Is Your Child off to Sleep-Away Camp this Summer?  Here are 5 Sleep Tips to Ensure They’re Well-Rested And Ready For Fun!

IMG_2625For many of us, sleep-away camp was a summer ritual – a rite of passage when we became old enough to go off on our own and create memories and friendships. And now your child is going off too! For many new campers, this summer will be their first time sleeping away from home without Mom or Dad for more than a night or two. Cabins, bunk beds, campfires, boating, swimming, pottery, talent shows…that is a lot of newness and excitement for your camper. Add in some strange noises, whispering cabin mates and an unfamiliar bed and drifting off to sleep may be difficult – even for the best of sleepers. It is easy to see how your child may leave for summer camp rested and full of sunshine, but may return an overtired mess. In between shopping for bug spray, labeling clothes and reviewing your packing list – add these 5 tips to your “to-do list” to ensure that your child can get the sleep in they need to enjoy their camp adventure and create their own rustic nostalgia.

 

Pack Their Perfect Bunk in Their Camp Trunk

Your summer camp will send you a packing list to ensure that your child has everything they need. But while you’re packing, remember to recreate the comforts of home, or at least the necessities. This is especially important for the younger and first-time campers. If your child has a special stuffed friend or blanket that they can’t sleep without – make sure it goes to camp too. Pack your child’s pillow along with any blankets that are comforting to them. I know most of us think ‘sleeping bag’ when it comes to camp, but it doesn’t have to be a bag if your child doesn’t sleep comfortably in it.   Most camps are ok with you bringing your own sheets and blankets to re-create a more comfy bed – especially for campers that are staying for extended periods of time. Is your child noise sensitive? In general, camps do not allow expensive electronics like iPhones, and iPads, but check to see if an old iPod can come along with a set of headphones. If that is an option, down load a white noise app or sound track that your child can listen to as they drift off to sleep. If the iPod is a no-go, remember that old Sleep Sheep from their infant days? Dust it off and check the batteries. It only plays for 45 minutes, but it may be the perfect bunkmate to fend off any distracting bedtime noises around camp. Sheep “too baby-ish”? Is a small clip on fan allowed? If so, it can do double duty to keep him cool and block out any troublesome noises.

 

Prepare for Child For What is to Come

If your child is one who thrives on routine (as many do), make sure that you talk through what camp will be like – including bedtime. Check out your camp’s website to see if they post a typical daily schedule or reach out to your camp to find out what your child can expect. Walk your camper through all of the details you find. Explain that while their camp bedtime routine may not include a book or some of their home bedtime rituals, it will be consistent from night-to-night and their counselors will be there to help get them ready for bed each night.

 

Be a Weatherman (or Women)

Know the average highs and lows for the location of your child’s camp (many weather websites have charts detailing yearly averages). Sure it’s summer and it is bound to be warm, but if your child’s camp is in the mountains or by the ocean – overnight lows may be cooler than you think.   Also check the extended forecast a few days before camp to be prepared for any impending heat waves. Then pack your child’s pajamas accordingly. Be sure to include extra socks and long sleeve cotton tees for layering.

 

Do Your Homework and Pick a Camp that Works for your Family

All overnight camps are fun and full of activities galore. With so many great camps to choose from, you should also take into consideration the one that works best with your child’s current schedule. If your 6 year old has gotten the overnight camp bug and you are on board, check that potential camps have a schedule that isn’t too far from his norm. If he is regularly fast asleep by 7pm each night – an 8pm camp bedtime should be ok. However, a 9pm bedtime may be too much for him, especially with all of the physical activity that he will be doing. Also think about your child’s daily schedule, does your child usually have downtime each afternoon to unwind a bit? If so, many camps have a scheduled quiet time – so check for that too.

 

Back To Reality

No matter how prepared your child is, and how well rested they go into sleep-away camp; they will inevitably come home exhausted. If your child was only away for a week or two, get them right back on their usual schedule upon arriving home and they should adjust in just a few days. If they were a month-long or summer-long camper, adjusting may be a bit more difficult. Rather than do it cold turkey, move bedtime back to their norm in stages – by 30 minutes every few days. No matter how long your child is at camp, be sure to schedule your camp dates so that there is enough time to catch up and be well rested before starting the new school year.

This article appeared in the Boston Parent’s Paper North East Camp Guide.  Click here for the digital version. FeaturedInButton

 

Copyright © Well Rested Baby, 2015


Amy Lage is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a Family Sleep Institute certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant. She is founder of Well Rested Baby (www.wellrestedbaby.com). She offers a host of services including in person, phone, email and Skype/FaceTime consultations that can be tailored to meet any family’s needs and schedule. Amy, her husband Jeff, their 4 year old Stella, their 2 year old Harley, and their two dogs Jackson and Cody live in Beverly Farms, Massachusetts. Please email her at amy@wellrestedbaby.com with any questions. Be sure to follow WRB on Facebook and twitter for more great sleep tips!

