- Why won’t your toddler stay in bed?
- How to help your toddler to sleep through the night?
- What are the main reasons for toddler sleep issues?
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Podcast Episode Transcripts:
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Welcome to the kids sleep show where we help tired children to fall asleep independently, sleep through the night and build healthy sleep habits for Life. I’m your host, Courtney Zentz. Now let’s sleep together. Hello, everyone. Welcome to this week’s episode, I’m talking all about how to get your terrific toddler to stay in their bed. If you like many parents of children, typically around the age of three, when they are no longer in a crib, decide they want to get up at night and venture to your room or come out of the room four or five times every single bedtime, you can find yourself in a bit of a funk and sometimes leading to bad habits that you need to break away from. So today we’re going to talk all about how you can effectively change your child’s behavior, keep them in their bed all night and make sure that you and they are getting the rest you all need to be your best. So let’s jump in and get started. First, I want to make sure people understand there is a clear differentiation between sleep training and what a toddler is doing. When you have a client who potentially you’ve worked with a sleep consultant in the past and they sleep trained your six month old for how to learn how to sleep independence, Lee, maybe they had a reliance on the bottle or the breast or rocking to sleep right you hired someone or you did it yourself. You sleep trained your baby. And they sleep great, right and then all of a sudden, like three years old hits, they get in there and tell their bed and it’s good for a night or two. And then things go to hell in a handbasket. So what happened? And what type of approach do you need to do? A lot of families will call me and they will hire me to work with their toddler. But they’ll say, hey, we use some of our sleep training techniques, and they didn’t work. And now we need your help. Let me explain something, you’re not sleep training a three year old, they know how to sleep sleeps a skill set. So understand that when you build the skill of sleep, right? The behaviors which are essentially habits go away because your child no longer believes that they need that thing to go to sleep, which is what happens when you’re a baby. Okay, as a toddler, they’re choosing to get out of bed, they’re choosing to come see you. They’re choosing to tap on your shoulder, or to yell from their room. Ma right. Even babies as young as 18 months will do this in the crib. So they can’t physically come see you. But they can stand up and go ma right and what’s the response mom comes running in, pick up baby, pickup toddler rock to sleep, lay back down, lay next to them on the bed, rub their back, right? cuddle with them co sleep with them, you can jump in. Why? Because you’re tired. And it’s the easiest way to get some sleep, right. But if you have a three year old that does this or a two year old or a four year old or an eight year old. It’s not that they can’t sleep, it’s that the reward of whatever they’re seeking is bigger than that precedes action. Right? So why would you stop asking? If I woke up every night at three in the morning, and my husband brought me a doughnut, I would eat it. I don’t need it. But I’m going to eat it because it’s a doughnut. And I like donuts, right? So you’re creating that same sort of like, oh my gosh, this is the reward for getting up, I get to cuddle with you. Awesome. I fell into this with my kids, when when they were younger, and they would wake up in the morning and then put the TV on. And they started creeping out a little earlier and a little earlier. Like we watch TV, can we watch TV? Can we watch TV and I’m like, You know what? TV is not allowed on before six. And in order to watch TV, you have to be dressed and have eaten breakfast. Right. So it curbed those early wakings because the reward for them getting up early was to watch TV, you see. So with this, what you first have to look at is understand that there’s a difference between sleep training and behavior modification, you my friend have a behavior problem, not a sleep training problem. So do not try to use interval based check ins or Ferber or stay in the room or the chair method or any of those fancy terminologies that are out there for the same four types of sleep training that exist in the market today, you will have no success with traditional sleep training. Because your child knows how to sleep. They do not want to sleep through the night. They do not want to take long naps, right? They are looking for you to be that crutch for whatever it is. That’s the reward to it. You’re doing something that that child perceives as an award cuddling, cosleeping rubbing their back sitting in their room, you know, whatever it is, there’s something that they like about the engagement, right? So that’s going to be where you would want to start. So that’s the first part of it. It’s not sleep training. The second thing you have to look at is like what are you willing to do as a parent? I think a lot of times people have Are your sleep consultants and they go, I don’t want to give up the cuddle with my kid during bedtime. That’s the only time I get to see him as a working parent. I’m not asking you to do that. But I had a mom who came to me once and was like my daughter’s hair twirling for 90 minutes. And I’m gonna lose my ever loving night. And I’m