Bedtime together, beautiful and attached

IMAG00863My daughter and I stopped bedsharing a few months ago, just before her 2nd birthday. She was excited to move out of the daybed we shared in her room and into her own toddler bed.

Even though we’ve shifted away from bedsharing, bedtime still remains for us a wonderful time of connection. Sometimes I hold her and sing to her, which usually puts her to sleep before the first song is over. Most of the time, we lie together in her bed. She’ll play with my hair and cuddle up against me.

Lately, as her vocabulary and her brain continue to grow and develop, she’s been talking a lot as we lie together. She often talks about times when she was sad and frequently repeats a story about a time when I was out at the store and she was home with my husband: “I wanted you and you weren’t there, and I was crying.”

I believe this comes up often at bedtime, because it’s a time when she feels a need for comfort and knows she is safe. She can share a sad memory while knowing that I’m there for her at that moment.

I’ll listen to her story and acknowledge that it was a really upsetting time. Then I’ll remind her that in this moment she has me and I explain that now, when sadness is over, our emotions change and feeling sad is temporary. I reinforce that I am there to comfort her when she needs me.

Even though she’s no longer a newborn with an intense physiological need for me to hold her, bedtime can still be a scary time or a sad time if a child is alone. I love being able to be with her at this time and to let this be something positive and happy. While I don’t sleep with her in her bed, she still refers to it as “Mommy and me’s bed.”

When she wakes in the morning, she finds me sleeping in the daybed in her bedroom. She’ll walk over, and I’ll lift her up into bed. We’ll snuggle together until we’re ready to wake up. It’s the best part of my day and the best way to wake up. I love that I’m one of the first things she sees in the morning and that, even half-asleep, she knows that she just has to walk a few steps to find me and to feel that comfort and love. It’s beautiful to see how our sleep situation has evolved but is still a way for us to stay connected and attached.

9 tips to help your child sleep

rochelle kipnis“Just one more hug goodnight.”

“I’m hungry.”

“I’m thirsty.”

“I have to go to the bathroom.”

Bedtime can be a long process for many parents. At the end of the day, we are all tired, right? Well at least the parents are!

All you want to do is put your child to bed and have everyone get to sleep without a fuss. Many times, it isn’t that simple.

Nighttime is perhaps one of the most relaxing times of day in our home. But it wasn’t always. My kids use to constantly try to finagle their way into obtaining more time to stay awake. My 7 year old would look for every excuse, then my 4 year old would say that she needed to go to the bathroom even though she already went, and my 1 year old would start crying and want to breastfeed again. You can also click here for more information.

If your kid has sleep apnea, it’s better to get cpap parts online, so you don’t have to look for them around town and get them shipped to your house, to help your kid sleep better.

Finally, I implemented some relaxation techniques, and now our routine runs smoothly with everyone going to sleep easily. Here are 9 tips I’ve learned to help my older children sleep:

  1. Give your children a warm bath.
  2. Use guided meditation to help your children unwind and relax. Use relaxing stories about the beach, and practice breathing in with the waves and out with the waves. There are some wonderful guided mediation options on YouTube if you prefer to let your child listen to someone else, or you can use your own voice to take their mind on a relaxing journey filled with imagery and deep breathing.
  3. Use coconut oil and give your children a foot massage. Massages are a wonderful way to unwind and relax.
  4. Play spa music on a CD in their room. The serene music will help their mind drift off and allow your children to sleep much faster.
  5. Many children like a night light. We use a Himalayan salt lamp, which not only purifies the air and reduces electro-magnetic field radiation, but it has a very relaxing light color that looks like warm fire tone that promotes sleep.
  6. Use room-darkening shades. This will help your child sleep longer and avoid any lights coming in the room. It will also help them to sleep longer in the morning instead of waking up as soon as the sun rises.
  7. Put warm socks on your children’s feet. I use a towel warmer, and after the kids are tucked into bed, I put warm socks on their feet to help them relax.
  8. Consider buying an air purifier. Jen has some researched suggestions, she manually reviewed air purifiers for smoke and has loads to say about the benefits of a quality air purifier. It is always easier to sleep when you breathe cleaner, air but the sound from the purifier can help children sleep.
  9. Make sure that your child has a good quality mattress from, not many know that your bed plays a big role when it comes to sleep.

Bedtime, a lesson in reframing

kelly shealer toddler betimeBedtime…ugh!

Every night, it was the same thing: My sons were 4 and 2 and seemed to be doing everything they could to keep from going to sleep. There was a sudden desire to play with all the toys that had been cleaned up, an endless stack of bedtime books, recurring requests for snacks and water, and a lot of stress on my part.

I dreaded it.

I knew that my negative attitude toward bedtime was rubbing off on my sons. They could sense it, and it made them dread bedtime, too. To them, it was the time when play stopped and when Mommy started getting frustrated.

Something had to change.

It wasn’t easy to change my attitude. I started by telling my sons how much I loved bedtime, how I loved lying in bed with my youngest son in the evening and how I loved this special time I got to spend with just them while their baby sister was asleep.

It wasn’t always how I felt, but as I started to focus on the positives, I started to feel that way for real.

I did truly enjoy this chance to lie down with my 2-year-old son. With a new baby, I had very few opportunities throughout the day to cuddle with him, and I loved that he still wanted me at bedtime.

I also reminded myself that reading a few books was part of the bedtime experience, not just something to prolong their evening. I love reading to them, but it doesn’t always happen much during the day, so I reminded myself to build in extra time for it at bedtime.

One of the most important things in changing my attitude was to stop looking at the clock. In fact, I removed the clock from the bedroom. Not stressing over how long bedtime was taking helped me enjoy it more, and soon I realized that it was taking less and less time overall.

I know that I don’t have to stay with my sons until they are asleep — or almost asleep. I know that even if they still want or need me but it really isn’t working for me, I could find a way to transition them into a different routine — just as I did when I weaned them and stopped cosleeping. But I also choose to remind myself that there will be a day that they don’t want me with them at bedtime, and I want to enjoy this moment now.

I no longer think of bedtime as a burden or as something that cuts into my time to myself each evening, and it’s made a huge change for all three of us.

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