 

Summertime, Make the Travel Easy

This coming weekend marks the unofficial start of summer! With the wind in our hair, and the sun shining on our (sun-screened) faces, who doesn’t love a little summertime adventure? It’s time to take some time to relax and have some fun. The seashore, the mountains, the woods, it really doesn’t matter as long as we are outside enjoying the season. For those of us with small children, however, the thought of a summer escape may be a bit more daunting. Before you pack up the car or book your flight make sure you check out my WRB Summer Travel Tips. These three simple rules will help to ensure that this summer, the living really is easy.
FullSizeRender

1. Stick As Closely as Possible to Your Baby’s Schedule
• Help Make the transition easier: Even though your baby will be sleeping away from home, that shouldn’t mean that their schedule is left behind. Keeping their nap times and bedtimes consistent will help them to assimilate to their new environment more quickly and will make sure they stay a happy baby rather than an overtired cranky one.
• Travel during sleep times: In order to make sure naps aren’t missed, plan your travel times around nap times. If driving, allow your baby to take their nap on the go but at the usual time. A few minutes before naptime do a modified version of your regular soothing routine so your little one understands it time to go to sleep. If flying during naptime, most little ones sleep great on the plane (it must be that constant humming sound ;). Wearing your baby in an ergo like carrier is a great option as they are secure, yet comfortable. If taking a long flight or a red eye, call your airline in advance and request a sky cot (a small travel bed which is installed in front of your seat – most airlines provide these for free).
• Schedule naps into your daily plan: Once you have reached your destination, try to have naps occur in your hotel room if possible. This will help your baby become more familiar with their new sleeping environment as well as provide them with more restorative sleep. If hanging around the hotel is not in the plans, make sure you have your baby in their car seat, stroller, or carrier in plenty of time to catch their nap on the go. While sleeping in a stationary crib or bed is best, for a few days while on vacation it is ok to have your little on nap on the go.
• Need to miss a nap: If despite your best efforts a nap just isn’t possible on one of your vacation days, don’t sweat it. Instead opt for a super early bedtime to make up for that missed sleep. It will help to make sure your little one stays on track and doesn’t become overtired.
• Manage expectations: If you are visiting with friends or family make sure they are aware of your baby’s schedule. Grandma may roll her eyes when you tell her that bedtime is 6:30, but at least she will plan an early dinner so your little one is not fussing through dinner and keeping everyone from enjoying their meal.

2. Create A Sleep Environment That Resembles Home
• Home away from home: Bring along all your baby’s usual sleep time props – sleep sack, lovey, pacifier, white noise etc. This will help them feel as comfortable as possible while away from their crib.
• Make your phone do double duty: If your white noise isn’t portable, download a white noise app on your smart phone and select a sounds option that is similar to your one from home.
• A comfy crib is easier than you think: Call ahead and request a crib for your room. Most hotels do have quality full size cribs on hand – you just have to ask! Bring along your baby’s own mattress pad and sheet for piece of mind. If you prefer to bring your own travel crib and have not yet made the big purchase, I love the Baby Bjorn Travel Crib. Or if you already own a pack and play – invest in a mattress topper so your baby can sleep more comfortably on the go.
• Block out the sun: If your child is used to a very dark sleeping environment, come prepared. I always travel with a 4 pack ($26 for 4!) of Redi Shade Black-Out Blinds.  They pack easily at the bottom of a suitcase and can be cut to stick onto any window frame with their own self-adhesive. Or check out these fantastic travel blinds from the Gro Company. They come in a compact travel bag and stick to any window using suction cups. They are a bit more of an investment, but reusable, easy to pack, and a snap to put up and take down.

3. When You Get Home It’s Back to Business as Usual
• The best laid plans: No matter how well you plan ahead, life happens and things can go awry. The key to getting back on track as quickly as possible is easier than you think – just resume your old routine! A few days consistently back to the norm and you will have your great sleeper once again.
• Early bedtime saves all: A great tool to help expedite this process is an early bedtime. An overtired child has a much harder time falling asleep and staying asleep. If you opt for an early bedtime the first few nights home, it will be beneficial in helping your child catch up on any missed sleep and get back to their typical sleep habits.

Amy Lage is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a Family Sleep Institute certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant. She is founder of Well Rested Baby (www.wellrestedbaby.com) and has helped hundreds of families to get the sleep they need over the past 4 years. She offers a host of services including in person, phone, email and Skype/FaceTime consultations that can be tailored to meet any family’s needs and schedule. Amy, her husband Jeff, their 4 year old Stella, their 2 year old Harley, and their two dogs Jackson and Cody live in Beverly Farms, Massachusetts. Please email her at amy@wellrestedbaby.com with any questions. Be sure to follow WRB on Facebook & Twitter for more great sleep tips!
rTjnooyTR-1One nap, two nap, red fish, blue fish?  Transitioning your toddler to one nap may seem as simple and benign as reading a Dr. Seuss Book.  Yes there will be more fun to be had once you are through this transition and can have more time for morning activities, but getting to that point is a bit more like “Fox in Sox”: as trying as a tongue twister.  As the book is prefaced – “Take it slowly.  This book is dangerous!”  The move from two naps to one is not for the faint of heart.  There will be lots of struggling to keep your bleary eyed tot awake till naptime and further struggles to reach bedtime.  It is just a very long time for a little one to be awake and while their bodies may no longer need two naps, they aren’t quite ready for only one.  So what’s a Mom (or Dad) to do?  First, make sure they are truly ready before putting them (and you!) through this sometimes-arduous journey.

