Sleep is important when it comes to raising healthy and happy children. Yet, so many mothers struggle with how and when to put their kids down. This may be the help you need:
Sleep becomes a topic of great thought and discussion when it comes to raising children…especially babies and young toddlers.
It often amazes me when I hear mothers explain their exhaustion due to the fact that their children won’t just “go down”
I would like to start by saying that children don’t understand the benefits of sleep. Sometimes they don’t know what is best for them when it comes to sleep routine, have to be trained.
As a mother, coming to the realization that my children don’t naturally have a perfect sleep routine and have to be trained allowed me to have an easier time in parenting.
So… let’s talk about the importance of sleep and our little ones.
Have you heard or seen these before?
“Oh, I’m not tired. I don’t need to sleep. Look at me, I’m actually super hyper right now. The last thing I need is sleep. I have to potty. I need milk”.
Learn how to space naps, how many a day per age, best times, etc. and get your nap game ON!
If I hadn’t read some really great books while I was pregnant with my first I think I would have fallen for this tricky trick our kids try to pull on us.
Oh yes, the reasons and excuses why they don’t need to sleep lasts forever. But, the fact remains: kids do not know what is best for them, and sleep (at whatever amount is appropriate) is best for them.
Read: Get A Tired Baby To Sleep — In 4 Simple Steps
Read: The Nap Trap- How to Deal with It and Not Resist It
Sleep Begets Sleep
From birth, the more your babies sleep the more they’ll want to.
As the months go by this remains true. I have a 7 month old who sleeps 2 hours in the morning, 2 hours in the afternoon, and 45 minutes by early evening.
This is not because he’s odd (my daughter did the same), but this is because his body is used to sleep and now he needs it. And, even better, he wants it. When his naptime comes around he’s fussy and as we walk to his room and I lay him in his bed he smiles at me. He smiles. He wants to sleep!
No, I don’t have an alien baby. No, I am not just super special.
The reason for this is because, by Routine and Scheduling, he has slept regularly each day and now it is a habit.
Here’s a handy dandy list of 28 things to try so baby will stop fighting sleep and sleep longer and later.
Just because a kid acts like they don’t want to sleep doesn’t mean they don’t need it. And, as the effects of good sleep take hold, they themselves will realize its benefit.
During Sleep Information Absorbed is Processed and Put Away for Future Use
I won’t go too medical here since I studied Liberal Arts, but suffice it to say, all experts agree: sleep is necessary for mental health and development.
Babies and toddlers are bombarded with images, information, activity and new things throughout the day. Sleep is when this information is properly stored and put away.
Imagine a student cramming for exams. It may work for one night, but day after day of cramming and the brain just won’t be able to take any more. The student becomes anxious, stressed, irritable and eventually, unable to retain any more information. Why should children be any different?
Sleep is important for their neural, physical and emotional development.
Create sustainable sleep habits for your little lamb so the whole family can sleep peacefully without the stress, drama, and tears.Learn More
Lack of Sleep Makes Irritable Children
Lack of sleep makes irritable, frustrated, and short tempered children. Then, we get annoyed at them and they feel confused and angry. But… it isn’t their fault.
Not many children, unless the are sick or tired beyond belief, will walk themselves to bed at their determined naptime on a regular basis.
I have seen it firsthand, more times than I can count, that kids who do not nap regularly or sleep enough are not happy campers.
They are irritable, fussy, unpredictable and unsettled. And why wouldn’t they be, they aren’t running on a full tank.
Sleep deprivation has a compound effect and the lack of sleep has emotional and physical consequences. Wait, you say, what’s the difference in the loss of an hour or two here and there?
According to Nurture Shock, a lot. A+ students averaged only 15 minutes more sleep than B students. 15 minutes…
The Season of Motherhood
It’s only for a short time, but its effects last a lifetime…
I know it’s annoying to be at home with sleeping babies all the time. I know it’s hard to have a life when all you do is feed your babies and put them to bed. But in the grand scheme of life,This is a Short Season.
I don’t want to wish away my babies and make them children yet. I love this stage. They are happy, curious and in awe of everything. Sure it means I am embracing the importance of sleep.
It means that I have sacrifices to be made if they need a nap, but you know what? Having happy children more than makes up for that.
Don’t end the day with anxiety, stress, and a full mind.
This evening brain dump journal sheet will help you get in a peaceful mindset so you too can sleep peacefully through the night.
I know that, in a few years, they won’t nap anymore.
Then they’ll drive, go to college, and get married. I want to eat a box of Reese’s just thinking about it. So, for now, I’ll just console myself with the fact that the sleep training we are doing now will benefit them forever.
They’ll be in the habit of sleeping well. They’ll operate as efficiently as they are able (to the extent I am in control of that) from a young age. They don’t know now how it will benefit them, but that’s why they need a mom.
Children with Healthy Sleep Schedules are Calmer
A well slept child is calmer, more focused, better behaved, and happier.
It’s scientifically proved, but I see it in my own children as well. The difference in behavior with my kids from when they are tired to when they are well rested is like night and day.
When we forget the importance of sleep, behaviors start coming out that I never see, and I understand why so many mothers out there are stressed and on the verge of breakdown.
So, when this happens I put them down for a long nap and put the to bed early in the evening, and they wake up happy campers again. It isn’t me, it isn’t them, it’s sleep!
Ready for everyone to start sleeping better? Use this checklist to help you get there.
Sleep is Important
If your baby or toddler has already rebelled against sleeping all is not lost. Though they aren’t used to it and they will fight it, know that you are the mother. You Are in Control and you can get back some of the ground you have lost. I recommend getting on a healthy sleep schedule.
They may fight it. They might fuss, cry, or pitch a few fits.
But remember, you’re not punishing them, you’re doing something for their own good and for their benefit!
Great insight. I have been learning how important sleep is myself. Getting more rest has been good for me…why wouldn’t it be even more so for little ones.
A Mother Far from Home says
I completely agree. Last week I was so exhausted and was snappy, irritable and unable to think like I normally do. It made me more sympathetic and patient when EK was the same!
great article! I’m also an American mom with a 10 month old living near Adelaide. When we moved here a few months ago, our sleep habits were miserable. We were always trying to prevent tears. I saw a CAFH nurse in Adelaide who told me that we need to be the parents and set limits. She gave us a plan and told us to expect a few tears. He gets HOURS more sleep a day now. We are always being thrown off by runny noses or whatever or factor, but we work really hard at being home and giving him regularity every day. Great points here. We are the parents. He cries sometimes when I strap him in the car seat, and I don’t just give up on that. Why give up on sleep over a few tears?
Rachel Norman says
Quinn, those are such good points and I love that she told you to be the parent and set limits. SO TRUE. Also, even “good sleepers” will wake at night for teething, sickness, nightmares, etc. so in my mind how could you NOT sleep train when there are so many reasons they’re going to lose sleep anyway?
Nancy embry says
What sleep training do you do?
Nancy embry says
What sleep training do you do??
Rachel Norman says
Nancy, well basically I just try to prevent them from being overtired and put them down to sleep in their cribs drowsy but awake! I may do cry it out if I’m sure they are fighting sleep, but 3/4 didn’t even need cry it out to go to sleep. I have quite a few posts on sleep if you go to the Routines then sleep or just sleep tips. HOpe that helps!