Ready to Sleep Better?
Podcast Episode Transcripts:
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Welcome to the kids sleep show, where we help tired parents from around the world to get their 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. Hey, everyone,
Courtney Zentz here, thank you for tuning in to the kids sleep show. I am coming to you live in the middle of a hurricane and the middle of a pandemic. So it’s definitely a banner year. So far, I’m not sure what else can go wrong. But needless to say, we are safe. And we are chatting today about the two to one nap transition, when you should do it, what age and exactly how you make those steps in that transition. So somewhere between six and seven months of age in my experience, clients that either work with me or who I’ve consulted with through one of my social media outlets are on two naps a day, the two nap a day structure is set up for success around two things. First is between six and seven months, the awake window for a child is typically about three hours. And the total amount of sleep they need is also about three hours. So somewhere between six and seven months, clients move to two naps a day. And they hang tight there for a few months till somewhere between 12 and 14 months in my experience, either at 12 months, they’re forced to move to one nap because that’s what daycare does when they move them into the next room. And I know firsthand because both my kids were in daycare, and that basically the day they moved up to that toddler room or the the next older infant room, they went down to one nap a day daycare took care of it and they were cool in about a week. So again, that typically can happen around 12 months, some parents prefer to keep children on two naps. Until he knows typically around 14 months. I do see some people hang on a bit longer. I will tell you when you do, you typically start to notice things are often other areas of sleep struggle settling early morning wakings short naps. Those are typically indicators you know that it is time to drop down to that one nap a day. Now from six to 12 months, what starts to happen is obviously the awake window for your child starts to lengthen. So kids, you know, where is it six months, there are three hours they are ready for a nap. By 12 months at three hours, they’re kind of starting to unwind, getting ready to go down, and usually can be laid down and will fall asleep relatively close to, you know, kind of that three, three and a half hour mark. Now what happens is things are beautiful, you finally feel like you got a rhythm, you’re rocking this whole thing, you’re able to schedule your calls with your kids home at 10. And two, because naps are stellar. All of a sudden, something happens nap takes a dumpster fire turn, things are super short, and you don’t know what’s going on maybe an early morning waking pops in and you just feel like what was good solid sleep has suddenly gotten a wee bit crazy. And that is typically your signal that it is actually time to move down to one nap a day. Now the first response I often get when I talk with parents about this, especially clients that I’m consulting with who are for example, still on two naps a day but are hiring me around 14 months of age. One of the first things we talk about is that shift and adjustment to one nap a day. Because I see that there’s other things that are becoming derailed as the result of them still being on to naps. So how we go about recognizing and then beginning to make that shift is pretty simple, because most people are going to come back to me and say No way, my kid cannot even make it to 10am, let alone 1230 for that single nap of the day. They’re passing out in grandma’s arms, they’re falling asleep on the play mat. They’re really showing signs that they are ready for sleep at three hours. And I’ll tell you, usually, and I mean this in the nicest way possible, there’s something that you’re likely doing that is causing a bit of boredom. And again, I mean that in the nicest way possible between 12 and 14 months is the age in which kids should move to that single nap of the day. But if for example at 945 you decide to go for a walk with them in the stroller, of course they’re gonna fall asleep, it’s motion and supported sleep, which means that they’re gonna pass out right. And so they may only sleep for 20 or 30 minutes because even though they fell asleep because of the motion, they’re not actually quite tired enough yet, right? So you kind of get in this vicious little cycle. So things like that happens. Sometimes I have clients tell me Oh, well I just put them in the swing to go to the bathroom and then when I come back, they’re sleeping or, hey, I laid them on the mat to do tummy time and they fell asleep or I laid them on the mat. To play on their back with their little mat yard, they fell asleep, right. And again, I mean this in the nicest way possible, they’re probably bored. So kids like to be entertained. They also have super short attention spans, right? So especially at that first year of life, right, there’s lots of transitions happening, and they get kind of bored, they want to go from one thing to the next thing to the next thing. And I know, frankly, as a working parent with kids home, that’s really hard right now, right? So you kind of take the path of least resistance and say, you know, what, if the swing works for you fine. Or, again, if we’re gonna have to do the play yard, or we’re gonna have to go for a walk, or mommy’s gonna wear you or what have you, that’s okay. The biggest thing is that you have to understand when their bodies ready, they’re ready, right? So like, biologically, there’s things happening that we necessarily can’t control. And if we stick to the to nap a day schedule, you’re going to end up with