Tired Baby, Sleepless Baby, Sleep Advice


Day light savings time starts this coming Sunday, March 12th.  I look forward to this day each year as it means spring is not far behind.  The buds will soon be appearing on the arms of the tree branches and flower bulbs will soon be poking their way out of the cold soil.  I know, I know….with all of this we turn our clocks forward and miss out on an hour of precious sleep.  Fear not, while we do actually lose an hour of sleep that first night – this change is nothing to lose sleep over.  It tends to be less problematic for most little ones than the end of Daylight Savings in the fall (and may even help parents of early risers finally establish a later wake time).  Here are some tips to get through the time change with minimal sleep loss:


Tick Tock, Tick Tock – Here’s How to Reset Your Child’s Clock

  • If your child is generally adaptable to schedule changes or is taking only one nap or no naps a day, your best bet is to switch everything (wake-time, nap, bedtime, meals, etc.) to the new clock “cold turkey.”  Note that you may have to rouse your child at his/her normal wake-time for a few days because of the loss of one hour of sleep.  Exposing your child to light in the morning and continuing with all of your normal activities will help reinforce the new wake time.
  • If your child is napping multiple times during the day (or you are concerned that moving to the new time “cold turkey” will be too stressful for both of you), you can gradually back up their sleep routine (because despite the clock being an hour later – to your body its an hour earlier!) by spreading out the hour change over a few days. This slower change is easier for many, as going to sleep a full hour earlier than their norm may present a struggle. Using this approach you move their nap backwards for their body clock by 30 minutes by making the time on the real clock 30 minutes later. For example – if you child napped at 9am pre-time change, you would move naptime to 9:30am on the new time clock as to their body clock this is just 8:30am.   For a snapshot of your day – if your pre-time schedule was Nap 1: 9am, Nap 2: 12pm, Nap 3: 3pm, bedtime 7pm, on Sunday it will change to Nap 1: 9:30, Nap 2: 12:30, Nap 3: 3:30pm and bedtime 7:30pm. After a day or two you can add the remaining 30 minutes to bring your child all the way to their old schedule on the new clock time, making their sleep time an hour earlier on in total for their body clock. This will help many children ease into the time change more smoothly.
  • Whichever way you choose to handle adjusting your child’s schedule, it is very important to stay consistent in your regular daily routine and move all cues along with the shift to their sleep schedule. For example, if you always have breakfast before Nap 1, lunch before Nap 2, snack before Nap 3, and dinner, bath and a book before Bedtime – make sure this is still your routine.  These regular parts of your child’s day actually act as “cues” telling their brain that sleep is coming next.  Keeping them consistent will help their bodies adjust even more quickly.


Assist Your Child by Controlling Their Environment

  • As we are shifting our internal clocks to wake an hour earlier in the morning, exposing your child to natural light in the morning hours is key. Throw open all blinds upon waking and make sure to get out for some fresh air and natural light in the first half of the day.  Still too cold to play outside, spending time in a sun drenched room will work too.
  • In the evening, we need to adjust our bodies to be ready for bed an hour. Keep your house dim in the hour or so leading up to bedtime – closing the blinds, shutting off any unnecessary lights and keeping the activity level in your home as calm as possible will ease your child into a sleepy frame of mind even if there is still daylight outside.
  • As the days grow longer and it stays brighter out well into the evening, it is crucial to ensure that your child’s room is as dark as possible so that it is conducive to sleep.  One suggestion is to invest in room darkening or “blackout” curtains, which are readily available at many stores and online, and do a great job of keeping light out of little ones’ rooms. My favorite are from Redi Shade, they are quick, easy, economical and block out light better than most pricey shades.


No matter how you choose to handle DST, your well-rested child will easily adjust in a just a few days.  Enjoy the extra hour of sunlight and have a happy spring!


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 6 year old Stella, their 4 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!

