I’m so happy to see the focus that people are putting on sleep recently; both for their children and for themselves. Helping your children to appreciate the benefits of a good night’s sleep is such an important lesson, and one that they’ll benefit from through their entire lives.
In today’s video, I’ve got some tips for you to help your older children sleep better, and to help them develop an appreciation for the endless health and wellness benefits that come along with a good night’s sleep.Rather read than watch? Click here.
You know, I’ve been in this business for about 14 years now, and I’ve noticed something that makes me excited, really, and that is, that more and more parents are voicing their concerns around their children’s sleep, and they’re voicing their concerns around older children not sleeping well.
Now, I think 14 years ago, I think people were a bit shy or maybe a little uncomfortable to admit that their five-year old or their eight-year old, or even their 10-year old was still not sleeping great. I get it, right? You don’t really wanna go around telling everybody that your 10-year old is still sleeping in your bed.
But I have noticed a bit of an evolution around that, and I think it’s because sleep has become more of a hot topic, especially recently. More and more people are investigating their own sleep, learning about sleep, educating themselves about sleep, and realizing that, you know what, it’s actually not okay that your five-year old is up three times a night.
We know that children in particular need to sleep 10 to 12 hours of consolidated nighttime sleep, and if they have the skills to do that, that is the one time in our life when sleep is perfect. I mean, sleep is perfection when we’re children. It starts to fall apart as we get older and older, but it is perfection in childhood, so let’s try to make that happen for every child. If that’s the one time it’s perfect, let’s make sure it’s perfect, right?
So I love that people are coming forward, asking for help, not really being sure what to do with their older children, so I’m gonna give you a few tips here today.
If you’ve got an older child that’s still not sleeping great, I wanna help you solve that problem.
The first thing you need to do is educate your child. Now, I love the website sleepforkids.org, has some great child-friendly sleep education. If you’re not sure how to approach the topic or you’re not sure what to teach your child, that is a great resource.
They also have printable bedtime charts, sort of interactive activities that the kids can do, so that’s a great place to start if you’re not sure how to bring up the topic.
But you wanna help your child understand that it’s actually really important for their body and their brain and their overall health and wellness, that they’re sleeping better than they are. It’s gonna make a big difference for them. It’s gonna make a big difference for you, and it’s gonna really improve the quality of life.
Once you get a little bit of a buy-in about why they need to do this, then try to keep things positive. I like reward charts for older children. I love the idea that we’re working towards a goal, that you understand it’s gonna be a bit challenging and she’s gonna have to make some changes, and that that’s okay, and let’s try to keep it positive.
So maybe put, you know, you sleep in your own bed, you get a reward in the morning. I do find that rewards work better if they can be as immediate as possible, so I’m not a huge fan of making kids collect numbers of stickers or stars until they get their reward. I just don’t find that that’s as effective for really reinforcing the behavior you wanna see.
So if she stays in her own bed all night and she hasn’t done that in five years, that is worth celebrating, right? That deserves a reward, so you wanna make sure that you really honor her, that she has done something tough, with that reward in the morning.
Now, often with older children the problem is they’re parent-dependent, meaning that they believe I can only sleep if you lay down beside me, or I come to your bed and lay in your bed. So they’ve hooked themselves to this idea that you need to be there, or they can’t sleep.
If you fall asleep with your children every night, then I guarantee you, at least once or twice, they’re gonna have a wake up, where they’re either coming to you, or you’re going back to them, right? You know I’m right.
So a great solution to that is pick up a copy of The Sleep Sense Program. Now it says toddlers, but it really applies to every child who is parent-dependent, and that is a very gentle process of basically weaning yourself out of her sleep picture, so that the child begins to feel confident and comfortable with falling asleep on her own, and then staying asleep through the night, and that’s gonna make a huge difference to the quality of her nighttime sleep and also to yours, because you won’t have a visitor showing up at your bedside.
Thanks so much for watching today. Sleep well.
If your baby, infant or toddler is having trouble sleeping through the night, help is just a click away! The Sleep Sense Program has helped over 57,00 parents to get their kids sleeping 11-12 hours through the night AND taking long, restful naps during the day. If you’re ready to get started today – I’m looking forward to helping you!
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