If you would rather read than watch my above video then here is the transcript of this week’s child sleep issues video:
Hi. Kim West, the Sleep Lady. And today, I’m going to answer Stacy’s question about her child sleep issues:
“Hello. I’m the mom with three children, Macy, Nadia and Collin. None of my children are good sleepers. Macy is finally starting to sleep through the night, because she’s so exhausted from school. Our problem is with our four-year-old Nadia, who wakes frequently from being scared, and throws temper tantrums in the middle of the night and wakes everybody up.
We’re in survival mode at this point and I’ve reluctantly agreed to letting her sleep with us until she falls back to sleep in my bed. Our 10-month-old has only slept thru the night once since he was born. Needless to say, he has terrible sleep habits. We’ve tried everything and he just screams in his crib like someone is hurting him. He also doesn’t get very good naps, since he is the poor child who’s in the car a lot for school pick and drop off.
My husband and I are beyond exhausted. Our mental and physical health have deteriorated. And we just want everyone to feel good and get the proper rest they need. Please, please, please can you help me with some suggestions to point us in the right direction? We can’t keep going around in this unhealthy hamster wheel any longer.
Thank you for your time and insight about these child sleep issues. Stacy”
Well, Stacy, you do have a lot going on. I don’t blame you and your husband for being tired. I recommend that you read another article I’ve written that addresses multiple children who do not sleep. But for now, I would like you and your husband to divide and conquer– one of you to focus on the sleep coaching with the 4 year old and the other with the 10 month old at the same time. If you sleep coach one child after the other you are going to be even more tired as the process will take longer and you will be more likely to be inconsistent and give up.
So this way one of you will be with the four-year-old and the other one will be with the ten-month-old. It’s okay if you want to switch off. So, with the four-year-old, I want you to follow everything I outlined in the two and half to five-year-old chapter, of the Sleep Lady’s Good Night Sleep Tight. I want you to have a family meeting and create a sticker chart with sleep manners. Teach her about throwing out her scary thoughts and putting in a good one. Again, all of this is outlined in more detail in my book. Then I want you to pick your big night.
Friday nights is the most common choice. You or your husband are going to sit next to Nadia after your family meeting, review the sleep manners and follow the rules of the Shuffle. So three nights by the bed, three nights by the door, and out in the hallway, and work all the way through the Shuffle. Be prepared for temper tantrums. And I don’t want you to say, “Oh, my gosh Nadia, now you’ve woken up your ten-month-old or the baby,” because if she sees that that bothers you and you cave, then that’s what she’s going to bring up, okay?
Also, don’t lead the witness. Don’t enter the room saying “Are you scared? Did you have a nightmare,” just go in, reassure her and sit in your position, wherever you are in the Shuffle. Do the same thing with the baby. If you’re going to start Friday night, please make sure the baby gets great naps on Friday anyway you can get them. If he falls asleep in the car, let him complete the nap in the car, turn the car off, sit and read a book, if it’s in the stroller, whatever works. Make sure he has at least three to three and a half hour of sleep, before you hit bedtime at 7:00 O’clock for his age.
So again, go through the Shuffle with each child – if one child wakes up another, divide and conquer with each parent going to a separate child to reassure them and support them in going back to sleep. You should see more peace and sleep in your family in two to three weeks.
The Sleep Lady
Video filmed by In Focus Studios