One thing people always ask my husband and I is how we were able to get our boys to sleep every night at the same time and how they are able to sleep peacefully through the night. While this didn’t magically happen for us overnight and took time, patience, and even tears, it is something I’m grateful for. The boys are well rested and we have time where we can get things done or just have some quiet time. It’s important to note that they didn’t TRULY start sleeping through the night until they were close to one. We didn’t try these strategies when they were little babies because duh, they were babies. This worked for us when they were older. Here is what we did. We…
- Put them down wide awake at the same time every night.
One key thing for us was giving the boys a consistent bedtime and sticking to it. Being first time parents and often times super clueless, their bedtime would fluctuate and they wouldn’t get into bed until ten, eleven or even later. We became desperate and read about the importance of a schedule and decided to put the boys to bed at 8 pm each night. Eventually, they pushed it up to 7:30 and now their bodies seem trained for that time of sleep. By the time 7 rolls around, they are tired and asking for bed. When we did put them in their beds, we put them in wide awake. We did this intentionally so that they wouldn’t get used to something we wouldn’t be able to do all of the time, like rocking, doing A,B,C,D. It worked.
2. Let them cry sometimes without going into their room right away.
When the boys whined or fussed, instead of going into the room right away to comfort them, we would wait for a little bit and see if they could calm themselves. They did. Once they realized that every time they made a sound, we weren’t going to come running into the room, they stopped crying as much and instead talked with each other, sang, or hung out. Eventually they would fall asleep. We tried a method out when they were babies that our doctor recommended. We would put them down, they would cry for three minutes. We would walk in a soothe them. After three minutes, we put them down for six minutes. If they cried, we went in and soothed them, without picking them up, and left again. We did that up until twelve minutes and tried it a few times during the week. It ended up being really effective for us.
3. Established a nightly routine and did the same things at the same time each night.
Our nightly routine is as follows – milk, pajamas, an episode of PJ Masks OR a time of reading while they sit on the couch with their blankets, and bedtime. When they go to bed we brush their teeth, pray as a family, hug and kiss them, and turn off the lights. They say, “Bye” and “See ya later!” as we leave. They do this without a tear.
4. Refused to cave when they wanted milk in the middle of the night.
When one of our little guys would ask for milk in the middle of the night, we said no. We didn’t want to get them in the habit of waking up for it and expecting it. They have some in the morning and before they go to bed. There have been times where they have tried to test us, but once they realized it wasn’t happening, they went back to sleep.
5. Stayed flexible.
If our boys were sick or weren’t feeling well or themselves, we tossed all of the rules out of the window. We have a heart! This means if they needed extra cuddling, milk, or any other thing to feel better, we made it happen with no regrets. This isn’t an end all be all, this is just what worked for us.
We went through many sleepless nights and thought we would never see sleep in our lifetime. Eventually though, this is what worked for us. This may not work for you but if one idea or two ideas from this list stick out and help, it’s worth it! Here’s to a peaceful night of sleep!
What works for you? Please share some helpful tips/strategies that are effective and work for your family!