seconds at night time and a two-year-old who has transitioned into a big boy bed and can’t bear to sleep on his own anymore. So, I asked our resident sleep expert Shira how to take care of business again so I can sit on the couch at 8pm and binge on chocolate and Netflix in peace.
Here’s what she had to say…
Is the four-year-old sleep regression a real ‘thing’?
I don’t believe that there is a specific four-year-old sleep regression. Usually any regressions in sleep at this age are caused by one of the following.
- Dropping off a nap resulting in over-tiredness at bedtime.
- Bedtime becoming too late, therefore ending up with an overtired child.
- Fears or anxieties developing.
- Behavioural issues and lack of boundary setting from parents.
- Having a new sibling coming along.
What is up with EVERY single kid always coming out of their room 6000 times a night?
Once toddlers and older children realise they have the option of coming out of bed – they often do. At bedtime they are often practicing their skills of negotiation, excuse making and distraction. Kids will often unexpectedly remember they had something super important to tell you, suddenly have a tummy ache or get ridiculously thirsty before deciding they are ready to sleep.
How can we help toddlers and kids stay in their bed at night?
As well as making bedtime a positive part of the day for our child, it is important to set some clear boundaries. It helps to have a reward system in place alongside some simple bedtime rules to follow. Having a special toy such as the COZY DOZY will also help keep bedtime positive too. COZY DOZY is not only a cuddly toy that children will love, but it also role models the perfect sleep behaviours.
Any tips for helping transition kids from cot to bed?
When transitioning children from cot to big bed, the most important thing is to make sure they are ready. Being ready means understanding the concept of staying in bed without coming out. Many people jump the gun here and transition kids when they need the cot for a sibling, their friends’ children of the same age are doing it, or they just feel it’s the right time. When transitioning you will find it helpful to keep your bedtime routine and sleep environment the same. This includes any sleep props your child has such as a bedtime toy or comforter.
I used snuggies/blankets with all my kids as a comforter… what do you think about this idea?
I love the idea of children having a special blanket or toy for sleep time. These items offer comfort to the child and most importantly – consistency. They help children feel safe and secure, even when things may be different at home or when sleeping out!
How is the best way to handle night terrors/nightmares? How can we re-settle them afterwards?
Often, night terrors occur when a sleep pattern is disrupted, such as having a late bedtime, around school holiday times or during illness. When a child has a night terror, they are inconsolable and it’s best to wait until their agitation naturally subsides.
A nightmare on the other hand is really just a bad dream. Children can be awakened and consoled, some having a vivid memory and some not being able to tell you what the nightmare was about.
For both night terrors and nightmares, it helps to reset the child by gently reassuring them and tucking them back in in the same way you did at bedtime.
Any tips for alleviating fears around being in their room alone?
If children have fears of being in their rooms alone this can often create the habit of him/her wanting Mum/Dad to sleep in the room. As this is not always possible or practical for some parents, I encourage the use of a special bedtime toy or comfort item. This toy/comforter is ideally set aside for bedtime only, so that the child looks forward to this time of the day. The COZY DOZY is perfect as a special bedtime buddy. You can reassure your little one by telling them that they are being protected by their special toy/comforter and there is nothing to be afraid of. If they fear something specific such as monsters, using ‘monster spray’ (anything such as water or perfume in a spray bottle) at bedtime will keep those monsters out.
If you would like to know more about this awesome COZY DOZY toy Shira refers to, please watch below or visit here for more info:
*We are LOVING the new Cozy Dozy toy that is the ultimate Bedtime Buddy. They are super soft and interactive cuddly teddy bears that are so playful and the perfect bedtime companion. Cozy Dozy responds to being tickled on their tummy and patted on their heads. They come with an included blanket to be lovingly wrapped in and a toy dummy to help soothe them off to sleep. Hold them in your arms, wrap them up in their blanket, give them the dummy and watch them fall asleep. So soft and cuddly they are a dream to be with. Each Cozy Dozy has over 25 different sounds and reactions! You can purchase them at all major retailers and good toy stores.
About our sleep expert: As a mother of three, Shira knows how important and necessary sleep is for not only the development of a child, but for the health and wellbeing of both parents and child. Shira doesn’t believe in a one-size-fits-all approach, providing families with tailored sleep programs to suit their personalities and parenting styles. You can contact Shira (as well as nabbing some more sleep tips) online here.