Tuesday, August 23, 2005
Parent to Parent: Sleep In Own Bed
For a lot of families, bedtime is a burden. Every evening, mom and dads struggle just getting their kids to sleep in their own rooms. But in tonight's Parent to Parent, we found pleasant dreams are possible without being woken up in the middle of the night.
WSVN--This is a bedtime story about two-and-a-half year old Paul and his mom, Jennifer.
Parent Jennifer Bennett: "He has been sleeping with us since he was born basically."
But about a year ago, Paul moved into his own room...Well, sort of.
Jennifer Bennett: "He'll go to sleep in his bed but then he wakes up and comes into our room."
And like most kids, when Paul goes to sleep with his parents, his parents don't sleep.
Jennifer Bennett: "He likes to have his head on one of us or take our pillows and he's just all over the place."
But a good night's sleep is possible for the whole family - including mom and dad. 7's Parenting Expert Dr. Sally suggests it all begins by following a routine.
7 Parenting Expert Sally Goldberg: "One important thing you can do is have a very consistent bedtime routine."
The routine should take place at the same time each night. It can include something physical to wear them down but it needs to end with a quiet activity.
Sally Goldberg: "It can include a playtime, it can include a reading time, it usually includes a bath time."
When your child gets in bed, reassure them that when they sleep in their own room, they're not being left alone or abandoned. Then stay with your child until he or she falls asleep or until they're drowsy.
Sally Goldberg: "During that 15 or 20 minutes theres no specific instructions except for you to understand that you are there for your child, to answer questions, to chat, to be company."
But make sure you don't use sleep as a punishment. Instead, use it as a reward... For example, offer an extra bedtime story for good behavior.
Sally Goldberg: "The most important thing is to give that kind of security to your child during the falling asleep process."
Jennifer Bennett: "We're really looking forward to having him sleep like a big boy all night long in his own bed."
Jennifer no longer dreams about sleeping through the night. Thanks to Dr. Sally, Paul's almost making it until morning all alone... Which is pretty darn good!
Jennifer Bennett: "Very thankful. Everybody does have advice, and um, Ioved hers because it worked."
If your child gets up at night, walk them back to their rooms, give a kiss goodnight, then leave.
You may have to do this 12 times during night, but in the end, it will payoff. Dr. Sally says it's okay for your child to stay up later on the weekend, but get back into the routine on sunday night.
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