Now more than ever, as we endure the most unnatural, intense circumstances we are likely every to experience in our lives, sleep is vital.
For our children.
The replenishment we achieve during sleep, the recharge, is a vital contribution to a healthy immune system. A healthy immune system is something we all need to focus on now more than ever.
Now IS NOT the time to suffer sleep deprivation!
As I plod along on my own little journey, frantically trying to keep all of the plates spinning, my business, my family, my home, my children, the pressure continues to build in our house. Most days enthusiasm for anything has diminished by 11am and the days are long. BUT we push to keep going. We push to keep momentum running for the children and for ourselves and seek little pleasures in the day to help us get through – a couple of episodes on netlflix in the evening as the boys sleep is as rock and roll as we have been so far.
The point is… we are feeling the pressure, it’s a huge challenge, it’s a marital test, it’s absolute survival mode every hour of the day. We feel like this and our boys are in the perfect routine. Their sleep is perfect, they are well rested, they sleep all night, and we. Are. Exhausted.
For any parents who are living lockdown with the additional challenge of sleep deprivation, please, please, do not suffer in silence. This is a time when we all need to look after one another and most of all stay safe and in good health.
Routine – Keep the calm
Regardless of your lockdown coping status, a reminder about the importance of routine will help all parents to get through these challenging times with less stress !
⭐Routine will help your children (and you) to keep things moving smoothly throughout the day. This will help them to feel more settled and reassured as you continue to achieve as close to normality
⭐Children CRAVE routine. They like to know where they stand and what's coming next, it makes them feel comfortable and prepared - you might feel like you don't have the patience or energy to get through another on schedule meal or bedtime, but! Powering through and maintaining that structure will help everybody
⭐This advice resonates with the advice I offer at Christmas time, where it's a time of change, things aren’t running as normal, its more difficult to keep that rhythm to the day, but being relaxed about late bedtimes or avoiding nap battles will indefinitely lead to a big build up of Overtiredness which will be tough to shift - you don't want to be battling with an overtired child when normality begins to resume !
It is unfortunate that at the end of this we won’t be graced with a big man in a red suit to distribute gifts to the nation and restore the joy we all had before this… but never mind!
Use up energy – Ready for sleep
THE best advice I can give to all parents with children over the age of 12 months...
🤯 Get creative!! 🤯
⭐ Using up your child's energy in fun ways will help them to be more ready for sleep!
⭐This includes daytime sleep - use up all that energy before it replenishes in order to avoid any unnecessary battles getting your children to sleep. If a child is not ready for sleep then they will be sure to let you know about it. Keep on track with your regular routine in spite of the normal classes, activities and playgroups not being currently accessible.
⭐Think obstacle course, think trampolines or scooter races, cycling in the garden, a game of football or... a blow up bed in the spare room which can be used as a bouncy castle/earthquake machine!! 🤪😂👍
Enthusiasm for thinking up ideas on how to burn off energy is likely to be the last thing you need right now… it’s for the greater good and it will help in the long run, I promise!
Avoid Sleep Battles – Minimize Stress
If your little one is a problem napper or a bedtime battler, then do what you can to achieve the sleep that they need during the day to minimize the stress of a likely protest.
Things are intense enough already without you having to feel dread each time a nap is due or bedtime comes around.
If a nap in the pram or the car instead of a 1 hour fight to go down in the cot at home is what is needed to relieve that pressure, then go for it. Some sleep is better than no sleep, and you need to make necessary allowances during this unusual time.
Accessing reliable information and support will also help you to learn and be confident about when your child is likely to need sleep Vs how long they should be awake for at any given time etc and this will help you to facilitate a successful routine each day.
Dodge overtiredness – Be informed
Overtiredness is the root of all sleep evil…
This is where a child has been awake beyond the recommended time frame for their age, cue sleep protests, fussy behaviour, night wakes and early starts to the day.
This IS NOT what you need right now as it will only add to the levels of pressure which you are already experiencing.
To avoid overtiredness it’s really important to be informed about what your child needs and when – this ties perfectly in with the routine they need each day.
If you are identifying any of these features with your child’s sleep, now is the time to act to help your family to be as well rested and healthy as possible during this time!
For further info or advice, just shout!
Fairy Sleep Mother