Every night I tuck my daughter in, close the door and leave her to sleep. Every morning we both wake up in our own beds at the decent hour of 7am, refreshed and ready for the day.
And then I wake up from this blissful dream only to discover it’s actually 3am, my daughter is NOT asleep in her own bed. Oh no. She’s in my bed, sprawled across me, hogging the bedsheets and kicking me in the spleen.
What sorcery is this?
This, my friends, is not sorcery. This is parenthood.
The joys of sleep deprivation
Parents lose an estimated 50 days of sleep in that first year. This isn’t a made-up number. It’s been proven.
Okay, but once that first year is over, it’s smooth sailing, right? Not quite. Another study confirmed it takes six years before new parents get a good night’s sleep again.
Six years of night wakings, bed-hopping, go-to-sleep bribes, copious amounts of morning coffee and ugly bags under my eyes.
Um. No thank you. Sorry, kiddo, I’m not having ANY of that.
Why aren’t parents sleeping?
The main reason we’re waking after that first initial year is because our kids’ sleep patterns are off. They are waking up at night, needing our attention, and those not confined to a cot are often tip-toeing into our rooms and hopping into our beds.
Kids also wake because they get cold – all that wriggling around in bed results in kicked off bedding. Before we know it they’re awake and in need of comfort or bringing their little cold feet into your bed and planting them on your toasty warm body for instant warmth.
Whether they start the night in our beds or magically appear beside you overnight, this leads to a poor night’s sleep for everyone and extra grumpiness the next day.
You’re keeping your tot awake with your movements. Your toddler is keeping you awake with night time ninja kicks. You’re both struggling for bed space and sleeping in strange positions to accommodate the extra little person hogging the sheets.
Then you both wake up in the morning. Together? Yes? Touching? Most likely. But, rested? Probably not.
So what can we do to ensure we get a decent night’s sleep BEFORE our kids turn six? Here are six things to try.
How to get kids to sleep in their own beds all night
1. Ensure their bedroom is extra awesome
A funky nightlight, glow in the dark stickers, a cool doona cover, perhaps even a teepee – who wouldn’t want to sleep here? Other sleep aids to consider: block out curtains, a soft teddy or comforter, and a white noise machine.
2. Check for scary noises
When you are putting your child to bed, pay extra attention to any sounds or shadows that may seem scary to him. For example, the curtains knocking against the window, the fan whirling or the sound of the fridge from the kitchen. Explain what these sounds are and try to eliminate them if possible.
3. Invest in a monster spray
A spray bottle filled with water and a cute monster label will do the trick. Spray around the room every night to keep monsters at away.
4. Be firm but fair
Establish a fun but strict bedtime routine which includes things like a story, a cuddle, a song or a tickle. Then, once it’s bedtime, that’s it. If your child does creep into your bed at night, resist the urge to let them stay there. Walk them back to bed. Yes, it’s easier and you’re too tired to move them, but it’s the only way they will learn.
5. Try a reward system
On the nights when they do stay in their beds, offer a little reward – a sticker, a treat or a special outing.
6. Opt for a Transition Suit or Sleep Suit
What your little one is wearing can make a difference in their sleep habits. If a child isn’t comfortable, he’s going to wake up. And probably either call out for you or crawl into your bed.
For squirming babies and kids, transition and sleepsuits are the way to go. Love to Dream has a brilliant Sleep Suit and Transition Suit, both of which have little feet instead of the common sleeping bag. They are great for kids who do like to move around and are ideal for sleep, play and on the go – pram and car-seat friendly too!
If you have a baby who loves being swaddled, it’s best to start with the Transition Suit, which allows you to easily go from swaddle to sleep suit with detachable wings and long sleeves. So cute too! The Transition Suit is perfect for babies between 6-14kg.
The Sleep Suit is the better option for toddlers, preschoolers, and bedroom escape artists aged from 6 months to 4 years old. The all-in-one style wearable blanket allows them to move but is also designed for snug and safe sleep.
How kids’ sleep suits help ensure a longer sleep
- They are an all-in-one blanket, reducing the risk of night wakings due to being too cold or hot. Love to Dream Sleep Suits are designed to be your child’s comforter and blanket.
- They are comfortable to sleep in, especially for toddlers that do squirm a lot. The sleep suits come with built-in legs and the little feet have grip pads to help your child safely move around their sleep space or play space.
- They signify sleep. Babies and toddlers thrive on routine and transferring into a Love to Dream sleep suit will soon become associated with bedtime. When the suit is on, the lights are off and it’s time to sleep. Not wake mum up by jumping on her head.
Shop now for more sleep
You can shop the range at the Love to Dream website and pick up your own Sleep Suit and Transition Suit in various TOG ratings.
- The 2.5 TOG is awesome for those chilly nights when temperatures drop between 16-20°C.
- The 1.0 TOG (featured in the video above) is the perfect all-rounder.
- The 0.2 TOG rating is best for summer and tropical climates all the way to 3.5 TOG for colder climates and chilly night.
These six tips will hopefully have our little ones sleeping through the night in their own beds. And well before they turn six too. If you’re looking for more tips, have a read of Why Does My Toddler Wake At Night? Tips on Getting Children to Sleep Through.