like, Will are you allowing her to twirl for 90 minutes? She’s like, Well, yeah, if I don’t, she freaks out and has a meltdown. Right? Well, that’s a temper tantrum, right? If your daughter wanted a cupcake for breakfast every day before school, what would you say? Probably no, right? Most parents, because you don’t want to get your kid all hopped up on sugar before they go sit in a classroom all day. Nobody eats cupcakes for breakfast. Okay, that’s a boundary, your kid might be pissed, have a temper tantrum. And you know what you say too bad. We don’t eat cupcakes for breakfast. But in this situation, it’s like, oh, I can’t let them have a temper tantrum around here twirling. So I’m just going to conform because I don’t know how to fix the temper tantrum. I don’t know how to fix rubbing their back for two hours, I don’t know how to fix them getting into bed with me. Because if I don’t allow them to come in and CO sleep with me, they have a hissy fit at two in the morning. And I don’t want to deal with that, that’s usually the back half of the conversation, it is easier for me to give in to them than to fix the root of the problem, which is the behavior. And you know, I get it. Sometimes it’s three in the morning and you’re like, dude, just shut up and go to sleep. Right? Like, as a parent, I see that like my dog right now I just adopted a couple of months ago, is not sleeping overnight, because she would rather be outside hunting foxes. And she is making it more than aware that she is interested in doing that versus allowing me to sleep. And so we’re managing that right now with a $300 shade I just bought for the back window downstairs, a new sound machine and calling the Invisible Fence people because her shot caller is not shocking at all, which I didn’t know. So she’s just like, I don’t care about your fence. It can be bought once, but I’m out of here. And so I’m trying to change her behavior in a couple of different ways. And make sure her environment is set up so she can’t see the fox. She can’t hear the fox. And when she tries to go after the fox, she gets whacked. So that it’s it’s behavior based. Now I’m not equating kids to dogs, but it’s the same type of things. I’m shifting a behavior, because the desirable situation is that my dog lets me sleep because my two kids let me sleep. And I like sleeping. So you have to look at it like what are they doing? And what are you willing to do? You don’t have to give up the cuddles. You don’t have to give up the hair twirls, you can set a boundary. Right? And that’s where part of coaching comes in. Because every family is unique and different, right? I actually work with a ton of pediatricians who have toddlers that don’t sleep well. I don’t know if it’s a thing, but it’s a lot of them. And a lot of them come to me. And they’re like we were referred you from another pediatrician of a toddler that didn’t sleep well, right. So even pediatricians struggle with sleep now. It’s every unique situation. And every parent’s values, every parent’s timing, every parent’s sleep space is going to look different, and every kid’s personality all have the plans that we build who are built based on the personality, right? Because you’ve got to be able to tap into what your child is seeking. And then as parents build a new boundary around what you’re willing to do, right, how you keep your child in bed, is to make the action or result that they get from getting out of bed, less desirable than the result, right? Your kid’s going to stop asking for a cupcake for breakfast, when you stop offering a cupcake. And they know that no matter what they do, they’re not getting a cupcake for breakfast. Basic, right? It’s the same idea around sleep, you know, and I use the app comparative to fruit striped gum if you’re from the United States, and you were born in the late 70s, early 80s. Like I was we used to chew fruit striped gum. Okay, it came with a tap to there were like five different colors. It’s a pretty rainbow pack. It has a zebra on it right? When you first put it in your mouth, you’re like, This is a dream. Right? And then 20 seconds later, it tastes like cardboard. Every parent who has ever chewed for trip gum will tell you that exact answer. It tastes amazing when you chew it and 20 seconds later tastes like cardboard. What do you do at 20 seconds? Spit it out. Why? Because the taste is no longer desirable. You have to become frustrated gum for your toddler. If the result is desirable. Why would they stop waking. So the first thing you have to do is make sure they’re not overtired. Because that’s always going to make it worse bedtime, they’re gonna have more wakings they’re gonna have night terrors and nightmares. Like, you have to fix the schedule. First. overtired is the devil for kids at any age. Second, you’ve got to look at the boundaries, what are you willing to do? What are you not willing to do? Make sure your child is onboard with those boundaries and fully aware of them. Okay, third, what is gonna be the reward and or consequence in their behavior? Right. Some of it is you know, people talk about
Unknown Speaker 9:56