 

Most toddlers make the leap to one nap sometime between 15-18 months of age, however according to Dr. Weissbluth, 23% of 18 month olds are still taking two naps a day – so don’t rush it!  If your 2 nap a day child’s naps have become a bit off kilter and you are thinking they may be ready, make one last attempt to salvage both naps before giving up.  As our babies get older, we become more lax about the starting time of the first nap and let it slide later and later.  Next thing we know, they are not in their crib until 9:30am and then they go on to play, or babble, or do calisthenics rather than taking a nap.  The logical conclusion would be that they no longer need that nap, right?  Well maybe, but it’s more likely that by 9:30 they have actually already become overtired and have caught a second wind.  Once they catch that second wind it is very difficult for them to fall asleep and take a restorative nap.  So before giving up, try moving the morning nap earlier to have them in their crib 8:30-8:45am so that they can be fast asleep by 9am. In turn, move the afternoon nap earlier making sure it starts between 12:30-1pm.  Give this a shot for a week and you may find that your child goes back to taking two naps a day like a champ and buy you another month or so of two naps!  If despite your best efforts, both naps just aren’t happening – here’s what to do:

 

Nap schedule:
Ultimately you want the nap to begin at 12:30pm.  Yes, 12:30pm.  I know you are thinking – “How the H-E-double-hockey-sticks am I going to make it to 12pm?” But you will.  Again, that is why we want to keep the two naps for as long as possible.  On day one you will start with the nap at as close to 11:30pm as you can muster.  You will hold at 11:30am for 3 days.  On the fourth day, you will move to 11:45am and remain there for 3 days.   On day 7, you will hit your first target of 12pm.  We will stay at 12pm for a few weeks and once your child has adjusted, you will push on to 12:30pm.  As your child reaches age 2, you will see the starting time of the nap move closer and closer to 1pm where it will stay until your child stops napping.

 

Bedtime:
Remember this is a HUGE transition for your child. In order to keep them from becoming woefully overtired, make sure you move bedtime very early to compensate.  This is one of those times when a 5-5:30pm bedtime is a very useful tool and most certainly in order. And no, this doesn’t mean your child will wake up earlier.

 

Coping Strategies:
As I’ve said, this is a really hard transition. It’s just a big jump for them and they get tired really easily. Here are some ideas to help:

  • Expect short naps the first week or two of the transition.  Don’t worry this is not forever, but it is common as your child adjusts – again EARLY BEDTIME is your best friend during this move.
  • Try to get out and about in the morning prior to nap and in the afternoon after nap for some sunshine and exercise, but DO NOT let them fall asleep in the car!
  • The first few days they will most likely start to crash at around 10am. Have a snack ready at this point to help keep them going.
  • Be consistent. Your child will be tired and cranky and you will be tempted to revert to a two nap schedule, but this will just make it harder on them. Once you decide to take the plunge into the one nap a day pool, there is no going back. It is just too hard for your child’s body to flip back and forth. You just need to rip the Band-Aid off and go for it.

The Tip Take-Away:
If your attempt at two naps has become as trying as a tongue twister, your child may be ready for the transition to one nap. Before making any rash decisions ;), make one last crack at two naps a day. If it doesn’t work, it is time to transition. This transition is a BEAR, so give the earlier nap a try first. Good luck!
Unknown

This article originally appeared in Macaroni Kid – click here.




Copyright © Well Rested Baby, 2015

Amy Lage is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a Family Sleep Institute certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant. She is founder of Well Rested Baby (www.wellrestedbaby.com). She offers a host of services including in person, phone, email and Skype/FaceTime consultations that can be tailored to meet any family’s needs and schedule. Amy, her husband Jeff, their 4 year old Stella, their 2 year old Harley, and their two dogs Jackson and Cody live in Beverly Farms, Massachusetts. Please email her at amy@wellrestedbaby.com with any questions. Be sure to follow WRB on Facebook and twitter for more great sleep tips!

blog-bgBaby, toddler, preschooler, 3rd grader, highschooler, adult. No matter your age, sleep is one of our most important biological needs. As my favorite sleep guru Dr. Marc Weissbluth has said “Sleep is to the brain as food is to the body”. Our bodies regulate sleep in much the same way that they regulate eating, drinking, and breathing. This suggests that sleep serves a similar critical role in our health and well-being.  I want to share 3 easy steps to ensure your entire family is getting the sleep that they need so “health and happiness abound.”

1. Know How Much Sleep is Needed And Insist On it
The amount of sleep our bodies require changes as we age. Very young babies sleep a lot – 16-20 hours a day (which makes perfect sense as their main objective is growing their brain and body). Many parents are surprised that at 12-18 months, their kids still need about 14 hours of sleep per day. Toddlers and preschoolers require 12-13 hours of sleep per day and school age kids still need 10-12 hours. There is a whole lot of growing going on, and remember – sleep is required for brain growth and development. And if you can believe it, highschoolers still need 9 hours of sleep per night! Knowing how much sleep your child needs to be happy and healthy will allow you to insure they are getting that sleep. For children who are still napping, ensure that naps are happening in sync with their circadian rhythms and that bedtime is occurring before overtiredness can set in. Children who are no longer napping, will need to achieve all of their sleep at night. As we can not count on our kids to sleep-in in the morning (don’t we wish!!), we need to make sure bedtime is early enough to achieve their total needed hours of sleep at night. For example: if your child needs 11 hours of sleep at night and they wake at 6:30am – they need to be fast asleep by 7:30pm. That is asleep, not just getting into bed. This goes for parents as well. To be healthy, well functioning adults we need quality sleep too!

2. Make Sure Bedrooms are Conducive to Good Sleep
Most of us know the ABC’s of a proper sleep environment for our babies and toddlers – a dark room (black out blinds and no sources of light) free from distractions (mobiles, toys, music), with white noise and a temperature between 65-70 degrees. Once our kids get older, we often forget about creating a bedroom that promotes good sleep hygiene, but it is just as important. No matter our age, our bedrooms should be very similar to the environment that you created in your nursery. This means that TV’s, smart phones, computers, and tablets should be turned off and left in the livingroom!

3. Routines Really Are Important
Pre-sleep routines are a necessity whether you are 4 months or 40 years old. Routines help our bodies to unwind and train our body and brain that sleep is forthcoming. For young children, bedtimes should be a bit flexible based on the quality of naps each day (on a poor nap day bedtime should be earlier, and on a good nap day a bit later). For older children, teenagers and adults, bedtime should be at about the same time each day.


Amy Lage is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a Family Sleep Institute certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant. She is founder of Well Rested Baby (www.wellrestedbaby.com). She offers a host of services including in person, phone, email and Skype/FaceTime consultations that can be tailored to meet any family’s needs and schedule. Amy, her husband Jeff, their 4 year old Stella, their 2 year old Harley, and their two dogs Jackson and Cody live in Beverly Farms, Massachusetts. Please email her at amy@wellrestedbaby.com with any questions. Be sure to follow WRB on Facebook and Twitter for more great sleep tips!

How Did I Get Here – My Journey As a Pediatric Sleep Consultant

amyandbabyThis is a picture of my oldest daughter and me just before we decided to take control of our family’s sleep and hire a Pediatric Sleep Consultant (don’t we look exhausted!). She was about 8 months old and we had held off from reaching out for help because we were convinced that a) sooner or later everything would click and she would become an exquisite sleeper and b) that a sleep expert would simply tell us to let her “cry it out” (and that wasn’t something we were wiling to do). We had read EVERYTHING and were actually doing many things right, but she was still taking 30 minute naps and consistently waking for about an hour or two every night around 2am. Finally, after one night spent in a hotel room attempting to sleep sitting up with her strapped to me in an ergo (because she wouldn’t sleep in her Baby Bjorn travel crib without waking up the entire hotel), we decided enough was enough and reached out for help. Within a week of our initial consult, our little one was miraculously sleeping 12-13 hours a night and taking great naps…..and no, our sleep consultant never told us to leave her to cry.

 

Apparel Buyer Turn Sleep Consultant?

A few months later, our consultant reached out to announce that she was founding a school to teach others the amazing skill set she had used to help us. And that was it. I was hooked. Working with her was truly a game changer. As a mom who was now consistently getting a good night sleep, I was a better parent, a better wife, a better friend…really, just a better me. If I could help other tired parents to get back the quality of life they deserved, I was all in! That was about three years ago and to date, I have helped about 400 families to take control of their sleep and become well rested. I love my job and find it extremely rewarding. Whether my clients have a 6 month old who is just learning healthy sleep habits for the first time or they have a 3 year old who is no longer interested in sleeping in his bed – giving others the gift of sleep is an amazing feeling.

 

The Big Bad Wolf? Mother Goose, is Way More Accurate 

The biggest challenge I find in my work is that many people think as I did: that I will simply tell them to let their child cry. Yet that could not be further from the truth. I work with families from all walks of life, with varying parenting beliefs and philosophies. I do not use a one-size fits all sleep plan with “insert new clients name here _____” ;). Instead I tailor every plan to each child’s sleep needs while adhering to their family’s values. Some parents are interested in using methods that promote attachment philosophies, while other parents are more in need of a more aggressive plan. And guess what, both methods will all work as long as the child is on the correct schedule and the parents remain absolutely consistent.

