Setting Limits around Sleep – February 1, 2020

Are you struggling with middle of the night visits, early rising or bedtime battles? When you make a change to how you are handling sleep issues your little one is likely going to let you know that at the beginning they protest the change you are making. You are changing the rules and expectations of what they have come to know. However, you also know that they need better sleep and what has been happening is not working for anyone. When you make changes to your little ones sleep, here are some things to consider around setting limits when it comes to sleep.

Choice and Control – you decide what time is bedtime, they decide which pajamas to wear. Same as you decide when main meals are being served and they decide how much they are going to eat. 

Consistency – whatever you decide for expectations around bedtime and make it stick. Do what you need to do to follow through – reminders for yourself of why you are doing this. Kids thrive on routines and clear boundaries of what is expected of them. They need time to protest (and adjust) to the new expectations. They are not going to get it overnight. Be sure to give your plan consistency and patience.

Patience – monkey see, monkey do. If you exhibit that you are confident and show patience with your little one as they learn this new routine and that they can do, it will make all the difference. They look to you for reassurance throughout their day. If they think that you don’t have confidence that they can do this, they won’t either, but they will still protest the change! That’s their job.

Communicate – sleep rules and make your expectations clear. Making the sleep rules fun and rewarding when they are able to follow them! Talk about the expectations during the day in a relaxed manner. Have your kids make the sleep rules chart so they feel a part of the process and it helps to get them excited too! Have a family meeting with all members, so that everyone knows the plan and their piece of the plan. 

Consequences – when sleep rules are broken there are consequences. Make sure your little ones know the expectations before hand and be sure to follow through. They pick up very quickly on empty threats. Consequences should be relatable and when sleep rules are followed there should be an incentive or a small token reward.

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