something like an early morning waking a child that ends up fighting you at bedtime, because the timings off, or you know, those nap durations are going to be much shorter, right. So the first thing that you want to make sure you’re doing when you’re trying to go from the two to one transition, and you believe that it is time to do so is actually to take a look at some stimulating activities that are going to help you to get there and get over that hump of that kind of 10 o’clock body clock nap that your little one is used to, I have a Pinterest board, it’s under tiny transitions. And it is basically stimulation activities for children under the age of one. So you can come up with some creative ideas that will kind of help your child to you know, stay awake, be stimulated. And you’re not necessarily always using food to do that, though it is a good option. You know, things like for example, I had my husband go into the garage and just grab a bunch of random like a doorknob of one of those locks that you like latch and kind of pull back and forth. You know, I think I put like an old bell on it or something like anything that we could find I basically like glued on or screwed on safely to a piece of random wood that we had in the garage, and it became a little busy board. For my little guy, you know, roughly around 12 months of age he’s sitting up, he’s kind of can be supported, he’s able to do that and play for a bit, you know, I actually filled a Ziploc bag with dollar store hair gel and put like a bunch of glitter and maybe a couple like I don’t know, marbles or something at the time in it. And then I glued that to the board. So it was like he was kind of playing with think of like an ice pack, right, like so he was touching that. So again, like sensory type of activities. And that really kept them busy. As you know, the name equates a busy board right for the time in which it took to push them out a little bit. And then you know, we would use things like food. So around lunchtime, we would kind of kick things off a little earlier and do a lot more finger foods and they you know, would kind of play and take yogurt smeared all over the place. And you know, we kind of used those things to force adjust the clock. Now I can also tell you, in making that adjustment, how you get there, right? Again, my kids were at daycare, so I only had to really deal with it for a couple weekends, when you know they were home. But during the week daycare, they’re just busy, right? So if you keep them busy, they’ll get there. And yes, they’re gonna be tired, they may pass out over Cheerios at 1215. But you know what that means you got to 1215 that day, let them sleep as long as they will. And then it may just be an early bedtime. The other alternative is, you know, really just forcing them there through busy, busy busy activities until you hit 1230 as the goal, right. The ideal goal for a child on one nap a day is falling asleep somewhere around 1230. And then waking up somewhere at about three o’clock. If you let them sleep any later, they’re not going to be ready for bed at seven o’clock. And if they get up too soon, right. So for example, during the transition, they may only make a 45 minute nap, right? And so if that’s the case, now they go to bed at 1230. They’re up at 115. That’s a really long stretch to bedtime when you’re making the move to one nap a day. I do like when clients stay with just one nap. But I certainly understand during that week transition, there may be a 20 minute power nap that happened somewhere later in the afternoon. That’s all right. We want to avoid overtired at bedtime. But we also can’t have it be a catch 22 where you can’t ever get out of the vicious cycle. Because I’ll tell you that it’s much easier to get out of that vicious cycle by just plowing through it. Versus the elongating of it for months and months and months trying to make the transition. Like I said both my kids transferred to one nap a day at 12 months of age in daycare, and they did it successfully in a week and they were done. Right. So sometimes you do have to kind of course correct and adjust to get there. But it is super helpful when it happens. Now when I talk about Little bit about kind of the age, right? So 12 to 14 months and trying to get there. Other signals that you may be experiencing in your home are things like chronic short naps, right? So a two nap a day structure is typically like 10 to 1130, and then 230 to four or 10 to 12, three to 410 to 11, two to four, that’s kind of typically how a two nap a day structure breaks out, right? When you’re trying to make that flip or adjustment, one of those naps typically starts to suffer. So that’s also kind of another signal that it’s time for things to change, right. So you go, you know, lay them down, maybe they take 20 minutes to fall asleep, or as they used to just lay down and go to bed, right and there’s no tears associated with it, they’re just laying there awake, right? That’s your first cue that you can start to push out that morning nap to a little bit later, you know, try to get through 1130 and then 1145. And then 12, right, ultimately, with your goal being somewhere between 1230 and 1245. Because if you’re noticing that they’re just laying there and they’re not tired, right, it just basically means that they don’t have the right amount of sleep pressure built up. Because their brain can tolerate being awake for longer periods of time. Right? With the last nap to bedtime. The biggest thing that you need to be careful of is trying to balance obviously avoiding a chronically overtired child with a nap, that may be an oops, nap that happens, you know, randomly coming home from the target or you know, something takes place that is, you know, like a quick walk with the nanny or something, right? Maybe