As a pediatric sleep consultant, I hear a lot of the same (good!) questions about sleep. A lot of things we think to be true about baby sleep are actually not the case. What I love about this job is that I can help spread information that was so crucial to our understanding of healthy sleep habits – information backed by science! Here are some of the most common sleep misconceptions:

Keeping a baby awake later will help them to become tired and fall sleep
Makes sense, right? But, in reality, the key to an early bed time is to make it happen before a child becomes overtired. There is a certain amount of time babies can be awake before bedtime without becoming overtired – staying within that window is important because, once exceeded, a hormone called cortisol is released which essentially acts as a second wind, making it extremely difficult for a child to fall asleep and stay asleep. If your child is having a hard time falling asleep or is experiencing night wakings, you may want to try an earlier bed time.

Early bed times lead to early wake-times
But an early bed time means they’ll wake up earlier, right? Actually, no! In the same vein as the last myth, the hormone cortisol is often responsible for early wake ups. Cortisol builds up in babies’ systems overtime if they are consistently overtired…and this is often what leads to early wakings. If you have an early riser (before 6AM), try an earlier bedtime and you may just see that your child sleeps in a bit later (and you can, too!).

My baby is a cat napper, but any nap is better than no nap
Unfortunately, naps need to be at least an hour for it to be restorative for a baby. A lot of children cat nap because they aren’t sleeping at times of day that align with their biological rhythms – when it is easiest for a child to not only fall asleep and stay asleep, but also get the best, most restorative rest. To extend a nap to an hour or more, try consistently leaving your child in their crib for a full hour to give them the opportunity to fall back asleep. Eventually, they’ll learn to extend that nap and break the cat napping cycle once and for all!

A nap is a nap is a nap!
Nap times aren’t all created equal. As I mentioned above, naps that align with babies’ biological rhythms (called circadian rhythms) happen when sleep comes easiest for your little one. A child’s body is physiologically primed for sleep during these times, making it the perfect time of day to fall asleep and stay asleep. Not only does sleep come more easily at these times of day, but sleep during circadian rhythms serves an incredible purpose: the morning nap is cognitively restorative and the afternoon nap is physically restorative. When sleep happens outside of these windows of time, there is little benefit for the child. If your child is napping but still seems tired, you may need to adjust the schedule to allow them to sleep during these amazingly restorative times of day.

A consistent bed time is best
The truth is, bedtime is best when it is dependent on the quality of sleep that day. Remember when I said there is a certain amount of time your child can be awake without becoming overtired? Say, for example, this was 4 hours based on your child’s age. If your child takes an amazing nap and sleeps until 3:30PM, that means they can go to bed at 7:30PM without the risk of their body releasing cortisol and experiencing night wakings/early wake-ups. If, however, they have a poor nap day and only sleep until 2PM, bed time should be at 6PM. A flexible bed time trumps a structured bed time, and always allows you the option of a super-early bed time to combat overtiredness, illness, or transitions.

This new (insert name of sleep product here) is the answer to our sleep problems!
There will never be a lack of babies or tired parents, so, of course, there is a constant influx of new sleep products on the market. Before rushing out to the store (or, let’s be real, Amazon Priming) for the newest product on the market, make sure to do your research. A lot of products could create a safety hazard – and, even if completely safe, they could create a sleep association (meaning your child is learning to sleep only with this new product). If your goal is to teach your child to be an independent sleeper, save the money and work on getting healthy sleep foundations in place, and/or if you’re uncertain about a particular product, ask a Pediatric Sleep Consultant or your pediatrician.

Sleep training means letting your baby cry it out
Sleep training means understanding your child’s biological sleep needs and teaching them to be an independent sleeper. There are all types of ways to do this – and sleep consultants work with families to figure out which method feels right for them. But, at the end of the day, teaching a child to self-soothe is only one piece of the sleep puzzle. If all the puzzle pieces are in place good sleep will happen!

Colleen is a Family Sleep Institute Pediatric Sleep Consultant trained with Well Rested Baby where she helps families navigate the confusing world of baby sleep. Colleen also works in healthcare, and lives in Wakefield, Massachusetts with her husband and their twin daughters. Please feel free to reach out to her at colleen@wellrestedbaby.com

5 Tips to Prepare Your Kids for the Daylight Saving Time Change

Although you lose daylight hours, “falling back” can be so comforting. You gain an hour of sleep and it’s the start to the time of year where you get to hunker down and snuggle up; unless of course you are a parent of little ones. In that case “falling back” can mean you’ll be waking up at an ungodly hour. But does daylight savings time really have to be an event parents fear? The simple answer is no. While “falling back” is more difficult for babies and toddlers to adjust to than “springing forward” there are several steps that parents can take before the clocks change. Here are some tips from WRB Certified Child Sleep Consultant Lauren Stauffer to make it a smooth transition:


  1. Stick to routines: Young children crave routines in their daily lives as it helps them to know what to expect. Keep all elements of their routine in place so that events that have come to serve as cues that sleep will follow remain consistent.
  1. Get well rested NOW: Go into daylight savings time well rested. Young children who are overtired have a much harder time adapting to any changes in their schedule. Since they are already tired one slight change can push them into a completely overtired state, which can lead to night wakings, poor naps and bedtime battles. Since we know changing the clocks could result in a little bit of lost sleep we want to make sure they do not already have sleep debt as we approach the time change.
  1. Seek out the sun: Exposure to sunlight can make the transition easier. Our biological clocks respond to light and darkness and cue our bodies that it is time to be awake or asleep. Use the bright sunlight as a form of light therapy and make sure your little one gets plenty of light exposure in early evening. In the morning utilize blackout shades to insure that their room is not too bright.
  1. Adjust schedules ahead of time: Young babies who are still taking several naps a day will do better with a gradual shift that occurs over several days as it allows their bodies to adjust. Shift all elements of their schedule (meals, bath time, story time etc.) as they are all cues to their bodies that sleep will follow. In this case “fall back” we will move their schedule forward slowly as we encourage their bodies to wake an hour later. Starting about one week before the time change move their whole schedule forward by 15 minutes every day or two. For example, if nap 1 occurs at 9am, 9am will become 9:15, then 9:30 etc. Nap two would also be moved from 1:00pm to 1:15, then 1:30 etc. until we have moved the schedule by one full hour. If you we adjust their schedules in increments ahead of time, after the clocks have changed their bodies will already be adjusted to the new time. Most toddlers and kids who are only taking one nap a day, or who are no longer napping at all, will do best just going cold turkey on the day change the clocks.
  1. Give them some time and space: If for a few mornings after the time change your little one does in fact wake up earlier do not rush right in. If we begin to rush in at 5:30, knowing it feels like 6:30 to their little bodies, it will in fact reset their biological clock and teach them that it is time to be awake. Instead give them some time and space to fall back to sleep and go in at your usual time.

Light (or darkness) at the end of the tunnel!

After daylight savings time it is cooler, darker and more conducive to sleep. If you help your little one adjust comfortably they should be able to get right back on track just in time for the best sleeping weather of the year!

To schedule an interview with Lauren Stauffer, Family Sleep Institute Certified Child Sleep Consultant, please contact her directly at lauren@wellrestedbaby.com.

Lauren Stauffer is a Family Sleep Institute certified Child Sleep Consultant with Well Rested Baby. 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.

Whether you are looking for a quick answer to a nagging question about your child’s sleep or you are in need of a complete overhaul of your child’s sleep plan, Well Rested Baby can help you achieve the good night’s sleep that is every parent’s dream! Well Rested Baby does not advocate any one particular sleep training method. Instead, we take a family centered approach to the process of improving your child’s sleep, listening to your concerns as parents and discussing with you the best plan to get your child’s sleep back on track or off to a good start. We truly believe that every child can be a good sleeper — it takes time, patience and some effort but Well Rested Baby is here to educate you and support you through the process.

Visit online at http://www.wellrestedbaby.com.

