As recently reported, Little D has forgotten the art of sleeping. After 18 months of perfect 7pm to 7am slumber, never waking when she was teething or poorly, this is a shocker!
At Easter, we enjoyed a lovely weekend in Jersey seeing family and friends and while we were away we all cozied up and bunked down in the same room. We slept beautifully and everyone was happy. On our return, Little D no longer wanted to sleep alone and expressed herself loud and clear.
Every night you could hear the tantrum down the King’s Road. We had a battle of wills and it pains me to say she won. Sleep training a baby was a breeze, a bit of shushing here and patting there and hey presto, three nights in and my little Peach was a dream sleeper. It seems different at two. No amount of comforting was calming the situation so I had to either sleep on her floor or let her sleep with me to get any rest.
Two months on and we are making mini steps to remedy the situation. We’ve moved her into Big D’s room to try to ease her anxiety of being alone in the hope that her sister will teach her how to sleep again. I still have to stay on the floor while she falls asleep, but last night she went through the night, so I’m crossing everything that we’ve made a breakthrough.
I’ve been the biggest sleep bore going, talking to every mother that will hear my well rehearsed woes of how exhausted we all are and how it’s affecting the entire way we function as a family. That’s the thing about sleep deprivation: it does take over. I’ve been amazed at how many friends respond to me with similar stories.
As these little people approach two, there’s so much change going on in their little bodies – it’s no wonder they need a little more comfort. Growing pains, night terrors, teething (and, in Little D’s case, the perforated eardrum she picked up flying back across the Channel).
But it’s such an important time in their behavioral development and it’s a judgment call knowing how much leeway to give and when to take the control back. I didn’t have the heart for the crying out method, so I’m hoping the softer approach of letting her sister take the lead may save us all. Alongside this little sleep experiment I’ve been sampling some of the toddler sleep aids out there.
Bath, story, Bed. This was previously done in a rush of about half an hour with lots of singing, splashing and little serenity. Now, I’ve bought bedtime forward to 6:30 and we read and just spend time in the bedroom being as calm as possible. I’ve tried to keep our bedtime reading material sleep focused in the hope that positive sleep vibes will sink in by osmosis. These three books below are all available from Trotters and will hopefully help lull your Littlies into a lovely sleep.
Close Your Eyes – This is the comforting story of a little tiger who just won’t drift off to sleep. His mother reassures him that he will dream of magical places and that she’ll be waiting for him when he wakes.
Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep – No1 best seller is a parent approved night-time read for bringing calm to the end of any child’s day. Actually aimed at 3+ although Little D did seem to enjoy it.
Goodnight Moon – A classic bedtime story, perfect for lulling children to sleep.
From Little D’s experience, toddlers seem to find night terrors more traumatic when they wake to a pitch black space and can’t see anything to confirm they’re in their normal comforting surroundings. A simple night light helps them to quickly place themselves. There are so many nightlights out there, but I’ve picked this one from Cottage Toys as it really reminds me of one I had when I was a child and I love the gold!
Making sure your little Love has their favorite cuddly toy or blanket close by. At around this age most children have a strong attachment to something that seems to give them a great sense of security and comfort. Little D has a true love for Jelly Cat bunnies, the more she can have around her head to nuzzle the happier she is. I’ve been adding to the collection quite a lot recently as I make sure we have them everywhere!
The Gro Clock
This simple but genius sleep aid teaches children when it’s time to sleep or wake up using pictures of the Moon and Sun. It also comes with a little book which helps to encourage children to stay in bed longer.
During the night, the display screen shows stars disappearing one by one to show the passing time. It has adjustable screen brightness, a silent option, optional digital clock and alarm feature. Little D hasn’t really got her head around this, but Big D loves having an alarm clock and waiting for the sun to come up. I’m hoping Little D will catch on soon, as I can see that it will stop those unwanted early wake-ups. Available at John Lewis.
New Bed Sheets
I thought having new linen may encourage Little D to fall back in love with her bed. I also noticed while sleeping on her hard wooden floor one night that she was moving around a lot. A friend suggested I try a Gro to Bed duvet set which fixes the pillow and duvet to the bottom sheet to help keep them in a comfortable position – ideal for those little ones moving into a toddler bed and for keeping them snugly and warm with their covers in place.
In any event, it’s all a phase. I’ll blink and soon I’ll be having sleepless nights again when my girls come in from a party at 2am!
Love Mummy B
P.S Say it with a T-Shirt from Fairly Friendly, as shown in our featured image. There are also other funny little slogan Tee’s for tiny toddlers.