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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. Hello, everybody. Welcome to this week’s episode of the Kids sleep show. My name is Courtney Zentz, the founder of tiny transitions. And I’m excited to chat with you today all about toddler sleep actually. And that wonderful little lovey that so many of us buy when we have a baby, and our baby gravitates to it and then hangs on to it for many years to come. My son actually has one of these lovely little things, his name is Bobby D. And Bobby D has been around since Max was born. And we were actually really smart parents and bought two bobby ds. So if we ever lost one, we had a backup right now one Bobby D lives here, one Bobby D lives at the beach. And that way, if we ever forget Bobby D, we’ve got one covered in all different places. So what I wanted to talk about today was actually the use of a lovey with a toddler, and how that little thing could potentially be part of why your little one might still be waking up in the middle of the night. So I recently worked with a neonatologist at the hospital here in Westchester, and she hired me for her three year old son and said, you know, he’s just really struggling going down for bedtime, He doesn’t sleep through the night, he’s fighting his naps, and we’re having to lay with them all the time to go to sleep. And we’re having to do all these things. And when we started to dive into it, one of the other things that I found interesting as well, was his attachment or affinity to his lovey, and so every night, several times a night, mom or dad would have to go into the bedroom. And they would have to find this tiny little lovey that was this little animal. And they’d have to find it from where it got stuck under his sheet or on the side of his bed or fell off the bed. And they’d give him his little lovey back. And then they would say good night, and they’d get out of there. And this would happen four times a night. Now again, as a neonatologist, you’re probably pretty tired. So you want to make sure that you know you’re getting your sleep as a doctor. And they weren’t. And that was the reason for them reaching out, we ended up working together from a private client capacity, because when you start to get into other issues, it can be a little more complex as far as the solution to fix it. But what I got out of that was actually the one big thing that this little one was hanging on to was that lovey because that lovey, you know what it was the ticket to Mom and Dad, mom and dad are almost always the reward for a child. They’re the reward at bedtime, when you lay with your child to go to sleep there with a reward in the overnight hours, because you come in and give them back their lovey, give him a kiss, tuck them in, and they’re thinking, hey, this is great. Who wouldn’t want this? Right? And so we started on the program. And there were some other things that were going on as well that we had to manage. So we kick things off, we start working together, we’re you know, about a weekend, he’s settling so beautifully for bedtime in about 10 minutes, they still get the opportunity to cuddle. But we’ve got some new boundaries around that. And the way in which we’re approaching bedtime with empowerment, and just different things that we do uniquely here at Tiny transitions. But we also still saw that there were some wakings overnight Now, typically, for toddlers and school aged children, when you’re making a change to sleep, it does take about a week of consistency for those changes to take effect, right. And so what we started to see was that we have, you know, a little one making really good progress, but there was this something holding on in the middle of the night. And you know, what it ended up being, which is the point of the podcast today. He loved the engagement. So him losing that little guy was something he still kept, quote doing, because he knew mom or dad had to come in and give it back to him because he was three years old. And they were saying, you know, he can’t find it himself. It’s really tiny. So we do have to be a part of that engagement in the middle of the night. And I said, You know what, he’s three, he’s pretty smart, actually. And so I don’t want you being a part of that engagement anymore. And here’s what that’s gonna look like now. So what we did was we made a little bit of a shift and gave him a cute little flashlight, something very simple picked one up at the dollar store, he could turn it on with his thumb, and it could stay safely on his bed or tucked under his pillow and wouldn’t fall out. But if he lost his little thing, I forget his name formally, but we’ll call it Bobby D just to keep it consistent with my son’s lovey. So if he lost Bobby D, I told mom you are not allowed to go in that room and give it to him. Okay, you can stand in the door, and you can direct him to find himself, you can still be there, but you’re not a part of the process anymore. So you’re to stand in the doorway, set that boundary, and say, Here’s your flashlight, grab your flashlight, find your flashlight, turn it on, okay, let’s look around the bed. It only took one night of mom not coming in the bedroom, not giving him back his lovey, and not engaging with him other than standing at the door, and vocally directing him. And again, we had some other things that we were changing prior to this. So again, this was about a weekend, which is expected. And he literally didn’t wake up ever again, ever at night after that first weekend, because Mom took out the engagement with herself. And that’s what he was seeking. Ultimately, he did lose his lovey, but part of me thinks he’s obviously shoving it somewhere in his bed. So mom had to come in and give it to him. So I just want you to understand that sometimes, our children can manipulate situations for the benefit of you, you are almost always to your child, the reward in some capacity, whether it’s tuck in a kiss, tissue, a cuddle, turning on the bathroom light when they go potty, right? All of these things can lead to a habit or a behavior that then causes what many deem a sleep regression as a sleep consultant, I see that word thrown out quite often. And yes, the sleep does regress. But it’s usually as the result of something we’re doing. And again, it was as innocent as this little lovey. And mom not giving it to him. And you know, she basically gave him the option and said, Look, we’ll either tie it on a little string to the end of your bed, or you can have the flashlight, but you know, either way, I’m not going to be the thing that ends up giving it back to you. And once she realized and started to see actually because I think for a bit, she actually believed he couldn’t find it, you know, and once I showed her that he could, you know, I said, turn it into a game. So I want you to go into his bedroom during the day and play hide and seek with that, lovey, okay, and I want you to see how quickly and easily he can find it. So it just proves to you that in the middle of the night, he’s capable at three years old, of finding it as well, which we did. And he did, and it was great. And so that night is when we implemented some of these changes, and he has not woken since and so it’s been a really cool, you know, just thing for me to be able to talk about because I know there are a lot of parents that are kind of doing things whether your child’s asking for a tissue or has to go to the potty or, you know, just is a quote scared of something or their nightlight went off or their sound machine is too loud, or the sound machine is too quiet or all the things that is asleep, coach I see when it comes to toddlers. And sometimes you’re the problem, unfortunately, right and, and you don’t even realize you’re the problem, or you’re the thing that’s causing the issue, because we’re just trying to be helpful, right? As parents, our job is to be helpful. And so sometimes our helpfulness can lead to a child really seeking that engagement or attention even for just a few minutes. And then cause those repeated wakings kids Stop waking when the value of the waking is no longer worth what they were seeking, right. So once you starve the behavior, you get rid of the attention to it, it’s no longer fun, right? The shiny new object syndrome. And so once you can eliminate like you, which is usually the shiny new object from that situation, you generally with that new boundary, and then again, the private coaching that I do often has many other layers to it. But as just one piece of it, give that a try tonight, set a boundary with your toddler, and you have to stick to it and you have to stick to it. And then you’re going to play the longest game of chicken ever with your kids right when it comes to this because you have to set the boundary and they’re going to poke you and poke you and poke you and poke you and they’re going to expect you to bend and if you do they know the boundaries, the boundaries flexible right? If you don’t bend, then obviously they know that it’s not going to change and after a couple days and trying right they give up just like everything else that they you know kind of hope to get a cookie for breakfast and after a couple days they stop asking because they know that’s not going to happen. So same kind of idea this happens to be with a toddler and a lovey and that that little engagement could be keeping your toddler awake and help them to not sleep through the night. So again, thank you so much for tuning in to this week’s episode. I hope this was helpful for you definitely let me know you can reach out to me directly at Tiny transitions.com My email is info at Tiny transitions if you’re interested in working together and as always, you can join me out in my Facebook group I do live trainings every single week for free. It’s slumber made simple, and I hope you all have a beautiful rest of the
day. 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.