Summer is coming to a close, boo! It is my favorite season: sunshine, warm weather, flowers, the beach….I could go on and on and it saddens me that it is almost over. But Fall just may be reason for your little one to celebrate! Labor Day not only signifies the unofficial end to summer, but also a return to a more scheduled and reliable life style. As babies, toddlers, and young kids thrive in this type of environment, Fall just may be your child’s new favorite season. Here are 5 reasons that Fall presents a great opportunity to refocus on your child’s sleep:


1. A More Structured Day

For me summer presents more of a fly by the seat of your pants mentality. Beach, why not? Park, of course! Picnic lunch, what could be more lovely? Yet despite my efforts at sticking to a strict schedule, I am inevitably a few minutes late for nap or bedtime. Here’s how it often goes – “No matter what, we are leaving location X by 12pm, so the baby can be in her crib by 12:30”. Yet 12pm arrives and there is just one more run through the water or slide down the slide and somehow 12:30pm becomes 1pm and I am cursing myself for another nap that started a bit too late. Even for a young child who is not yet in school, Fall often presents a more structured and consistent day and, again, young children benefit greatly from being on a schedule. This is because it helps them understand what comes next. If every day your child eats lunch at 12pm and then goes down for their nap at 12:30, lunch serves as a cue that naptime is approaching. But if one day its lunch, then play, then car ride, then nap and the next day its nap, then lunch, then errands – nap time is likely more difficult because their little body doesn’t know what to expect next. So take Fall as an opportunity to get your little one on the schedule they have been longing for.

2. Less Temptation For Naps on the Go
Do you try to eek out every last bit of fun at a location or feel bad cutting big brother or sister off from their good time? If so, your baby may be taking a large percentage of naps on the go. Some babies are able to take ok naps on the go while others are too distracted to get in any quality shut eye. Even if your baby is able to fall asleep anywhere the quality of sleep they are getting is actually sub par. Sleep on the go is not as restorative as sleep in a stationary bed. This is because sleep in motion (that you get in a stroller or car) does not allow the body to enter a deep, restorative sleep. Dr. Marc Weissbluth likens motion-induced sleep to the type of sleep an adult might get while flying in an airplane. So with less going on, take this opportunity to commit to allowing your child to nap in their crib as often as possible.

3. Cooler Weather
We all sleep better in cooler air. The ideal temp for your bedroom is between 65-70 degrees. I shoot for 68. Thankfully air conditioning allows you to keep bedrooms at a good sleeping temperature during warmer months, but nothing is quite as good as the real thing! Think about that first night that you get to sleep with your windows open snuggled beneath a quilt. Somehow you just sleep a little better! For these nights make sure you dress your little one in the appropriate layers. And remember no blankets in your baby’s crib! A wearable blanket will ensure your little one stays warm without kicking off his blankets and while staying safe.

4. Earlier Sunsets
While babies and toddlers do not mind the sun being high in the sky at bedtime, many parents have a really hard time putting their baby to bed when it is still bright and sunny outside. I recommend black out curtains to ensure your child will easily fall asleep at the their ideal bedtime despite the sun shining. Even with a pitch-black room, I know those moms and dads who just can not do it. I think it’s a psychological thing. So now that fall is approaching and the sun will be going down sooner – take this opportunity to make sure you little one is getting a bedtime early enough for his age. How do you know if your bedtime is early enough? Your child should be fast asleep before he has the opportunity to become overtired.

5. Later Starts
Shorter days are not only beneficial to bedtime, but also wake-up times. Not only is it getting darker earlier in the evening it also stays dark a bit later into the morning. This is welcome news for parents as many kids do in fact wake with the sun. If you have done everything to ensure that your child’s early bird tendencies are not from poor sleep hygiene (a nap schedule which is out of sync with their circadian rhythms, a bedtime which is too late, not enough consolidated sleep, a room without black out curtains) then they may just be one of those children with the soul of a rooster. As the sun starts “sleeping in”, you may find that your child does too!

The Tip Take-Away:
Recently there have been a slew of studies showing that children who get more sleep are able to do better in school. Even if your child is not yet school aged, allow the start of the new season, to mean the start of getting back to a healthy sleep routine.

Copyright © Well Rested Baby, 2016

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. 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 to schedule a consultation. Be sure to follow WRB on Facebook and Twitter too for more great sleep tips.

Is you child getting enough sleep to excel in school this year?