 

The Take-Away 

I was once that bleary eyed parent, the one who had read everything, tried everything, and was still an overtired wreck (along with my daughter). I was the mom who desperately wanted my daughter to sleep, but thought my parenting philosophies didn’t jive with “sleep training.” I just needed a little guidance, a few tweaks here and there, and someone to support me through the process. Today that is my goal: to guide tired parents towards to getting the sleep they need.

1972306_1476499359278743_2283062519733488939_n

 

This article was originally featured on moxyandmain.com –  click here

 

 

Amy Lage is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and a Family Sleep Institute certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant. She is founder of Well Rested Baby (www.wellrestedbaby.com). She offers a host of services including in person, phone, email and Skype/FaceTime consultations that can be tailored to meet any family’s needs and schedule. Please email her at amy@wellrestedbaby.com with any questions. Be sure to follow WRB on Facebook too more great sleep tips!

THE GRAND STAND

BABY MILESTONE: THE GRAND STAND!

1972306_1476499359278743_2283062519733488939_n

 

As seen on Moxyandmain.com – click here for original article.

 

On average, a baby will start to pull up to stand on his own at around 8 month as this is about when his torso and leg muscles are strong enough for this new task. As every child is different, some will do this a bit sooner and some a bit later – and both are completely ok. Guess when they like to practice this skill? At naptime! This is because a baby’s naps serve differing biological purposes. The afternoon nap is physically restorative for your baby and is often when they decide to practice their newfound gross motor skills. Once this skill is on the rise, many babies go through a bit of a nap regression and skip or postpone their afternoon nap while perfecting their “stand.” If your little one has been a rock star napper and is suddenly standing for an hour rather than sleeping, it can be very frustrating. Can he lie down on his own? Does he know how to do this safely? While the urge to go in and lay your child down (or at least attempt to reason with him to do so on his own) is huge, do not do it! If you intervene, this “stand off” will last days and days. If you leave him be to figure this out on his own, one of two things will happen: 1. He will learn to lay himself down and go to sleep all on his own or 2. He will learn to not stand up in the first place. Going in to assist him will not allow him to experience how to handle the conflict of getting back down on his own and will also give him reason to stand for even longer the next day as he will have high hopes of your return. For many kids it can even become a game of cause in effect as they know you will just keep coming back in to lie them down. What to do?

 

  • Often when a child is trying to master this skill, it takes them a very long time to fall asleep for his afternoon nap. In fact, often they practice for so long that they become super overtired and wind up skipping the nap all together. If you see this happening, put your child down about 30 minutes earlier than normal in hopes that he will practice, get it out of his system, and then fall asleep before be becomes overtired.
  • If that doesn’t work and he still decides to stand up through his entire nap or take a very late catnap, an early bedtime will save the day and will help him from becoming woefully overtired. At this age, that means 5pm with no second nap!
  • Stay consistent and offer the nap at the correct time (or a few minutes early) everyday and within a few days, this new skill will be out of his system and his nap will come back.
  • Do not go in and lay your child down as this will just prolong the return to his norm and usually becomes a game, as at this time, he does in fact understand cause and effect.
  • During playtime, practice standing up and safely getting back down over and over. If you can help him master this skill at awake times, it will hopefully impact his naps even less.

Follow these simple rules and your child’s “great stand” will be over as quickly as it began.

Copyright © Well Rested Baby, 2015

AMY LAGE AMY LAGEAmy Lage is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and a Family Sleep Institute certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant. She is founder of Well Rested Baby (www.wellrestedbaby.com). She offers a host of services including in person, phone, email and Skype/FaceTime consultations that can be tailored to meet any family’s needs and schedule. Please email her at amy@wellrestedbaby.com with any questions. Be sure to follow WRB on Facebook & Twitter too for more great sleep tips!

 

 

Starting a few weeks ago, my children who usually wake at about 6:30am began waking at about 5:40am – almost full hour earlier than usual.  Then this past week, it was 5:30am!  Yikes.  Nothing had changed with their schedules.  They were still getting their needed sleep on the correct schedule, yet they were waking much earlier than they should to be their well rested selves.

If you are familiar with WRB, you know our take on early morning wakers – 95% of the time the child’s schedule is to blame.  You see when a child goes to bed each night in an overtired state, their body accumulates stores of the hormone cortisol.  These hormones can then stimulate your child into a waking state early in the morning (read this for the details).  If your child is on a great age appropriate schedule, is going to bed before they become overtired, and is encouraged to stay in their bed until 6am each morning – then your child may be part of the 5%.

FullSizeRender-1

For the remaining 5% of early risers, you can thank mother nature.  My children are very sensitive to light present in their sleeping enviroment (as is the case with many kids).  The tiniest sliver of light in their room bothers them – be it sunlight or a hall light left on.  For this reason, they have both blackout blinds and blackout draperies in their rooms.  Yet somehow, starting around this time of year, that tiny sliver of sunlight makes its way in from the sides of the windows and pow – my kids are rising at exactly sunrise.  Let’s discuss the science of how and why we wake in the morning.  Melatonin is responsible for helping us fall asleep at night and it’s absence along with the release of the hormone cortisol and a rising body temperature assists us with waking for the day.  The National Sleep Foundation explains it much better than I can:  “Exposure to light stimulates a nerve pathway from the retina in the eye to an area in the brain called the hypothalamus. There, a special center called the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) initiates signals to other parts of the brain that control hormones, body temperature and other functions that play a role in making us feel sleepy or wide awake. The SCN works like a clock that sets off a regulated pattern of activities that affect the entire body. Once exposed to the first light each day, the clock in the SCN begins performing functions like raising body temperature and releasing stimulating hormones like cortisol. The SCN also delays the release of other hormones like melatonin, which is associated with sleep onset, until many hours later when darkness arrives.”  So if the sun is to blame for your little rooster, what can you do to stop them from rising at the crack of dawn?  Block out any and all light.  I installed the lovely shades below a few days back, and my girls immediately returned to their 6:30am wake-up time.

IMG_2102As you may know, I have an obsession with Redi Shade Blackout Blinds.  Why?  Because they block out light better than even the priciest of blackout draperies or blinds.  Most draperies and blinds sit on the outside of your window frame due to the way they are installed – be in on a bracket or on a curtain rod.  But Redi Shades are cut to fit your window and sit directly inside the window frame which does not let ANY light in.  Best of all they are economical at about $6.50 a shade which make them the perfect to add in the spring and take down in the fall as needed.  You may be thinking, is this inexpensive paper shade going to make my child’s lovely room unslightly, not in the least.  When they are down they simply look like blinds and then they clip all the way up and are out of the way.  So if you child is rising with the sun, my tip to you is to ensure that not even a sliver of sun is getting in through your child’s window!

 Copyright © Well Rested Baby, 2015


Amy Lage is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a Family Sleep Institute certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant. She is founder of Well Rested Baby (www.wellrestedbaby.com). She offers a host of services including in person, phone, email and Skype/FaceTime consultations that can be tailored to meet any family’s needs and schedule. Amy, her husband Jeff, their 4 year old Stella, their 2 year old Harley, and their two dogs Jackson and Cody live in Beverly Farms, Massachusetts. Please email her at amy@wellrestedbaby.com with any questions. Be sure to follow WRB on Facebook and twitter for more great sleep tips!

 

 

Terrible Two’s at Nap Time

Please check out my first guest blogger gig on Kansas City Mom’s Blog – click here for original post!

Terrible Two's at Nap TimeAround age two, many children start to have periods of nap regression. In fact, I went through one with my toddler just last week. It is indeed very frustrating when your norm changes so suddenly. For the past two years, I have simply bid my daughter a nap time adieu, and she was fast asleep within minutes. Last week, I went through my typical pre-nap routine and instead she chose to happily bounce around her crib like a jumping bean for a full two hours. There has been a lot of talk lately about two year olds not “needing” a nap. To the untrained eye, what I went through 5 of the 7 days last week would likely have looked like my daughter giving up her nap — luckily, I knew better.

All two year olds are in need of a daily nap for their health, growth, development, demeanor, and your sanity (I will not bore you with the science supporting my opinion, but for details read this). There are a few causes for these nap slip-ups, and if you are committed to keeping a nap in your child’s day, these nap regressions are 100% fixable. The key to surviving the ups and downs of daytime sleep with a two year old is to know that blips in the road will occur and to have a plan in place to handle them.

Want to keep your two year old’s nap? Then read on.

Possible Nap Issue #1: The Timing is Off
With naps timing is everything. Why? Because we want your child’s nap to occur in accordance with their circadian rhythms. We all have certain times each day that our bodies want to sleep. These times change as we grow, but they are age based and predictable. If we can sleep during one of these times, we will have the easiest time falling asleep and the sleep that occurs during these “sleep waves” is the most restorative and beneficial to our bodies. Often times as our kids get older, we become more lax about their nap times, and we let naps slip a bit too late. If we miss the “window” not only will your child not have the power of this sleep wave to help them drift off, but it is likely that overtiredness will also set in. When we become overtired, our bodies release stress hormones to keep us going – think second wind. Once this happens, it is very hard for a child to settle and fall asleep because these stimulants give their bodies a jolt of energy. Often parents mistake this overtiredness for their child not needing a nap or not being tired.

The Fix:
Fine-tune your child’s schedule to ensure they are napping at the proper time and are able to go down before they become overtired. At age two, your child should be falling asleep for his nap sometime in the 12:30 – 1 p.m. time range. Some kids are very sensitive and missing this window by even 15 minutes can cause a skipped nap. Reset your child’s clock and aim to have him asleep by 12:30 p.m. for a solid week to see if it impacts the ease with which he falls asleep or the quality of their nap. Note – patience and consistency is critical. It is not enough to try for a day or two and then give up. Allot a solid week.

Possible Nap Issue #2: Your Child’s Need For Independence
If you have a two year old, I am sure you hear the phrase “I can do it myself” often. I must hear it 10 times a day. While I love my child’s new love for doing things on her own, it can be frustrating when we are running late and I just want to get whatever it is done! This need to be in control often also carries over to their sleep. Suddenly skipping a nap or playing during their nap becomes a power play for independence because it is a decision we cannot make for them.

The Fix:
A two year old’s quest for knowledge is never ending – so take that love and use it to your advantage. At dinner on a skipped nap day ask your child how they feel. Explain that the reason he feels cranky and not at his best is because he didn’t get in his nap. Talk about how sleep makes us feel healthy and great and allows us to have the energy we need to do fun activities in the afternoon and early evening. And remember that need for control? We will use that, too. Tell your child that the decision is his: he can choose to take his nap and feel great and have the energy to play and read books before bed, etc. Or he can choose to skip his nap and feel too tired to do fun things and will have to go to bed early to catch up on that missed sleep. It is his choice to make, but either way he has to stay in his bed for the full nap time. When you put the ball in his court and let him decide, they usually choose sleep.

Possible Nap Issue #3:  A Developmental Leap
Many parents think that developmental leaps stop impacting sleep once their child hits toddlerhood, but anytime your child is mastering a new cognitive skill it is very common for naps to be impacted – no matter their age. At age two, you child is still mastering many concepts and his language is still in full blown growth mode. As our kids do not get a lot of alone time during the day, nap time is perfect time to be alone and master these new ideas. Some children skip their nap all together and some talk to themselves for 90 minutes before passing out just before nap time is usually over.

The Fix:
Do nothing. As tempting as it is, going in and telling your child to go to sleep will just exacerbate the issue and will not result in a nap. It may even cause the nap issue listed in #2 because if you tell them to sleep, as they may do just the opposite. So, just leave them be. If they do not sleep, make it up with an early bedtime so they do not become overtired. And keep offering the nap at the correct timing and eventually it will come back.

well-rested-headshotAmy Lage is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a Family Sleep Institute certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant.  She is founder of Well Rested Baby (www.wellrestedbaby.com). She offers a host of services including in person, phone, email and Skype/FaceTime consultations that can be tailored to meet any family’s needs and schedule.  Amy, her husband Jeff, their 4 year old Stella, their 2 year old Harley, and their two dogs Jackson and Cody live in Beverly Farms, Massachusetts. Please email her at amy@wellrestedbaby.com with any questions. Be sure to follow WRB on Facebook and Twitter for more great sleep tips!

Introducing: Well Rested Baby Webinars

We are so excited to offer our new webinar courses.  Now, no matter where you are – you are only a click away from better sleep!

IMG_1987

One-Day Webinar – “Foundations of Healthy Sleep”Seminar

Our popular in person seminar goes virtual. An introduction to healthy sleep basics for infants, toddlers and preschoolers. All children can be great sleepers! They just need to be provided with the skills to do so. In this 90-minute class we will discuss proper sleep hygiene and how to lay the groundwork to create a strong, independent sleeper. Class will conclude with a question and answer session (questions may be asked via chat box & instructor will reply to all verbally).

Date: May 11th at 7:30pm

Price: $50 per family and includes one follow-up email

(to sign up or for more info, please email amy@wellrestedbaby.com)

**Exclusive offer for webinar attendees only: sign up for a One Week Email Consult (a service not normally offered by WRB!) for $175. The One Week Email consult includes a new client questionnaire, a custom sleep plan and one week of daily follow up email support. Offer valid from May 11th-June11th and only available to webinar attendees.

 

Three-Day Webinar – “Do It Yourself” Sleep Training Clinic

Looking for the knowledge to get your child on the road to healthy sleep, but prefer to go it on your own without any hand holding or coaching? Then this option is for you! In this three-class clinic, I will give you the tools to improve your child’s sleep.

Day One: You will begin with our “Foundations of Healthy Sleep Seminar” as an overall primer and introduction to your child’s needs.

Day Two: We will review strategies for teaching self soothing skills and best practices on the road to independent sleep.

Day Three: We will work through common issues, challenges and transitions such as early wakings, dropping naps, sickness, travel and more.

(Each class will last approximately 90-minutes depending on class participation and questions).

All “DIY” participants will be invited to be part of a private FaceBook WRB Sleep Support Group. Membership to this group lasts one months from the last day of your course. Here parents are encouraged to post their successes, challenges and support each other. I will share sleep articles, give tips, and answer difficult questions as they come up in between classes.

