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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.
Happy Monday. Welcome to the kids sleep show. My name is Courtney Zentz. And I am the founder of tiny transitions, sleep consulting, and the host of this beautiful podcast that I am so blessed you have joined me on. So this week, I am talking all about whether or not it is time to give up co sleeping or room sharing with your little one. And first and foremost, I want to say that a family’s choice to co sleep or room share is just that it’s your choice, I am going to give you perspectives from what I see in the realm of sleep consulting, right, I run a company and I see a lot I see a whole lot around sleep. And so you know what I’ve kind of done with today’s episode is really take you through the top five things that are really triggers for a client, when they reach out to me to say, Hey, we’re ready to move on. And what does this look like for us? Right? And so the first thing that I would like to talk a little bit about today is that the probably the number one reason why people reach out to me to say, you know what, Courtney like we need help, and we’re ready to move on. And it’s because no one is sleeping? Well, I think when people start to co sleep, there’s pretty much two reasons that they do it. One, it’s the culturally accepted thing to do, right. And number two, it just freakin works for the family at the point in which everybody needs to get some rest, and you’re running on fumes. I personally am someone who is very, very aware of the guidelines, obviously in my space around the American Academy of Pediatrics, but also, frankly, around safe sleep, right. So I am a proponent for a child sleeping in their own space, whether it’s a co sleeper that’s attached to a bed, a crib in their own room, a crib in a bedroom with parents, a bassinet, right. Anything that provides that child their own safe sleep environment, for me, is just my personal perspective. And something I’m not going to waver on. But I do understand that people have to make the choice that works for them. Based on their situation. I’m not here to judge what your situation is, I’m here to help you fix it when you’re ready to fix whatever it is that’s no longer working for you. And the most common thing is that really nobody is sleeping. Well, I have clients reach out that say I’m a human pacifier all night, and I’m sick of it, I have clients reach out to tell me they get kicked in the face all the time, you know, and that the baby or the toddler or the school aged child is just moving around all night. Every time they move, then I move and then it takes me 20 minutes to go back to bed. Right. And this happens four or five, six times a night, from ages of like six weeks through six years, frankly, I’ve seen it all. And you know what, when sleep is starting to impact your mental health, right? When getting an average of five hours of sleep has the same impact on your brain as brain being intoxicated. Right? When your immune system is suffering, especially right now in the middle of a global pandemic, right? When your mental balance is struggling, when your cognitive balance is struggling when you just left your cell phone in the freezer. That’s a problem. Right? You’re not thinking clearly. And so I would say at that point, it’s probably no longer working for you. And you know, it’s something that you are going to need to balance when you’re ready to move from that, right. The next reason would be probably more around three’s a crowd, right? And for a variety of reasons, right? One, three people in a queen size bed typically doesn’t work out, right? You know, and somebody always ends up getting booted out of that room. And it’s usually, in many cases dad who ends up sleeping in another room. I just got off a call this morning with a client that I’m going to begin working with next week, who moved into a new house in February. It’s their second child. And she’s like, my husband has not slept in our brand new house in his brand new room in his brand new bed since February. Right? Imagine what that does to a relationship and I know that everybody’s really trying to do their best obviously, it’s working for you kinda right now to get some sleep. But imagine what that does to a relationship right? That’s hard. Like, I know I my husband, I like sleeping next to him every night. I like to know that we can have a little bit of a cuddle or I can just say goodnight and give him a kiss or we can lay in bed and read or talk at night and such right and I can do that with some freedom if we want to watch TV or read a book We can do it. And I don’t have to worry about waking a child up who’s in between us.