The start of the new school year is just around the corner.  Most of us have prepared by purchasing our kids new folders, pencils and backpacks, but have you thought about their sleep?  Did you know that their is a direct correlation between sleep and a child excelling academically and socially?  But how does one make sure their school aged child is getting the sleep they need?  Simply consistently follow my “Sleep Six” featured on the Boston Parent’s Paper website and rest assured that your child will be ready for all their school year throws at them! http://bostonparentspaper.com/article/back-to-school-is-your-child-getting-enough-zzs.html

School Bus 12-1

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

This 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.


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!

toddler napping tribulationsMilestone Monday – this is my daughter and I a month or so before she turned three (she is already 6- boo). This is her nap story and it’s glorious ending. I thought it was worth sharing as I have been receiving far too many emails from parents of 2 year olds who think their child no longer needs a nap. Hint – they are wrong! Interested?  I wrote it about three years ago when I was one of those parents.  Enjoy!

WRB Sleep Tip – Toddler Napping Tribulations

I have an almost 3-year-old daughter. Since the arrival of her sister six months ago, her naps had been sporadic – happening about 4 times a week. On the days she did nap, it often took her up to an hour to settle before she took a measly one-hour nap.  At first it greatly stressed me out as I know she still needs the sleep, but then I began to relax a bit seeing that she was making up for the missed sleep on those no nap days with a super early (think 5:30) bedtime. I still offered the nap daily and left her in her bed for a full two hours – nap or not. She expects this and enjoys the alone time…choosing to talk to herself and sing when she chooses not to sleep. Many a parent may assume this to mean that the above scenario meant so no longer needed a nap, but it does not as a two year old child is very much still in need of a nap (please read this for more). Now, in toddler sleep 101 you learn that when this nap boycott happens the child has likely become overtired before they are put down for their nap. This often occurs as our toddlers’ age and we become more lax about nap times and the starting time slips later and later. The fix for this is to move naptime back up a bit for a week or so and like magic – voila the nap comes back. Even though I knew this fun fact, I couldn’t consistently implement it as she goes to school 3 days a week and doesn’t get home until about 12:45. So in my new role as mother of two, I neglected fixing this nap issue and it went on for several months. In April, she was off from school for the week and it dawned on me – this is the perfect chance to try to repair that nap! In the back of my mind, I was actually a bit doubtful that I was going to fix anything. I thought I had let it go on too long and this new bad habit was going to be the norm, but I moved her nap earlier every day that week from her usual 1pm to having her in her bed by 12:15pm. The first five days nothing much changed and she kept to her same antics, but low and behold on day six she went right to sleep and took her old two-hour nap. And then it happened on day seven too! Two months later it is still happening today. I did shift her nap back to 1pm on the days that she is in school and on the other days I try to get her down just a few minutes earlier around 12:30-12:45, but I can count on one hand the times that she has skipped her nap since the beginning of May.


The Tip Take-Away: Don’t be too quick to assume your child is all done napping…or like me become complacent with your child’s poor naps before trying to fix the problem. If you child is under age 4 and naps have become few and far between, take a solid 7 days and move up their nap to 12:15-12:30 and see if it that helps the nap to come back. Remember this doesn’t happen over night – you must stick with it for a week before deciding it is working or not. After all most 3 year olds still take a daily nap. According to Dr. Weissbluth, a nationally renowned pediatrician and child sleep expert, at age 3, 92% of children are still napping!


In honor of World Breast Feeding Week, I thought I would discuss two topics near and dear to me: Sleep & Breast Feeding.


With my occupation, it is a no brainer that I love all things sleep. However, it may surprise you that breast feeding is also way up there in my priority list. Why these two passions? Making sure that my family is getting the sleep that we each need, ensures that we are all healthy, happy, patient (that one is for me ;)) and ready to face the challenges of each day. Breast feeding has personally given me more joy than I can express while creating an amazing bond with my daughters and giving them best nutrition possible. But can the two (sleep & breast feeding) co-exist or is does one need to suffer for the other to flourish? This is a common misconception and it is 100% not true. Sleep and adequate nutrition are two of our most important biological needs. Any pediatrician will tell you that a healthy baby will not allow himself to go hungry. As a certified child sleep consultant, it is my belief that many babies are in fact in need of a night feeding through 9 months of age. With this knowledge, I often schedule night feedings into many of my client’s schedules to ensure that the baby is getting in all of the feedings he needs. And guess what? Once a baby is going to sleep before becoming overtired and knows how to put himself to sleep without assistance, he often (drumroll) sleeps right through the night and through that scheduled feed. Why? Because once a baby has mastered the art of sleep, he will choose whichever need is biologically most important – eating or sleeping (click here for more). So fear not, your breast feeding relationship and your child’s nutritional needs do not need to be sacrificed by teaching healthy sleep skills. In fact, many mom’s report to me that their nursing relationship improves when their child is well rested!