natural consequences right. My son the other Days like I’m going out to play football and like he’s probably put a coat on because it’s cold. I don’t want to put a coat on, I’m fine. I got my sweatshirt on bubble. I’m like, we’re gonna be outside for like an hour and a half. If you’re cold, I don’t want to hear it right? What happens 20 minutes after we’re outside, I’m cold. I don’t really care. We’re not going inside yet. That was your choice not to wear your jacket. When I told you, that’s a natural consequence, okay, three year olds are going to have natural consequences. But they also might have consequences that you as a parent have to figure out. One of the things I do with a lot of my younger clients is something like this, this has consequences and rewards, right? It’s popsicle sticks that I stick in, right. And on the end of each one, it has things they value, and things that they don’t value, right? If I took a piece of candy away from my daughter, she would cut her arm off because she loves candy. My son, he doesn’t care about candy. It’s not a motivator for it. Right? I don’t give my kids a lot of sugar. So candy for them. It’s like, Whoa, I got a treat, right? You know, my son values playing football with my husband. That’s what he values. So if I took that away and said no sports with daddy all week, that’s a big consequence to him because he like stands at the door waiting for my husband to get home from work. So they can go outside and play football or soccer or whatever the sport does. Your is right. You have to create a boundary help positively reward your child in a couple of ways. One empowerment during the bedtime routine, creating self confidence, three, setting the expectations around sleep and then consequently the choices when they make the choice not to stay in bed. When they are making the choices. Right? This isn’t you dictating, it’s them making the choice. They have a choice, they can stay in bed and get this or they can choose to get out of bed and get this which one you want your choice Little Billy, right. But if there’s no boundary on the back end or consequence to a choice that you’re making, how do you expect to change behavior? Right. That’s how behavior shifts we know and learn something is off limits. If I told you don’t touch that pan, Max, I just pulled the cookies out of the oven. It’s pretty hot. Don’t bite into your chicken nuggets. We talked about this the other night at dinner? Don’t bite into your chicken nuggets, please. What does he do bites into the chicken nugget out Robell from like, I told you not to bite into it. You think he’s gonna bite into the hot chicken nugget next time? No. Why? Cuz he burned his mouth. That sock did hurt. Right? But he chose not to listen to me. When I said the chicken nuggets just came out of the oven. Please give them a few minutes to cool. Why don’t you eat your vegetables first, right? He chose not to do that and to eat his chicken nugget burned his mouth. Sorry, do the best I can. You know, as a parent, it’s like, alright, well don’t eat the chicken nuggets when I tell you to give him a few minutes to cool and you pick it literally right up and stick it in your mouth. Like I can’t, like I can’t fix stupid, right? So I try to balance with my kids, the same thing I teach you in just the other aspects of my life like my kids sleep great. But there’s other aspects aspects of behavior that I have to shift, right. So you’ve got to figure out how you keep a child in bed. Settling to bed independently sleeping through the night, waking at an appropriate time is with boundaries, using something like a hatch or an okay to wait clock using a timer that says I will curl twirl your hair for five minutes. And when that timer goes off. It’s now time for you to go to sleep. Right? So it’s setting these boundaries that children can understand. And that you’re consistent with and then that you follow through on. If they know that by picking you a million times you’re just going to do the thing they want then why would they stop picking you? Right as parents we have to create a sense of confidence and independence. But with boundaries like the world isn’t your oyster at three years old? Sorry. Right? So for those of you that are struggling with your toddler trying to figure out like how do I keep them in bed? How do I execute this? What do I do? Right? There’s a lot of different things that that you know, we’ve talked about today that can help you to get started and go oh, like it was overtired. Oh, I don’t have any boundaries. Right? Oh, I don’t have any consequences. Right? Sometimes you might need additional coaching and support we have a free Facebook community called slumber made simple. We’re always doing live q&a is out there I’m sharing knowledge and information on our website, tiny transitions.com Lots of freebies. There’s specifically one for a toddler. There are also sample sleep schedules that you can get so that you know your schedules, right. And the freebie for the toddlers. It kind of takes you through in more detail what I’m covering today. Okay, so you’ve got Facebook summer Made Simple, tiny transitions.com Or right on our website, you can book a discovery call with one of our consultants if you’ve just had it, your kids not sleeping well you’re tired and you’re ready for some support myself or anybody on the team would be more than happy to help you. So I hope this episodes been helpful. I want to wish everybody a beautiful rest of this 2023 And I look forward to seeing you out and about as I pan across social media. Have a great day. Till next week. Bye for now. One more thing before you go. Did you know that we offer a risk free guarantee on all of our private sleep coaching services in In addition, we have the largest library of free sleep training content available for children of all ages. Jump on over to tiny transitions.com and learn more about how we are supporting and changing the quality sleep that your family gets one family at a time.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai