Camping + Kids = Sleep

For 5 nights in July, we packed our rented RV and headed out to Crimson Lake Provincial Park.  We are not regular campers, hence the rented RV.  But we love to get out of the city and spend a few days being at one with nature (not to mention outhouses!)  We were lucky enough to have my sister and her family join us, as they are seasoned campers. So in all there were 5 kids.  Lots of fun memories were made with the cousins for sure.

We all loved the nightly campfires, sitting around visiting and roasting marshmallows. And the most beautiful thing happened….  All of the kids ranging from  2-11 years old went to bed easily and slept well.

When you have a mom as a sleep consultant, you can imagine that our kids have a pretty strict bedtime and routine.  We eased up a bit during this trip. And it was very amazing when our kids ages 6, 9 and 11 all went to bed without being told. They would say,  ” I am getting tired, I am going to go to bed.”  It was one of the those parenting moments when I felt all of our hard work had paid off.  They recognized they felt tired and they knew that sleep feels good, so they saw themselves off to bed.  My husband and I would go help with the teeth brushing and then tuck them in and head back to the camp fire.

And my niece and nephew slept great too. My nephew who is almost 2 would give everyone a hug around the campfire and then his mom would take him in the trailer for a bath and some bedtime songs.  One night I went inside with them to witness the routine.  Once the three songs they sing every night at bedtime were finished, he would say,  “Done, Cib(Crib)” and off to bed he went. They turned on his white noise and said goodnight. His sleeping area was super dark as they had put tin foil on the window when they arrived. And every afternoon he had a 3 hour nap.  He needed his rest from playing in the lake all morning!

The only issue we had in the 5 nights was one evening a thunderstorm rolled through right at bedtime.  With thunder shaking the RV, it delayed bedtime a bit.

I am not sure which I enjoyed more….The natural beauty our province has to offer or the beauty of children who sleep great.  Luckily, I got to experience both.
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Sleep Training During the Holidays

This may sound a bit strange, but it’s my opinion that the holidays can be a good time to “sleep train” your child.

I know, I know. Things are busy, you’ve got shopping to do and parties to go to… But here are TWO reasons why you should consider this:

Reason #1:

The Christmas season is the ONE time of year that pretty much everyone is able to take a few days in a row off work. This is a big one, because it frees up both you AND your partner to be able to fully participate in the process. The first few nights and days always go much better if both mom and dad can be there to help and support each other. And no one has to get up early for work.

Reason #2:

You’ve usually got a lot of friends and family around… and they can help you out! If your sister is staying with you for a couple of days, feel free to ask her to take the baby while you grab a nap during the day.

Tip: I’ve found that friends and family respond really well to something like this… “I’ve been doing some research, and we’ve decided to make some improvements to our son/daughter’s sleep. It should only take a couple of days, but do you think you could help me out by_________.”

(Just fill in the blank with a small job or two that would make your life easier. Maybe get them to make dinner for you, or do the laundry, etc.)

If this sounds like something that will work for your family, then you can download the sleep sense program right away.

Clink on the link below to find out more….

http://www.sleepsense.net/share.html?p=jammytime&w=buynow

No need to wait until the new year to start those resolutions!

Holiday Travel Plans

Now that you have worked so hard to get your child sleeping well, the last thing you want to do is see their sleep regress.  Do Christmas travel plans leave you feeling nervous?

Here are a few tips to keep your little one sleeping well during the holiday season.

An occasional car nap or slightly later bedtime probably isn’t going to do too much harm, but if your baby spends a couple of days taking car seat naps here and there and having late bedtimes, she may become so overtired that by the time bedtime rolls around , she has a complete meltdown and seems to “forget” all her sleep skills and just cries the house down.

If that happens, you might start to get very nervous because (a) your baby, who has been happily chatting herself to sleep for weeks, is now crying again, and (b) your mother-in-law is standing outside the door repeatedly asking you if you’re sure the baby is okay. You may start to give into this pressure and bend your expectations for your baby’s sleep. It’s easy to see how you could revert back to your own familiar ways in no time if you gave into this pressure and fear.

 It’s very normal for babies and toddlers to test the boundaries around sleep when they are somewhere new. Just because the rule is the rule at home, that does not necessarily mean the rule is the same at Grandma’s house. This may mean that your baby cries for some time at bedtime or has a night waking or two. The best way to handle it is to not do too much different than you would if the regression happened at home. You can go in every ten minutes or so to offer a bit of reassurance, but other than that, don’t bend your rules. If you hang on tight to your consistency, within the first night or two, your child will be used to the new environment and will be sleeping well again.

 Make sure you bring your child’s sleeping toy and/or blanket and white noise!

Another big mistake parents make is to bed share with their baby or toddler while traveling. Bed sharing is a big no-no! Even it’s it is only for a few nights, if your baby decides this is her new preferred location, you could find yourself starting all over again when you get home. Most hotels have a crib you can use or rent, or take your pack and play along and use that as a crib.

 If your child is eight months or older, my advice is to try to make some sort of a private space for your baby to sleep. This could be the bathroom (if it’s big enough) or the closet. Anywhere that you can build some sort of a partition between you and your baby, so that if she has a wake up in the middle of the night she is not so excited to see her two favorite people that she ends up wide awake thinking it’s play time! Of course, getting an extra bedroom for your child is great if that’s an option for you.

May your days be Merry and Bright and your nights be Silent.
Safe travels!

Neugeborenes mit Nikolausmütze