Right. And again, at some point, you know, culturally, I know that there’s a lot of folks in different parts of the world that co sleep till they’re five, six years old, and that’s socially acceptable there. And you know, I’m working with a family right now that’s got two four year old twins who have co slept since birth. And they’re both just like, we’re over this, we are over it, we’re getting pressure from our parents to keep doing it. And you know what, it is just not working for us anymore, Courtney, and you got to help us fix it. And we’re doing great, we’re about a weekend and we’ve made amazing progress with the twins, they’re in their own room, they’re settling independently. One is sleeping through the night, the other one’s pretty heavily attached to mom, but was doing really good as we’re getting mom out of that room. But the beauty of it is the parents can see the transformation in the kids. And, you know, no offense, but three, in this case, four is the crowd in a bed and you know, parents are ready to move on from that. And, you know, they may decide to move on from sharing a bed to sharing a room, and we’re going to talk about that. And they may just say, you know what, it’s time for our child or children, to have their own sleep space in their own environment, to build independence in that space, and to feel comfortable and calm in that space. Right? I talk about your sleep sanctuary. And I’m such a huge believer in that. Because it’s a place for peace and rest when you’re sleeping, your body’s restoring itself. And if you’re not getting sleep, no offense, but your kids not either, right. So regardless of where you’re sleeping, if you’re disrupted, they’re likely disrupted too. And so how you feel in the morning, is how your child feels they just can’t express it. Right. And so I think that that cognitive impact on both of you is important to understand, like, what is it doing to your relationship? What is it doing to your emotional wellness, your physical health, right, all of those things are important. You know, I see in these Facebook groups sometimes where, you know, I
don’t comment, I
don’t say anything. I’m a mom of two kids myself, right. And so I’m in a lot of mommy groups, and I just see these, like, posts that it’s totally natural and normal for children to wake up several times a night, right through the age of five. newsflash, it’s actually not normal. Right? So
you know, I see comments around like, well, I’m supporting the emotional development of my children. newsflash, you can support the emotional development of your children, even if they sleep independently in their own space, right? I have two kids, they’ve never once slept in a bed with me except the two weekends over the course of seven years that we’ve gone to my aunt’s lake house, and there’s nowhere else to sleep. And my daughter, and I build a wall between us. And we share a bed. And that’s the only time it’s ever been allowed. And I can perfectly support her and my son’s emotional wellness, right? You can Google anything. And I’m not here to tell you, you’re right, or you’re wrong. And you’re listening to this and going to send me some hate email about, you know, how emotionally it’s better to be connected, right? Like you can google anything and form a statement around it. So I’m not going to get into that type of an argument. I’m just simply saying that you can support a child’s emotional wellness and well being and still have them sleep in their own space. Right? And it’s okay. Right? It’s okay. A lot of times people say to me, Courtney, like we’re having a baby, what do we do? Do we room share? Do we co sleep? Do we put them in their own space? You know, and my first question for them is, look, when your baby comes out, and they are sleeping, or maybe they’re a couple weeks out, and you’ve room shared for the first two or three weeks, they’re in a bassinet next to your bed. And, you know, my question to you when you reach out to me is when they are sleeping, what are you doing? Are you sleeping? Or are you sitting up all night staring at them? And they kind of laugh at the question, right? And they say, Well, I sleep I need to get some rest, I’m exhausted, I’m running on fumes. The second they pass out, I pass out. And my response to them is, if they’re in a safe sleep space, right, then what’s the difference if they’re in their own room, or in your room, if a child even so much as lightly farts on a monitor, you’re going to hear it because they’re so sensitive, that you can in two seconds, pop that camera on and see what a child is doing. But that’s why a safe sleep space is important. No sheets, and no blankets and no pillows under the age of one no stuffies none of that stuff should be anywhere in a sleep space. They should be in a clean, empty, hard, flat surface. Right. That’s what the American Academy of Pediatrics talks about when it comes to safe sleep. Right? And again, children kind of I would even say is under the age of two. That’s where I would put them hard, flat, safe space. You want to throw a blanket in there on their first birthday. Cool, go for it. Right. But like anything under that for sure. It’s just not a safe sleep environment. And I you know, I don’t care if you’re practicing co sleeping that safe quote unquote, right? Like when you’re in a culture here in America, like you’ve got fluffy pillows and fluffy bedding and all this different stuff right? that a child can easily get trapped on Right. And it’s just the reality of it. And I don’t want any family to ever have to go through what that looks like. But, you know, those are some of the things that I try to talk with clients about when they come to me. Because it’s a very hard decision. I, the day my kids were born both of them, they were in their own room. Because it was a hard, flat, safe space. I wanted them to develop a healthy relationship with a crib, because that’s the place they were going to spend years in. I wanted them to have peace and serenity to have it be a place of calm where they could play, where they could lay where they could rest, right. And so for me, that was the choice for my family. And it worked fine. And I understand you’re listening to this show today. Because you may be thinking like, you know what, we did this this way. And that that way. And that’s fine, right? Like, I’m not here to judge your choices, and what you’re doing, I’m here to help you. If you’re trying to figure out whether or not it’s time to give it up, right. And some families will go from co sleeping to room sharing, right? So what is the difference, right? Co sleeping is there in your bed, it’s a party of three, it’s a party of five, whatever that looks like for you. Room sharing is just exactly like it sounds right. It’s your bed and then their sleep space.