you’re holding them and they just pass out at four o’clock. If those things happen, you know, it is going to happen and it’s fine to take the edge off. You just don’t want to overcompensate, right, because if you do, you’re gonna have a kid that at seven o’clock is laughing at you probably crying actually, when they try to go to bed because they’re not going to be tired, right? Our body clocks are beautiful and quite amazing things. And this week, actually, as this podcast is being released, I’m actually collaborating with purple, the mattress company to talk a bit more about kind of how the body builds up the sleep pressure in the daytime in order to properly set you up to fall asleep at the right times at the right place for the right durations. Right and, you know, it’s it’s essentially two different things that are happening. You’ve got the body clock, the circadian rhythm, right, like what the body’s used to. And then you also have, essentially, what is I referred to it frankly, as sleep pressure, right? So just to give you a little bit of the background of like, what is happening is during the day, your your child’s brain is essentially contains a neurotransmitter. Okay, so the their neurotransmitter, which I refer to as sleep pressure is adenosine. Okay, so as the day goes on, it’s building more and more and more of that up, right. So at bedtime, a child’s levels are at their highest amount, and it ebbs and flows based on their age, and then when they sleep consolidated overnight, it has the ability for that level to drop off, and then it sets them up for the next day where it starts to build up. When you get too much of that built up without sleep. That’s what triggers kids to get into overtired. What happens when your little ones are overtired is basically the brain is now saying, Well, wait a minute, if you’re not going to go to sleep, then let me help you out. Right? So it’s going to create adrenaline and cortisol, essentially trying to help you stay awake because it thinks that’s what you’re trying to do. Kids if you’ve ever seen them. overtired typically results in a lot more tears, a lot more fuss, the inability to settle short naps, trouble a bedtime multiple overnight wakings and early morning wakings, right nine times out of 10. When I work with asleep client, in some capacity, they’re overtired, right, they’re either sleeping sporadically in the day, they’re not sleeping well at night, they’re getting up at the crack of dawn before the sun chickens are even up. So part of that is going to be looking at to make sure you’re balancing the right sleep pressure, but also balancing what their body needs. Like certain stuff, we can control certain stuff we can’t control when it comes to making those nap transitions. So if you’re ready to make the transition from two naps to one, and you’ve identified some things that are going wrong, that you believe are contributed to that the first thing I would do is set a goal for yourself each day of the time in which you’re going to keep the child awake until right so 15 minute increments. Today we’re going to go to 1015. Tomorrow we’re going to go to 1030 and move over the course of a week letting them sleep for as long as possible during that transition. Okay. If one day things are going great, and they are not looking at all tired, they are chillin like a villain they’re happy as a clam. They’re playing with that busy board and it’s like 1145 and they are just still good to go. Perfect. Hold them to their best the next day. To get you to that ideal time quicker. Frankly, the quicker you can Get out there and just plow through it, the better off you’re going to be because what happens is either way you look at this, there’s going to be a period in the daytime during this week transition where they’re overtired, right, they’re either gonna be overtired in the morning as you try to stretch them. Or they’re gonna be overtired, going into bedtime because they went down for a nap and then wouldn’t settle for a second nap. And now they’re going into bedtime. overtired, hands down every single time. I would tell you have them be overtired for the nap versus overtired at bedtime. Because overtired a bedtime is going to lead to trouble settling multiple night wakings and early morning wakings. Whereas overtired in the morning, it may just lead to a little bit of a fussy your baby, but you can generally keep them amused enough to get to that 1230 to 1245, especially when you add in food, right, because it keeps them busy, kind of takes their mind off of the fact that they’re getting tired, right. So when you’re ready to make that jump, hold them to their best and stick to it for several days, it takes two weeks to adjust naps from two to one nap. And I’ll explain why first week you’re getting there, right, you need to move to one nap a day and get there as quickly as possible over that first week. Okay, the second week is when the body is going to recognize they’re now on one nap a day, laying them down at 1230, they settled by 1245. And they sleep till typically about three o’clock, that isn’t going to happen till kind of the end of the second week, right? Your body clock is now going to get used to consolidating into one cycle, it does take a couple days for that to happen. So just be aware of that, if you’re noticing that your little one is taking like really chronic short single naps for the first couple days. And it really is just messing them up. And they’re not able to go to bed a little earlier, you can go in and try to support them back to sleep to basically help the body speed up the process of the consolidation, right. So if you notice them moving around, and you put them down at 1245. And then at like 130, they’re moving around, go in and try to push them back to sleep