My 4-Year-Old’s Sleep Routine is a Give and Take
It started around the time Caitlyn was two years old. After moving her from cot to a bed, sleep became a challenge. She needed us to stay with her while she fell asleep. The reason this became an issue for me initially, is because I know myself and I know I need structure in our family life.
In this post, I will share a little bit about how we got our kids on routine and why I am okay with laying with my four year old at night.This post does not contain any advice or tips (I am not qualified), this is just our story. Click To Tweet
To set the scene, when it comes to baby sleep, I do not play.
I am a firm believer in the fact that having a baby on a routine, helps the whole family.
I am with my babies when they are awake, but when it’s time to sleep, it is time to sleep. With two kids, this time is even more precious.Having our children on a routine, helped our whole family. Here is our current situation with our 4 YO. Click To Tweet
Our Family’s Approach to Sleep and Routine
I know myself, and therefore I invested time and energy into building sleep routines for both my girls.
I read a lot of baby routine books. In fact, when I came home with our second baby, I struggled with the new family dynamic. It urged me to work with a sleep consultant which I spoke about over at The Rookie Parent Society. I highly recommend a sleep consultant.
Both my girls slept through pretty much since they were a few months old.
And no, they were not ‘sleepers’. I don’t think we were ‘lucky’ either, we just put a lot of effort into it.
Through gentle, consistent guidance they always slept.
We worked hard on their routines.
We tracked their routines daily in a book for the full first year, bought block out curtains, white noise CDs, special blankets, etc. On top of this we gave up outings, events and we left functions early.
All in the name of sleep.
We never ever did family dinners out, ever. And I was okay to pay this price to have sleeping children.
Caitlyn wakes up at 5am most days, so I guess it is debatable whether it is sleeping through. Ha! Small price to pay for an early bedtime in my book.
Now for the last 1 – 2 years, she says every night, ‘mommy, I want to sleep in your bed’. We tried some techniques to get her to stay in her own bed, which all worked. Up until a point.
Consistency is key in maintaining a routine
We maintained consistency with bath and bedtime (I will never mess with our early bedtime!). However, ‘how’ she fell asleep was inconsistent.
She would sleep in her own bed for weeks, but any bit of inconsistency on our part (or illness) took us back ten steps.
So these days, when she asks ‘Mommy, Please May I Sleep In Your Bed? I am saying yes. Here is why.
She always slept through the night
This may sound silly.
Because my four-year-old always slept well at night and for naps, I feel that now I really don’t mind to give her the extra time she needs.
Her whole existence since she was baby, she has never required me to sleep with her. So I feel when she asks me now to sleep with her, I a more than okay to do it.
I still maintain an early bedtime
Although Caitlyn needs us to lay with her, she does go to sleep by the required bed time. Well, provided we maintained her routine (which means no naps for her at this age). After she falls asleep, I get up and carry on with my night.
So it is not such a huge price to pay. We will maintain an early supper, bath time, stories and sleep.
She will go to sleep. Majority of the time it takes only 5 – 10 minutes for her to fall asleep by 19h00 (most of the time).
When we are in bed, it is pretty much one of the few occasions that we have one on one time during the week. I ask her every night, what made you smile today? And what made you sad? Sometimes she says she doesn’t know.
But most of the time she tells me about her special friends at school. Or she tells me about a game gone wrong at school (made her sad).
Making the moments, we have count
As I work full-time, I do not have much time with my girls. Coupled with the fact that I am the sort of person who needs a lot of alone time.
Even though I am at home on weekends, I do not spend every waking moment with the kids. I do stuff that does not involve them at all.
And so, it is essential for me to make the moments I have count.
If I have 10 minute of chatting before bedtime, I want to make the most of this time.
She may not need me so much in future
Right now, Caitlyn is still pretty much attached to me. I want to enjoy each moment for now. Although at times, I throw my husband dirty looks, because she only wants me. It does get too much at times.
“I can’t sleep without mommy,” she utters.
However, on balance, I am okay with it. She may not need me again in this way.
I sometimes have an early bedtime too
Yep, if I have had a hard day, and I am lying with Caitlyn, I will decide to call it a night too. An early bedtime can do wonders for your mood and energy.
Limiting our bedtime battles
So we have stopped implementing techniques to get Caitlyn to fall asleep back in her own bed. We stopped about a year ago.
I have decided based on the fact that she DOES fall asleep within her allocated bedtime and the other reasons stated above, I am cool with what she needs. And I hope that our bedtime becomes special memories.
Baby sleep Resources
Here are some of our baby sleep resources that we used, there is a lot more (which is another post), but a short version for now:
- My all time favourite baby book is Baby Sense
- The sleep consultants I used was for my youngest was from Good Night Baby
- I also read a lot of blogs, the main one being The Baby Sleep Site
My 4 Year Old's Sleep Routine is a give and take. Here is Why. Click To Tweet
That is our sleep story for now! No advice, or tips (I am not qualified)- just us.