So, I don’t have a new-born anymore, and I’m not pretending that what I’m going through at the moment in any way compares to those early fraught 3-6 months of extreme sleep deprivation, however I am struggling to get my mojo going this morning after two children at different ends of the night were up and wondering around. We suffer through sleeplessness at the beginning of having children and then we get slowly used to our standard 5-8 hours with no interruptions. Especially since my youngest is now 5 years old, I seriously did think that I was passed this foggy morning 3-mile stare when I look at myself in the mirror.
It wasn’t my 5 year old that was up first in the night however – it was my 10 year old – upset, and scared after having a nightmare. After explaining it all to his father on the other side of the bed, he turned on the bathroom light and went back to sleep, but being woken at 11.15pm is not great for me, and it took a while to let slumber take back over.
Then true to form – when one wakes up in the night, there is often two – my 5 year old made an entrance just before 4am, for nothing more than a quick cuddle, turning on the office light and back to bed. However, a 2nd interruption goes down even worse than the first and I’m now watching the minutes tick down until 5.15am when my alarm goes off.
There’s a couple of things to note here:
- children waking up in the night happens from time to time, or we go through a couple of weeks where it seems like it is every night – it happens! There is no advantage in getting grumpy about it.
- It often happens around the change of seasons that we get the kids waking up through the night – whether it’s the changes in temperatures, or because that’s when the hay-fever can get going I’m not sure but we’ve definitely found this to be true.
- Sending children straight back to bed, and a growly “Go back to Sleep” doesn’t always work, and cuddling with them in bed can turn into a long term habit that you might not have planned on.
- Having your children change their environment themselves so that it looks or feels different to them is your best bet for them quickly going back to sleep – in our house that means that they turn on an extra light near their bedroom.
In both instances for us last night – turning on the light near their room helped them go back to sleep without requiring my husband or I to get out of bed. Sometimes we also tell them to go to the toilet, or have a drink of water, as this is often the initial reason they woke up.
We have some small night-lights that stay on all night, but the key is to giving your kids the POWER to change their situation – and ultimately this will lead to a smoother, longer night-time sleep.
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