But don’t just take my word for it:
Check out this great article by Lorna C. Aliperti, APRN, IBCLC.: Can Sleep Training and Lactation Consultants Coexist?

The Take-Away:
Breastfeeding should not be sacrificed in efforts to sleep train your baby nor does it need to be. Simply provide your baby with healthy sleep hygiene and a strong foundation for sleep and when he is ready to sleep through the night without night feedings, he will do so all on his own.

Copyright © Well Rested Baby, 2016

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. 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 to schedule a consultation. Be sure to follow WRB on Facebook and Twitter too for more great sleep tips.

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!


IMG_4433The Daylight Savings Time change in just mere days away    arriving Sunday, March 13th. Yet, there is no need to fret as    the Spring component is much less problematic than it’s Fall counterpart. Yes we do lose one hour of sleep that initial night, but we gain one glorious extra hour of sunlight in its place. What about our kids? Will they be thrown off? Maybe for a day or too, but most will not be phased and it may even help make your child’s sleep better!


How Do I Help My Child to Adjust?
Easy breezy…Older kids will naturally adjust on their own with you simply moving all the elements of their day to the new time along with their sleep times. For example, make sure that their daily cues – breakfast, lunch, dinner, bath, are all moved to the new clock times and their body will quickly follow suit for naptimes and bedtime too.
Take it slow…Younger children or those on several naps a day, may do better with making the change to the new clock time over several days. For this set, it may be more difficult to move all of their sleeping an entire hour earlier than their norm – so for them we split the difference and only move them 30 minutes earlier than they are used to the first couple of days. On Sunday, simply move their entire entire routine forward on the new clock by 30 minutes (which is really 30 minutes earlier than their usual schedule). For example: if your child normally naps at 9am, naps again at 1pm, and goes to bed at 7pm – the first two days after the time change their schedule would look like this: nap at 9:30am, nap again at 1:30pm, and bed at 7:30pm. Then on day three or four post time change you would move your child’s routine back to their old schedule moving them 30 minutes earlier – naps at 9am and 1pm and bed at 7pm which completes the total one hour move to their schedule (which again, is really 60 minutes earlier than their pre-time change schedule). Remember that things like meals, snacks, and bath act as “cues” telling your child’s brain that sleep is coming next. Moving these cues along with sleep times will help them to adjust more quickly.

Accelerate Their Body Clock
Our body clocks are set by cues from sunlight and darkness. If we can adjust our child’s light exposure, they will have an easier time adjusting. In the morning, open all curtains upon waking. Get out for some sunshine and fresh air in the early part of the day. If your snow has yet to melt, an activity in a sun filled room will work just as well. Then in the evening, dim the lights an hour before bedtime and close the shades. Slow activities down to prepare your child for sleep. Ensure that your child’s room is conducive to sleep and equipped with black out curtains or blinds, as the sun will now be shining well past bedtime.

The Time Change Will Improve My Child’s Sleep?
As we turn our clocks forward, we tell our bodies to wake at an earlier time and to go to sleep at an earlier time. So if your child’s waking time is too early, the change will naturally push it later without you doing a thing! Score. And if your child’s bedtime had crept too late, simply stick with the same “clock time” starting on the 8th and this will help bring it back to where it needs to be.

Again, this time change is generally much easier for our bodies to handle as we are doing everything on an earlier than we are used to and not pushing ourselves later as we do in the Fall. So don’t stress. Relax and enjoy your additional hour of sunshine!

Copyright © Well Rested Baby, 2016

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 5 year old Stella, their 3 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 too more great sleep tips!