offer a little bit of gentle comfort, maybe a head Pat, but Pat, just to try to get them into another cycle before they fully arouse and wake up. Sometimes you’re going to have success doing that sometimes you’re not it depends on how much they come to. Again, people will say, well, doesn’t that create a sleep prop sleep Association. And I will say not necessarily because you know, you’re not doing it as like the mechanism to fall asleep forever. We’re kind of just over a couple days offering some sporadic support. So it’s go into them, maybe give them a little bit of a head cuddle and shush and then step away, right? And then maybe continue the shushing, and then maybe you give them another buck, Pat, and then you step away, right? The biggest thing is that when you’re doing something like that, where you kind of are putting intervention in for a period of days while you’re trying to consolidate is that you don’t turn anything into a habit. So just make sure that every day that you’re doing it, you’re somewhat lessening the engagement, if you will, during the course of those couple days, as you’re trying to get them to naturally consolidate, you’re basically tricking their cycles to understand Oh, actually, I should still be sleeping, okay. And after about three or four days of doing that, the body when it wakes, after 45 minutes is going to go, well wait a minute, I should still be sleeping, and then they’re going to settle back down. Right. So that is kind of the process, if you will, as far as the first nap of the day, getting them to stick extend out to a single nap in the day and what that looks like to get the nap extended. Because again, our goal is to get it far enough out in the day that they’re waking by three o’clock. Because what we don’t want is a kid going down at 11, waking at one and then being super overtired for bedtime. Right. So again, it is you know, something that I think each family has to assess for themselves. As far as like when they’re comfortable making the shift or adjustment, right? You may say you know what, Courtney, like we’re home right now, my little one is taken to 90 minute naps. They’re at 10 to 30. Everybody’s happy, they go to bed at seven, they wake up at seven and life is good. And then I’ll tell you great, don’t touch anything, right? You don’t need to poke the bear. If everything’s working fine for your family just leave it but when you start to recognize that something is off somewhere, when for a while things are really good. It’s typically that there’s a timing issue somewhere in the day. And that is what’s causing even things like an early morning waking, like people don’t associate that with a nap, right? Because it happens at such different times of the day. But sleep is all connected. It’s a skill. There’s a foundational element to it. So it is definitely something that you know, from a jigsaw puzzle standpoint can sometimes be a little more complex than what’s covered here on the podcast. So I want to take this chance to let you know I do also have a Facebook group. It is called slumber Made Simple. It’s a private group. It is me and my team of amazing sleep consultants that are out there for free doing weekly Q and A’s. I do training every Tuesday I try to bring different guests on and I’m always doing different types of training around Sleep and support for new families.
I’m a lactation counselor as well. I talk a bit about that in the group. And ultimately my mission there is to serve you with content. If you haven’t checked out tiny transitions.com forward slash tools go out there. Right now there’s a link to the Facebook group, there’s a link to my making over bedtime free five day training. It’s a mini series training each sessions about 30 minutes and every day we build on the skill set from the previous day so that over the course of a week, you are totally redefining your child’s sleep. All of that stuff, lots of downloadable schedule generators, you name it, all that stuff is out on tiny transitions.com forward slash tools, or out in my facebook group slimmer Made Simple. I serve the community, I serve you. I am here to do private consults. Obviously, I’m an entrepreneur. That’s my job. I work with lots of clients all the time, as does my team. But not everybody’s ready for that. Maybe not everybody needs that level of support. If you do, I’m here and I always offer preliminary sleep evaluations for free. You can set those up out on the website as well. There’s so much great tool, information and templates available for you. I’m here to serve you. I am so appreciative of you listening to the show. I would love if you could pop out and give us a nice review. That’s what tells everybody that it is worth sharing this with other tired parents around the world. And I do hope that you have a beautiful rest of the day stay healthy. Until next time, and dream big and I am excited to help you on your journey to sleep. Until next time, Sweet dreams. Hold on one more thing before you go. As a valued listener of the kids sleep show. I want to help you build a great sleeper not just in the times you’re listening to the show. But all day every day. Every week of the year. I have a new Facebook group called slumber Made Simple. It’s a place to gather with other parents looking for sleep support, laughs and the latest in sleep research to build a family that is rested and at their best day in and day out. If you want to be part of the community where you can get free sleep support, weekly training sessions, unbelievable content and so much more. Head on over to tiny transitions.com forward slash community that’s tiny transitions.com forward slash community or head over to Facebook and search slumber Made Simple. drop me a note and let me know when you join. I can’t wait to see you there.