I wrote this post yesterday. My littles must have been trying to make a fool of me because last night, they slept horrible. Eli was up so many times between 4:00 am and 7:00 am. So we finally let him in our bed with the iPad. And Emmy, she is getting the remaining two of her four molars, so she is not a happy little lady.
But, about 75% of mornings, they do actually stay in bed until 7:30.
And when I say “sleeping in” I absolutely do not mean sleeping in to the extent of sleeping in before children. “Sleeping in” for us, now, is 7:30 am. Maybe 8:30 if we are lucky.
One of the most common things that my friends and I talk about regarding sleep issues is how early babies and toddlers wake up.
In our house, after so much trial and error, we have learned a few things that have helped our monkeys sleep just a tiny bit later.
We don’t let them get out of bed until 7:30. This one is all RJ. It was his idea and he is the main enforcer. I am the worst morning person and would just let the babes in our bed whenever they wake up just so I could stay in bed. When Eli wakes up before, RJ will walk him back to bed and explain that it is still time to sleep. Emmy isn’t as easy. If she’s crying, we calm her down and put her back in her crib. Sometimes she goes back to sleep, sometimes she quietly plays.
Books in the crib. Or toys. I started doing this a couple months ago, and thought of it because she would stay in her crib and play with her Elsa doll when we leave it in her crib. And since she loves to “read” her books. I make sure there is one or two in there for her.
Often, she will wake up and just quietly look at it. Happy as can be. And we much prefer happy Emmy to the Emmy who wakes up and throws every blanket and paci and toy and her socks out of the crib to emphasize how upset she is that we aren’t getting her out of bed immediately.
We do this with Elijah, too. But he usually will request a Lego guy or two or every single Iron Man that he owns to come to bed with him. I think this helps more with him falling asleep quietly these days than waking up and playing, since he can just hop out of bed when he wakes. But we have always done this with some sort of toy for him.
Giving options at bedtime. If you’re familiar with the love and logic parenting, that is kind of where we got this. Elijah has always been big on his door being open. So we give him the option of how much he wants his door open “this much or this much,” but he has to stay in bed. For the longest time, seriously more than a year, he wouldn’t get out of his bed without us. He would call us in the morning that he was all done sleeping. Then we would go in to get him, or if it wasn’t 7:30 yet, we would tell him to put his head back down and tuck him in. I know, a toddler staying in his bed is not the norm, but it totally worked for us. Eli just, in the past couple of months, began getting out of his bed on his own. But we still give the options at bedtime and enforce the rule of staying in his bed.
Bedtime here is a whole different challenge. So we’ll celebrate the small victory of having mornings down, for now.
What are your tricks for getting a tiny bit more sleep?