Wednesday, August 25, 2010

New Sleep Strategy


I think every Mom has "their thing" with their kids. {PS it's usually sleep.}

Sleep is mine. Always has been.

I know that when I have no plan with my approach to my kids' sleep, I feel out of control and frustrated and sometimes angry and resentful. And I don't like feeling any of those things.

Lately Noah has been resisting sleep and screaming and just recently has been getting out of his bed and when I don't respond to him, will bang the door and open it a small crack.

A few nights ago I made the mistake of bringing Noah into my bed when Jamie was away for the weekend and ever since he screams and cries that he wants to sleep in my bed.

So last night as I left Noah he started the screaming. And the anger. And the hitting of the door.

I had just started reading "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" and had read Weissbluth's suggestion to silently put your child back in his bed with no acknowledgement to the child, positive or negative and continue to do so until they stay in bed.
So with Noah banging away on the door I decided to try this silent response to his fury.

He initially was put down around 7:30pm and didn't end up quieting down until just before 9pm. It took me over 100 times of putting him quietly and gently back in his bed.

At one point I realized it was almost like he was asking over and over again, "Where are my boundaries?" because he wasn't fighting me putting him back in bed. He would even be lead by the hand back into his bed and crawl in himself!

Once I realized this I just kept saying to myself, "He's asking where the boundary is and I'm showing it to him. This is the best thing for him." And it was and is the best thing for him.

Today he slept 'til 8am and was a generally happy and well behaved boy today.

Tonight when it was bedtime I sense he would fight it again, so I brought out another strategy that Weissbluth suggests; Sleep Rules.
I told Noah that tonight would be the start of Noah's Sleep Rules and there were 3:
1. Stay in your bed.
2. Close your eyes.
3. Be very quiet.
If he obeys all three rules he will get to put a sticker on his chart and when he gets 5 stickers, he gets to pick a treat!

His response:

"Okay! Let's do it, Mama!"

I smiled and wondered if he understood completely that he wasn't getting the treat TONIGHT, but sure enough, he cuddled into his blanket and though he asked for the light to remain on, when I said "No." he didn't scream or anything. And when I left


So one night down. Well, at least the early part of the night.

We'll see how the rest of the night and the next few days go.


  1. um... is it weird that I'm tearing up? It's just so darn beautiful!

  2. suz: i totally cried.

    vanessa: you're a beautiful mom. i'm so proud of you.

  3. that is awesome V! You are so good at researching stuff when you run into problems...please be in Canada when I have babies haha I'm gonna need your creativeness in parenting! haha not to mention to borrow your patience and persistence!

  4. Great work Nessy! love how you had been thinking about getting some insight, and then took those suggestions ans put them to work! GREAT JOB!

  5. Wow. Thanks everyone for the encouragement.
    Yes, I am a researcher for sure.
    I'm really enjoying this age with Noah. Yes, it has difficulties, but it's also great to be able to talk to him, help him see progress and teach him things like delayed gratification (like you have to get FIVE stickers before you get "a treat").
    Tonight's bedtime was such a great experience. We laughed together, sang, talked,[prayed and Noah prayed his first prayer ("Thank you Jesus.").

  6. I feel like I missed a ton of stuff this week...good and bad! But wow, that is great work Vanessa! I'm surprised that Noah can even grasp how many 5 is, but regardless, the reward for hard work is always a good principle!
    love you! Mom


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