Read the whole Year Thirty list here.
#19 Get Shiloh into a good bedtime routine.
There is a lot of debate amongst parents on how you should put your little ones to sleep. Should you rock them? Should you let them cry it out? Should they sleep with a bottle? At what age should they start sleeping alone? Honestly, it can be exhausting listening to everyone’s advice. I am a firm believer that while there’s a time for asking for advice and wisdom from others, ultimately every family has to figure out what works best for their child and his/ her personality. And, every family is structured differently, so what works for you may not work for me!
With that being said, one area of parenting that I know I have created some bad habits in is our bedtime routine. Every time we put Shiloh down for a nap or to sleep for the night, one of us will sit in the room with her and sing her songs until she falls asleep. This can take anywhere from fifteen minutes up to an hour! Now that she is almost three and a half, we both agree that it is time to let her learn how to put herself to sleep. I had been dreading this because in the past, when I left the room for even a few minutes, she would throw such huge tantrums to the point of throwing up! I knew that transitioning out of her bedroom and pushing her to exercise some independence was going to be brutal… on all of us.
We had some friends come stay with us about a week ago with kids close to Shiloh’s age. Every night, their parents tucked them in, sang them a song, and then let them fall asleep on their own. Shiloh observed all of this. After they left, I asked her if she would like to try to go to sleep like her friends. She seemed excited to try it out and made a big deal about pulling the blanket up herself and tucking her baby dolls in all by herself. She was really excited about showing me what a “big girl” she is. I sang her favorite “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”, kissed her goodnight, and left the room. She cried for about two minutes, and then… it was silent. She fell asleep. I was shocked! I had built this up into something much more dramatic in my mind and was prepared for the worst possible scenario. For the last week and a half, we have been consistently letting Shiloh put herself to sleep for naps and bedtime, and it’s going really great. I don’t know what to do now that I’m getting an entire hour of my evening back to myself, but I’m loving it 🙂
One of the things I’ve been doing to help reinforce this good behavior is using a sticker reward chart. I posted a picture of it yesterday on Instagram. We’re focusing on three goals right now- 1) staying in bed all night, 2) not wetting the bed, and 3) not crying out for mom or dad. This has been a hit for us. Shiloh loves getting to put stickers on first thing in the morning when she wakes up, and it’s a great time for me to encourage her and affirm her good behavior. Her entire face beams with pride. While we talk about what she can improve on, I focus more on the positive behavior than shaming her for the areas she didn’t do so well in.
We've been working on a sticker reward system for our nights over here. I had started a very bad habit a little before Shiloh's first birthday of sitting in her room with her til she fell asleep. Back then, it was appropriate because she was having seizures at night and I was beyond paranoid. Thankfully, we have past that stage and now that she's capable of falling asleep alone… it's time to set her free. She did pretty good for her first week! Look at the pride in that little smile 😉 . #mommyhood #yearthirty