So sometimes for new babies, it’s, you know, a bassinet. Sometimes it’s a crib, sometimes it’s a pack in play. For older children, it could be their own toddler bed, right? Like I worked with a ton of families in big cities, right? I’m always up in New York City or out in Chicago, working with clients around, you know, a one bedroom apartment, and how we’re going to make this work. And we always make it work and it’s beautiful. And we create a conducive environment that still creates separate sleep space. And that is their sleep space. But something that may potentially be in the, you know, in the same room, if that’s where you are, that’s where you are. So it can work just beautifully. It’s about understanding, like what’s going to work for your family, and then building a program that’s going to work to meet your needs, your timing and support their overall, you know, physical development, cognitive development, behavioral development, right? The most important thing is your child is getting an interrupted restorative sleep, broken sleep is not good for anyone, right? So if your child’s waking up a couple times to latch her a couple times to cuddle or a couple times to move around, right? That’s not restorative independent sleep. And unfortunately, that broken sleep is impacting their emotional, cognitive and developmental balance. It just is like the research shows it is right. And so you know, when I talk about research, like, again, you could pretty much Google everything you want. The foundations and the studies that I look at are things from the National Institute of Health, right? The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of sleep medicine, like credited medical places of research and scientific back to education, right. Again, I could Google, you know, if I Froot Loops on my head upside down outside in the grass, is my milk supply going to get better? And I probably have somebody that wrote an article about that, to support that theory, right? Again, it’s not my place to judge what’s working for you. My job is to help you fix what’s going on? And when’s the right time to do that? Right. Sometimes they get really loud, right? I’ve a lot of clients that tell me like kids are loud, man, this baby’s loud, I had no idea right? All night when your child’s in deep REM sleep, especially as a newborn guess what they do?
that’s annoying, right, as a new parent, you’re trying to sleep, nobody needs to be woken up 45 times to that, because it’s important that you get sleep to mom. Right. So, you know, sometimes the noises and sounds are enough to say I got to reevaluate this. Like, it’s just not working for us. And again, my example before, if you’re not sitting up all night, staring at your child that is in the crib next to you put them in their own room and put a monitor in there, put a nanny on their foot, I worked with plenty of clients that use that, right, like do something that helps you to feel safe in that choice. But also to get good restorative sleep, right? Sometimes they’re gonna outgrow the sleep space, I have kids that work with, you know, bassinets and you know, kids that are going to sue and are just so dependent on rocking at this point or movement to sleep. And parents are like, we got to get out of this new because they’re breaking out of it. We got to get out of this swaddle because they hate it, you know, and we got to get them in their own space, because they’re starting to regress from this new as an example, and it’s nothing against the snoot. I’m just using an example of, you know, at some point, you’re gonna outgrow this new and like, what do you do when you’re at that point, right. And so getting them into their own space is, you know, important, right? They’re gonna outgrow a pack and play, they’re going to outgrow a bassinet, right? And you’ve got to get them into that, that place where they’re gonna spend a majority of time and at that point, it may be the right choice for you to take that crib and put it together and put it in their own room.
