I’m sick of talking about my kid's sleep habits.
I just want to get some sleep.
How about you?
We all know that Baby #1 causes expecting parents to Amazing-Race-it to the Parenting section of the bookstore.
We need to know Every.Single.Thing and we need to know it now.
Pro parents will tell you to take a deep breath and a step back.
Here’s the thing: you don’t know everything.
Your child is not a copy of you. Just because you slept well doesn’t mean your kid will.
And vice versa.
You don’t know everything about raising kids, and you never will. Even if you are an “expert” at this whole parenting gig, you’re not everyone’s expert.
Every child is different and sleep patterns are unique.
When people start “trying to help” when it comes to your family and sleep, it’s time to set some limits.
For here on, you have permission to set the following limits when it comes to sleep:
- Thou Shalt Not Accept Unsolicited Advice to “Improve” Your Child’s Sleep Habits. It’s no one’s business if you’re happy with your sleep (within reasonable sleep-deprived limits). If you’re a sleep-deprived mess, listen to the experts – not the first-time mom who’s trying to figure it out as she goes. Don't stab yourself in the back. Check in with the sleep experts at thebabysleepsite.com.
- Your Expectations of My Child Do Not Define ‘Normal’. Dr. Weissbluth has a great example in his book, where he notes two parents who said their child was an excellent sleeper. When questioned further, the infant child woke every few hours to feed. Uh, that's not excellent! But the parents had no problem with the wakings. They expected it….because they knew babies don’t sleep through the night naturally. Get over it. Babies wake up.
- Co-Sleepers Sleep With Their Kids…Because They Sleep (Sleep! Get it?!) If your kid gets in bed with you, you co-sleep. Sorry. Own it and love. I was a card-carrying anti-co-sleeper…until I realized some nights the only way I’d get to sleep was to let my kid get in bed with me. Set boundaries that work for your family and your child.
- Acting Out = Early Bedtime. If you’re dealing with a whiny, sobbing mess of a child, cancel dinner and put them to bed. (Okay, don't starve them, but you get the idea….) Unless you’re sneaking in and pinching that kid to wake up, chances are your child is trying to sleep. Let them. If they’re whiny and crying at 6 pm, it's time for bed. Rule of thumb is the worse the behavior the earlier the bedtime. Keeping Johnny up does no one any favors. Least of all you.
- Your Kid’s Sleep Habits Are Not Set in Stone. People change. Kids are people, even if you sometimes resemble gremlins more. Sleeping schedules fluctuate with stress, development, excitement, and events. Do your best to stick to a schedule and accept that methods will vary child-by-child.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution. As a parent-researcher and blogger , I’ve compiled a staggering database of hacks, tips, and tricks to get your kid to sleep better.
And you know what? Right now, as I write this, my kid is in her room screaming….because today was just a bad day.
And she just needs to go to sleep.
It happens. Give yourself a break and hope the phase passes quickly.
You got this.