blog » February 26, 2018 by Nicole DeAvilla

Get Your Child to Sleep Better So You Can "Get It Together" With Eirene Heidelberger! by Nicole DeAvilla

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8 months ago
Get Your Child to Sleep Better So You Can "Get It Together" With Eirene Heidelberger!

Moms and Dads, nothing quite prepares us for the gruesome reality of sleep deprivation, does it? Whether you've just had a baby or are well into the toddler years, Eirene Heidelberger, nationally-renowned parenting coach and sleep expert, is here to help! Eirene, who's also a 30Seconds contributor, was our #30Seconds Twitter chat guest! During the one-hour chat, she shared strategies for getting your child to sleep and stay asleep, eradicate early 5 a.m. risings and even get your little ones to nap.

Q. Why is sleep so crucial for children?

"Sleep impacts physical development. Our country's children are obese, and research shows lack of sleep is one of the causes. Fatigue leads to less physical activity which leads to lower calorie expenditure, which leads back to poor sleeping habits. It's an awful viscous cycle. Lack of sleep impacts learning."

"Children learn when they sleep. Columbia University Medical Center played specific sounds and then gently puffed air on sleeping newborns eyelids. Within 20 minutes the sleeping newborns had learned to squint their eyelids after the sounds played. Parents benefit when well-rested kids are able to regulate their moods because they are less cranky, whine less and throw fewer fits!"

Q: I dread putting my child to bed, how can bedtime be less stressful?

"Calm nights begin at daytime. Ensure you're spending enough QT with your child during the day to help your child demand less of your attention at night. Creating a consistent 30-minute bedtime routine that follows the exact same steps every single night leading up to lights out creates calm nights. Children thrive on routine. Knowing what to expect stops bedtime power struggles because they feel in control. 

"Create a bedtime checklist. A great way to empower your kids to complete tasks independently while establishing a routine without your having to be a sleep dictator. Parents No. 1 challenge is staying strong and keeping the schedule on course while outwitting your demanding child at the end of the day when you're plain tired, feel beat up and just plain over it."

Q: How can I get my child to stop waking up in the night?

"Be on the same page. Decide as a parenting team you are not going to allow your child to get out of bed. This must be a united front and nobody can give in or deviate from the sleep strategy. Make a thorough plan on how you will handle night wakings. There is no right or wrong strategy, all that matters is being consistent and not giving in. 

"Extinguishing night wakings range from crying it out, using a gate to prevent your child from leaving his room, to escorting back to bed without words or eye contact. No age is too old to sleep train and often children need to be trained throughout their young lives due to sickness, travel and time changed. Often parents feel guilty for sleep training because it is never easy hearing your child in distress. It's crucial for parents to remember they are people too and sleep-deprivation creates havoc to our psyche and productivity. Science has proven sleep training is not damaging to our mental health."

Q: How can I get my child to sleep later in the morning?

"Parents must TEACH children this skill."

  • Gradually "rescue" them from bed in 15 minute increments every three days until an appropriate wake time is achieved.
  • When child gets out of bed too early usher them back and state, "It is not time to get out of bed." I will get you when it is. Never back down!
  • Buy an "OK to Wake! Alarm Clock." The clock glows when it's time to get out of bed. Or, put a lamp on a timer.
  • Use sticker incentive charts. They provide positive reinforcement and motivate a child to sleep later.

Q: Help! My child won't nap!

"Good days begin with good nights. Be honest if your child is truly sleeping through the night. If not, fix that first.Be consistent by kicking off nap time with a 30-minute bed routine at the same exact time every single day this will support your child's circadian sleep rhythm. Routine makes toddlers feel secure. Teach your child that nap time/rest time is not-negotiable. Do not give in. Your child needs sleep and parents deserve a break. Don't be afraid of sleep training for naps using the exact same strategies as at night. Schedule quiet activities for older children (3+) in their room during nap time. Even if your child doesn't actually sleep, 30 minutes of rest may help them (and you) to feel better. Just make sure you give them the opportunity to rest quietly in bed."

Q: How can we help kids adjust to Daylight Savings Time without sleep being affected? Any tips since it’s this weekend??

Be sure to follow @GIT_Mom, visit GitMom.com and read Eirene's 30Seconds tips!

Nicole DeAvilla
Sleep is one of the most important things we can do well in life that will help everything else! So glad you will be guiding us on how to get more of it Eirene Heidelberger
Meredith Schneider
Ahhhhh! Eirene Heidelberger , how about tips & tricks getting your teens to go to sleep? Can't wait for this #30Seconds chat xoxoxo
Eirene Heidelberger
Like go the you know what to sleep?!!! I feel it's a strong voice cutting off eating, homework, and technology so their busy brains have time to wind down and zzzz.....
Mei Marcie
Sleep is always tough for a family with eczema kid!
Eirene Heidelberger
I hope you can join us Wednesday! I have 2 boys who suffer from eczema, I hear ya mama.
Mike Prochaska
Sleep who the hell sleeps with a kid attached to my leg and a dog on top of me :) just kidding be good to hear hot to sleep more
✨💐Jessica 💐✨
Looking forward to chatting with all of you.
Melissa Hurt
Will you be addressing sleep behaviors for young elementary age? I'm so glad you are doing this talk!
Alex Bryant
Looking forward to hearing your insight on getting the most out of sleep.
Heather
I need to break co sleeping and get my bed back
Renee Herren
What about teens? Eirene- please tell me you have some wisdom to share!
Nicole DeAvilla
Good question and I am sure that Eirene Heidelberger does have the answer!
Holly Budde
I'm joining from gymnastics class. See u all tonight !
Toni B
Do a cartwheel for me!
Holly Budde
😂😂 not my class Toni B But I can !! LOL
Toni B
Sounds like a great topic! The tribe covers everything!
Joanne Headland
I've been struggling with our daughters night waking for the last two years and could really use some advice. She is 8yrs old, has Aspergers, multiple fears/anxieties and requires melatonin to even get her to go to sleep and even then one of us has to be in her room/on her bed and a meditation cd playing! Every night she wakes at least once and ends up in our bed. There is no pattern to the time at which she wakes or to the reason either! I'm exhausted.
Nicole DeAvilla
Hi Joanne Headland . Sorry to hear about your struggles. I am tagging Eirene Heidelberger here to be sure she sees your comment and can offer her sage advice.

If you are specifically interested in how yoga and/or essential oils could be of help in your situation, those two areas are my expertise. Let me know and I would be happy to help as well.

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