Dates: May 14th, 18th, and 21st at 7:30pm

Price: $135 per family

(to sign up or for more info, please email amy@wellrestedbaby.com)

**Exclusive offer for webinar attendees only: If you decide you would like some coaching along the way, sign up for a One Week Email Consult (a service not normally offered by WRB!) for $175. The One Week Email consult includes a new client questionnaire, a custom sleep plan and one week of daily follow up email support. Offer valid from May 14th-June 14th and only available to webinar attendees.

 

 

How & Why New Skills May Impact Your Baby’s Naps

UnknownCheck out my latest article in this weeks 

Macaroni Stork – click here!

 

The Science

I love to share my favorite nap fun-fact with parents of babies: during your baby’s first year+ of life, his morning nap and his afternoon nap actually serve different biological purposes. Yes, they both help your tired little bug rest up, but the morning nap is mentally restorative in nature and the afternoon nap is physically restorative. How do we know this? According my favorite pediatrician Dr. Marc Weissbluth, this occurrence is evidenced by the fact that “there is more REM sleep in the morning nap compared to the afternoon nap”. And we know from research that REM sleep is directly related to brain maturation and restoration and that non-REM sleep is replenishing for the body.

 

Practice Makes Perfect

I have seen further evidence to this fact in my practice. For example, I often receive emails from parents of 11-12 month old babies at their wits end because their amazing napper has boycotted his afternoon nap for 6 straight days. Right away, without knowing many of the details, I can almost always assume their baby is on the cusp of mastering standing, cruising, or walking. You see, not only do the two naps serve two distinct purposes, but they also tend to be when babies practice their new skills. If your child is going through a cognitive leap, or mastering a fine motor skill, often the morning nap is impacted, as that is when your child chooses to go over their new skill. And when they are mastering a new gross motor skill, they practice during their afternoon nap. Working on new skills during sleep times makes much more sense than one would initially think – after all, naptimes are the one time a day your baby gets to be truly alone with his thoughts. You may or may not find all this fascinating, but if you’re still reading this then you’re surely wondering: when can you expect these blips in your child’s naps and what should you do when they occur?

Common Times for Naptime Crazies

  • Disruptions to the morning nap: Assuming your baby is on an age appropriate schedule and has self-soothing skills, if his morning nap takes a sudden turn, it is likely that he is going through a cognitive leap. The first time I usually see this phenomenon come into play is around 5.5-6 months as baby enters “The Wonder Weeks” Leap #5 – “The World of Relationships”. In short, during this leap he is learning the spatial relationships between items. As you can imagine this is a very big concept for such a little person to comprehend and voila – they fall asleep for their morning nap very late as they roll around pondering this new concept or sometimes the nap is skipped all together. Personally the most trying cognitive disturbance for both my daughters happened around 9 months when they were learning about cause and effect. My older daughter would stand in her crib and toss out her binkies instead of sleeping and my younger daughter would toss her prized lovey and then call and call for it’s return. And still for other babies of this age, they simply just stand for long periods of time rather than lying down (read this for more). Fortunately this only lasted a few days, as I was able to stay consistent and leave them be to figure out that they would not get these objects back once they were thrown. But don’t get me wrong, it still stressed me out. Speech and language development are another big one in the for your baby’s morning nap to be impacted and are common again at around the one year mark.
  • Afternoon Nap Nonsense: Again, your child’s afternoon nap can be impacted by new gross motor skills. The    first time we usually see this phenomenon is when your baby learns to roll from back to belly. They usually master this first great gross motor skill quickly if you can leave them be to work it out on their own (read this for more on rolling over). The next big one is crawling and then of course pulling up to stand, cruising and the biggie – walking. Walking is the granddaddy of frustration, as often times it causes them to fully skip their second nap for a week plus as they work through the new skill.

 

Tips To Get Through These Leaps

It can be incredibly frustrating when your great napper suddenly struggles, but it does make it a bit easier to know that it is happening because they are working on a new skill. What can you do to ease through these periods? Nothing. Literally – you should do absolutely nothing. Keep offering the naps at the correct times (or a bit earlier so they can work on this skill and still fall asleep before becoming overtired). Keep leaving them in their crib for the full duration of naptime – whether they sleep or not. And as tempting as it may be, do not go in and try to lie them down, roll them over, or verbally coax them into going to sleep. This will simply prolong the nap boycott by 1.) Not allowing them to work through the skill on their own or 2.) By stimulating them with the interaction of you coming and going. Further, for older babies, your intervention will become a game, as they will keep doing whatever it is that gets you coming in and telling them not to do. So again, keep their schedule and routine consistent, stay out of the room, leave them be to work on it on their own, be consistent and their naps will come back just as quickly as they went awry.

 

 Amy Lage is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and a Family Sleep Institute certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant. She is founder of Well Rested Baby (www.wellrestedbaby.com). She offers a host of services including in person, phone, email and Skype/FaceTime consultations that can be tailored to meet any family’s needs and schedule. Please email her at amy@wellrestedbaby.com with any questions. Be sure to follow WRB on Facebook & Twitter too for more great sleep tips!