Thursday, January 20, 2011

Sleep, Precious Sleep

In the last month or so, I've been asked several times how Roger & I regularly manage to get all three children sleeping at the same time. I decided that, while I'm certainly no expert, I could blog about it.

It is no secret that our kids haven't always been good sleepers.  In fact, they sucked at sleeping. 

But  it seems that we've stumbled upon a method to get all of our children down for naps and bed at the same time, most of the time.

First, we do not abide by the old adage, "Never wake a sleeping baby." Well, actually it depends on your definition of "baby." Beyond the newborn stage, we do not abide. Why not? In order to get all the kids sleeping at relatively the same time, they need to be tired at the same time. If Lauren falls asleep at 11am, that's fine, but if she sleeps longer than 20 minutes she won't be ready for an afternoon nap. So...I wake her. I don't startle her awake or abruptly wake her, but I do make an environment that makes it more difficult for her to sleep. (Read: I put her down.) Same story in the afternoons... We never let the boys sleep past 4:30pm. If we do, they won't go to bed before 10pm and that makes for a tired morning.

Second, we do the same routine every afternoon before nap and every night before bed.

Around 12pm, we have lunch. Then we watch a show and drink milk. Around 1pm, I take one of the boys (usually Aaron) to his bedroom, read a story or two, give kisses, and into his bed. Then I do the same for the other boy. Then I nurse Lauren until she's sleeping and she goes to her bed. Then...I don't make ANY noise. Yeah, yeah, yeah, your kids "should get used to sleeping through noise." Nope. Not in this house. My kids are incredibly light sleepers. If I want them to sleep, I don't make noise.

For bedtime, we do a bath most nights, the jammies, a show while eating a snack & drinking milk, do medicines (for Aaron), brush teeth, read stories, give kisses, into bed. Sometimes Roger does it all himself at bedtime (awesome to have daddy be so great at bedtimes & very useful too.)  It really is a good idea to have more than one person able to do bedtime with your kids... you know, in case you have to stay overnight in the hospital or something...

We are by no means perfect.  And our kids had to Cry-it-Out eventually, but this is what is working for us now!

Stay tuned, though, because we are about to move Ian and Aaron together and most likely will have to make some changes.

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