Sleep patterns, when children transition from cot to bed, how can parents aid children not to get up too early?
Parenting is one of the greatest joys but the hardest job especially when we are not getting the sleep we require. My understanding is that we guide our children into what we feel are socially accepted patterns of living by giving them a framework of rules and routines in a loving environment. This gives them consistency, predictability and stability.
We need to remember that changes in a toddler's life can be stressful and they will need extra attention at this time. It is normal for toddlers to be unable to understand reason and stop themselves from doing the wrong thing. They are active and curious, learning about living with others and to be in charge of themselves.
Toddlers need encouragement, to be allowed to make simple choices and be able to test out their independence and come back to you for comfort. Most importantly they need your patience and to feel safe and secure.
Every family situation is different so 4 or 5 am could be too early in one home and 7am may be too early in another. Discuss with your partner what are the expectation of when is too early and is this realistic. Once this is established then a simple explanation can be given to the toddler. This explanation will need to be repeated to the toddler before they go to bed and if they wake up early.
A plan of what is realistic for all involved and how you intend to achieve it will be helpful for all. This could mean thinking about:
· Do they already have a good sleep time routine?
· Do they need a nappy change or go to the toilet?
· Are they going to be thirsty?
· Will I resettle them and how will I do this?
· Is their environment safe if they get out of bed?
· Can they amuse themselves safely? (this will depend upon the age of the toddler).
· Do they come to our room/bed?
· What is an appropriate time to get up for our household?
· Does one of us get up and let the other person sleep?
As with all parenting questions there is no right and wrong way to deal with issues. A lot of parenting is trial and error. If you feel comfortable with what you want to do and trust your gut instincts you can't go wrong.
This is an overview of the above topics and a guide only. For more information and if you are at all concerned about your baby or toddler then speak with a health professional or your family doctor. Enjoy them as they grow rapidly.
Ask Tommee Tippee's Midwife Judy a question - www.tommeetippee.com.au/midwife-enquiry.asp