Reclaiming Sleep In Our House

In Motherhood, Parenting by Jen

I have to admit that I am blessed with pretty good kids who are sweet, lovely and kind. Sure they aren’t perfect, but on a whole our home is good place to be. Well, that is the case except for at night. Nighttime has become an epic battlefield where sleep deprivation seems to be the only winner.

Here is the cause for the sleep deprivation taking place in our family.

The baby of the family Miss Anneliese has never been a really solid sleeper and wakes up EVERY 2 hours throughout the night. This weekend we had a completely terrible two day stretch where none of us had slept for longer than 5 to 6 hours in broken snatches and I was done and had a breakdown. You can see my “little” rant here.

We haven’t gotten to this point without attempting multiple solutions. We have tried lots of things, including the cry it out method. Which worked for about 20 minutes until she figured out how to climb the walls of her crib and fling her body to the floor.

After this weekend I woke up barely able to get out of bed, was confused by pouring milk for breakfast, and couldn’t even think about caring for all of the children in my house that day without at some point collapsing on the floor.

Something needed to change!

I went online for the millionth time to research this topic and using my masterful Google powers found some not so helpful resources, like the one that told me to show her a clock and let her look at the clock and tell her it’s time for bed. Yeah right, she would just throw the clock at my head!

I also found some other approaches I thought she was finally ready for. I developed a plan and together her Father and I are enacting this plan to reclaim sleep in our house!

Step 1: Turn crib into toddler bed.

Interestingly, the second we did this Anneliese began playing and laughing in her bed, before this if we even got near the crib she would scream her head off.

Step 2: Begin the back to bed model.

Here’s how this works. When she wakes up in the middle of the night, we go into her bedroom and sit on the floor next to her bed. We don’t pick her up or really interact. Most importantly, we don’t make eye contact and keep our heads down and turned away from her.  If she tries to get out we put her right back in bed.

How is this working?

We are 2 days in and I am amazed at the results! The first night she happily went to sleep in her bed and stayed there from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. That’s 6 hours people!!

Then we had a tough stretch with her trying to get out of bed and us putting her back in. She did sleep during that time, but it was fitful. She finally woke up at 6 a.m.

Undeterred we moved onto night 2!

She was asleep by 8 p.m., but woke up at 11:30 p.m.. Her father went in and did the back to bed program. He sat by her bed and wouldn’t let her get out, it was a pretty epic battle and I hid outside the door feeling bad for both of them until she finally fell asleep at 1 a.m.

I am used to babies and toddlers who wake up in their cribs/beds gurgling and cooing and even playing with their toys. Not her, she usually wakes up screaming and only gets louder.  Here’s the amazing part though, this morning she woke up at 7:45 a.m. and this is what greeted me! I had to snatch a picture as I couldn’t believe how happy she was!

I know we have a ways to go and there will be some nights we will just want to give up, but we aren’t giving in! I’ll keep you posted on our progress.

P.S. In the hopes of helping other exhausted parents who really don’t think showing the clock to their toddlers will work I created a little something.

Stay Happy! Stay Informed!