You know, the next thing I would say as far as like, when is the right time to give up co sleeping, you know, or room sharing is frankly, when it is starting to impact. I would say the emotional balance of a child that is of school age, and here’s what I mean by that. Right, if your friends are having a sleepover, and the only place you’ve ever slept is with mommy and daddy, right? Or mommy and mommy or daddy or daddy or whatever it looks like in your home, right? could just be mommy could just be Daddy, I’m not trying to, like alienate anybody from an example. But what does that look like? Right when they want to go sleep at their their little friend Jude’s and they can’t because they’ve only ever slept with you right? Now you’ve got to undo that situation. And believe me, when they’ve done something for five years, you’re not talking about a three day fix here, right? It takes weeks and weeks and weeks to unravel that into consolidated restorative, independent sleep. And you have to do it with the right plan of balance. Because you do want to minimize the tears and upset but you also have to reset the entire past five years of asleep Foundation, right? Again, it’s not as easy as just go in your own room, Little Billy time to go to bed. It’s like what are you talking about, like, I’ve slept with you for five years, like, this is new to me, I don’t know, I’m scared, I don’t want to be alone, right. And I feel like it can almost backfire on the emotional side of things that people speak to, because you create just such this dependence on a parent, then when a child is entering school, they’re sort of missing some of that independent decision making, right the ability to, to understand and I again, I’m not trying to be a scientist about a pro or con for whether you choose to kind of CO sleep with your five year old, like, it’s just there’s there’s lasting impacts to things and when you’re ready to make that change, the impact of that change is going to be indicative of like how long it was happening for I, you want to make sure that your little one can go to grandma’s for asleep over when you and your husband or wife or whatever want to get out of town for a weekend, right? You want to look at the behavioral impact, right, my daughter is four, she’s always slept independently. But her and I are very close, I would argue sometimes too close, she would crawl back inside of my girl parts if I let her. But she’s my buddy. And I recognize that she just loves her mommy. And that’s cool. But she didn’t sleep with me. But we’ve a very close relationship, you know, and part of me sometimes gets a little frustrated, cuz I’m like, dude, just go play independently, but she just wants to play with me because I’m her bud. And you know, I am her parent. But you know, at this age, she’s four, like, she also looks at me as like her hero. And some days, it is hard to get, you know, not get frustrated, frankly, like I’m a parent, just like you guys are. But you know, I always drew that boundary with like, you’re not welcome to sleep, you know, with me, but I see in her, like some of the, you know, just some of the emotional and behavioral balance with good solid sleep. And I try to balance that with, you know, supporting her emotional needs. And, you know, not giving into, you know, her requests, right, like at four and five saying, Mommy, will you sleep in here with me? like, No, dude, go to bed, you know, and she’s like, our mommy Good night, like, She’s fine. But during the day, she loves her mommy. But I also don’t see her a ton. I work full time. You know, I’m managing a house, I’ve got a son, we’ve got sports, we’re doing stuff as a family, my husband and I do things you know. And so I’m also trying to foster like, a little bit of independence for her so that she understands and strengthens her girl power, right. And I think you know, for each of you, it’s going to look different as to what you decide to do. And again, my job’s not here to, to judge you. It’s to help you to decide, like, Look, if you are co sleeping and you want a room share now because that’s going to work for your family as the next step down. Great reach out, we can help with that. Right? If you’re saying, look, we’re doing this right now, and it’s just not working great reach out, we can help like, this doesn’t have to be this all in one one size fits all. And it
also doesn’t have to be this like epic, cry it out battle. You know, I see so many posts in Facebook that just make it seem like what I do is barbaric. And it’s not like everything I’m building and designing for families is based on your culture, your parenting style, your approach their challenges, what’s happening, how we’re going to get them there they six weeks, six months, six years, right? Like, the sleep is the foundation for which a child’s house is built. And you don’t want to build it on a shoddy Foundation, or you’re going to have some point that house topple over, right? And so I just want people to take some time to kind of assess like, Hey, is this working for me right now as a family for one reason or another and if not, totally encourage you to reach out and to get help. Whether it’s with me or someone who may fit your personality. It may not be me, that’s fine. I’m here to just help and educate you on you know, looking at things from a little bit of a different lens and know that I’m here to support you. I talk a lot about my facebook group called slumber Made Simple. I’m always putting things out there every week I do new content and I try to really create an environment of inclusiveness and support. I’m out there every day answering questions and so was my team. Just to make sure that you have a place you can come to to go, you know what, maybe we’re not ready to be done cosleeping. But I could use a little help with how to manage what’s currently happening. And I would be more than happy to help you with that as well. So I appreciate you tuning in today. Again, my name is Courtney Zentz, the founder of tiny transitions, and I’m always happy to set up some time to chat with you a little more about what’s going on in your home. And if you’re ready to get some more sleep, and you want some sleep success, jump over to Facebook join me in my group slumber Made Simple and know that I always offer preliminary sleep evaluations, they are of no charge. I’m happy to chat and learn more about what is going on in your home and how my services may be able to best support your needs.
well have a great rest of this day. Wishing you all a beautiful December and we will chat soon. Bye for now. 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 lumber Made Simple. drop me a note and let me know when you join. I can’t wait to see you there.