Parenting: SLEEP

8 Dec

>So why would I have “SLEEP” on the top of my parenting list?  Well that’s because in our house sleep in a very (and I can’t stress that enough) important part of our everyday lives.  Jayden’s behavior is directly effected by the amount of sleep he gets, the quality of sleep and how long of a nap he gets each day.  I will be 110% honest and tell you that when Jayden doesn’t nap, he might make it until 6 PM without having a complete meltdown over something.

On to a quick version of Jayden’s sleep schedule since birth…
From the day we brought Jayden home from the hospital he has been a great sleeper.  He only woke up at night when he needed a diaper change or wanted to be fed.  He certainly slept between 18-20 hours a day in the first weeks.  People were amazed how much he slept.  Jayden would nap/sleep anywhere.  During Adam’s games, at a restaurant, on the couch and in my arms.  Around 4 months old, Adam had decided that he really needed to be napping in his crib and be on a solid schedule.  Well Jayden had a different idea, he liked to nap wherever he fell asleep.  So one day Adam told me it was time to let him “cry it out” in his crib until he soothed himself to sleep.  55 minutes later, a million tissues and an expensive phone bill (I called my mom to talk to me while he was crying) he had fallen asleep.  It was from that day on that I swear Jayden learned that nap time and bed time were two things that were going to happen everyday.

Skip a few months and between the age of about 6 months to 12 months Jayden would take 2 long naps a day.  Around 14 months old, Jayden switched to one very long nap in the middle of the day.  Skip 2 more years and today, Jadyen still takes a 90 minute to 2 hour nap every day.  There are very special days when a nap doesn’t fit into the schedule, however, that happens maybe once a month and he is then in bed by 7 PM because he is so tired.

For a couple years now, we have made 8 PM an appropriate bed time for Jayden.  Because I don’t work and Adam has a pretty flexible schedule, we never have to be out of the house or up before 8 AM.  With working parents, I know some kids who are up and ready to go by 7 AM.  At this age and younger, I feel that 10 to 12 hours in an appropriate amount of sleep for a child.  Therefore, if you have an earlier riser, put him/her to bed earlier.

Now that you know what the daily sleep routine is in the Harrington household I have to admit that I whole-heartedly believe that as parents it is our duty to sleep train our children.  It may sound silly but its the truth.  We have taught our children how to eat, play, speak and listen so why do some parents skip on teaching children healthy sleep patterns?  When parents and children are overtired a lot of tension can build up.  In order to prevent that, we must take a step back and realize what is best for our children… even if that means letting them cry for 55 straight minutes (gosh, that was the longest 55 minutes of my life I think)!

If you are looking for a good book to read check out, “Healthy Sleep Habits; Happy Child.”  I wrote about the book a while back, check it out!

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