One thing they don’t tell you before you have a baby is that how well he slept at the hospital has nothing to do with how well he’ll sleep at home. Am I right? They’re so peaceful, bundled up in little striped blankets. You have to wake them up to feed them. All is right with the world…until your first twenty-four hours away from those nurses. Why don’t they just teach us how to wrap them that tightly?
Anyway, even if your baby slept well from day one, chances are sleepless nights will come. I mean, let’s face it. You might have a nine month old who has suddenly decided not to sleep (like mine!) or a toddler with night terrors (been there!)…and to be honest, changing from a child who sleeps to one who doesn’t is actually harder than having a newborn. When you have a newborn, people expect you to be tired. Relatives offer to help. You can stay in your pajamas most of the day….
But that’s not the case when your kids are older, is it? You stil lhave to do dishes, wash clothes, go grocery shopping and work. So, how do you handle it?
Here are few simple solutions that are keeping me sane during this somewhat sleepless season:
- Shorten your to-do list. I mean it. If there’s something on there that’s not essential, mark it off. Don’t add stress to sleeplessness.
- If you work outside the home, instead of a lunch break, take a nap, even if all you can do is put your head down on your desk.
- Call for help. Don’t be afraid to ask a friend or family member to come watch the kids…and don’t feel like you have to do something “productive” while they’re there. Go take a nap if that’s what you need. Or maybe a shower.
- Nap when they do. This is standard advice for new moms, but don’t be ashamed to do it as they get older, too.
- If naptime seems like a no-go, institute “rest time” instead. Put that baby in the carrier, or that toddler in the bed, and leave them there 30 minutes at least. Yes, they might cry. But if you don’t do it, you’ll all be crying soon.
- Which brings us to: let them cry. Sometimes its the only way…and usually it works….eventually.
- Get out of the house. Whether you all go for a walk (which uses energy and helps little ones feel like they need sleep…hint..hint…) or you put that baby in a car and drive around until he’s sleeping. You’ll get a change of scenery and, hopefully, perspective. Once, he’s in the car sleeping, drive through and get some coffee. You probably need it.
Anyway, I’m no expert (or he’d be sleeping), but these ideas have helped me….hope they help you today, too!