To bathe or not to bathe at bedtime, that is the question.

Do you give your little one a bath at bedtime? Or books? Songs and kisses?

There was a small study done that showed that the children who got a bath 30 minutes before bed had an easier time going to bed.

 

But why?

 

Was it the consistancy of the regular routine? Did it relax them and encourage the production of  the calming melatonin hormone?

 

What if the bath is very fun and exciting and ends up stimulating your child? What if they were all ready tired and ready to sleep, wouldn’t the bath just wake them up and give them a second wind? (Cortisol hormone rush-NOT what you want at bedtime.)

 

So let’s approach bedtime in a totally different way. (I say this a lot)  Think of the “Bedtime Routine” as having 2 pieces.

 

First, we have the wind-down activities. This is all the things you have to do to prepare for bed. Like supper, feedings, baths (only if you like it and it is calming for your child), fresh diaper, maybe massage while they are undressed for the diaper, PJ’s on etc.  For the wind-down, it helps to do them in the same order but how long you spend on each activity can vary. This will give you consistancy and a good flow to your activities. It will be familiar. If you like to do the bath every other night or less frequently, place it into the same slot in your order of things.

 

Second, you have your routine of signals to sleep. 3-5 things that you do in the same order for the same amount of time in the same way. You could do a story, a song, a prayer and a kiss.  When done consistently, these things will signal to your child that they are about to be put in bed.

 

So here’s the secret…

Between the wind-down and the signal routine, watch for sleep cues. If you see sleep cues while doing your wind-down, end it, skip the last steps if necessary, and do your signals routine.  Catching the sleep window helps everyone get to sleep more easily. If you can slide smoothly  through the routines and catch the sleep window, you will be in a better place to get sleep success.

 

For more sleep secrets, call me for a gentle sleep consultation.  I create gentle sleep plans that don’t involve “cry it out”.

 

Tracy Spackman

Certified Gentle Sleep Coach

www.GetQuietNights.com

 

Call for a free 15 minute sleep assessment.

Specializing in alert, bright eyed, observant, curious, spirited babies and children.

 

Daylight Savings and Sleep Shifting

Daylight savings changes are around the corner for many families and I’ve been helping families prepare for this change. Your 6:30 wake up is about to become a 5:30 wake up. Yikes!   Or maybe you have a 5:30 wake up and a 5:30-6pm bedtime and want to shift everything forward.  Totally Understandable!
The easiest way to handle the shift is to add a late afternoon nap that is a full sleep cycle that would push the bedtime later and then follow up the next day by pushing the naps and meals the same amount of time later. You may be able to jump a whole hour or you may be doing 15-30 min “baby” steps.

If you can’t get a late afternoon nap, start in the morning by pushing light exposure, breakfast and the first nap of the day 15-30 minutes later. Use a lot of distraction. It’s better to have an overtired morning nap that can get caught up over the day than an overtired bedtime that sabotages the whole night. Then keep that shifted schedule all day.
If your baby has good sleep habits and skills, then you may be able to just jump cold turkey to the new time and they will surprise you by adjusting faster than you do.
If this is not your only issue and you need sleep help, give me a call
-Tracy Spackman 602-524-7610 www.GetQuietNights.com
Follow me on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/QuietNights  to post questions and see how other families are doing with their sleep coaching.

Need Sleep? Tips for Early Rising

I talk to parents about this topic all the time and I know, it’s so hard when you are experiencing early rising.

Rise and Shine: Tips for Early Rising By Kim West, The Sleep Lady

Mornings for some of you, it seems, begin as early as 4 AM as others of you lounge around until 9 AM waiting for your baby to wake up. Both of these scenarios, however, can have their own repercussions. Waking up too early can mean a tired family and earlier naps, throwing off bedtime rituals later. Waking up too late does the opposite, pushing nap time to later in the day and sometimes prolonging bedtime. The solution is to find a schedule that works for you and your family and teach your child to stick to it!

Early risings sometimes have a very simple solution. If too much light is coming into the baby’s room, buy room-darkening blinds (also good for napping). If an external noise – garbage trucks, songbirds, or a dad with a long commute who has turned on the shower-is waking him, you might want to try a white noise machine. Unfortunately, it’s not always so simple.

If your child is awake at 6:00 or 6:30 a.m., cheerful, refreshed, and ready to start his day- even if you aren’t- you’ll probably have to live with it- that’s a common and biologically appropriate wake-up time for a baby or small child (as long as they went to bed at a reasonable hour). Remember to adapt the meal and nap schedule to suit his early hours.

If your healthy baby is under 9 months old and you think he is waking up very early because he is hungry, try waking him for a final feeding about 11:00 p.m. as an interim step, and also work on making sure he takes more food during the day.

When your early bird stirs, go to his room immediately. You want to try to get him back to sleep ASAP, not let him scream himself awake. Give him his lovey and try to soothe him back to sleep without picking him up. Follow the Sleep Lady Shuffle guidelines outlined in Good Night, Sleep Tight. Even if he doesn’t doze off again-and not all babies will at first-do not turn on the lights or get him out of his crib until 6:00 a.m. no matter how much he protests. Getting him up earlier, while it is still dark, sends a confusing message and is another example of intermittent reinforcement. He can’t understand why he can get up in the dark at 5:45 a.m. but not at 2:15 a.m. Also, many parents I’ve worked with have learned the hard way that if they let him get up at 5:45 a.m., the next thing they know it’s 5:30, 5:15, etc.

I usually recommend that the parent stay in the room for this early-morning routine. If, however, you feel your presence is encouraging him to be more awake, as often occurs with older children, you can try leaving his room after a bit of reassurance and see if he falls asleep again on his own. Check on him every ten to fifteen minutes. If you stay in the room, keep the interaction minimal. Try sitting in a chair with your eyes closed. When the clock finally strikes 6:00 a.m. and he’s not falling asleep-and it can seem like it takes a very long time to reach 6:00 a.m.-leave the room for a minute or two. He may cry, but try not to let it bother you, you will be right back in a minute. When you come back in, make a big deal out of “good morning” time. Do your dramatic wake-up. The morning routine is the flip side of the bedtime-routine coin. Your goal is to help him distinguish between day and night, to know when it really is time to get up. Your message must be clear: “I’m getting you out of the crib because it’s morning time-not because you were crying.”

If your child has already transitioned to one nap and still wakes before 6am, don’t let him nap before 12noon. If he naps from 11:00am-1pm he will then be overtired at bedtime which will lead to early rising again-the cycle continues.

If your early riser is over 2 or 2.5 years old and sleeps in a bed, then you will have to return your child to their bed and treat this like a night wakening. Continue with your Shuffle position until the clock strikes 6:00 a.m. Consider using an alarm clock radio to help signal to your child when it is wake up time. If you sometimes let you child get out of bed and start the day before the music comes on then he or she will not take the alarm clock seriously!

Important points about early rising:

  • Nap deprivation, going to bed too drowsy and too late a bedtime cause early rising!
  • Skipping naps and putting your child to bed later will cause early rising-I know it’s not logical- you and I would never do that – but it is true!
  • You can’t assume your child needs less sleep than the average until they are taking decent naps and sleeping through the night for several weeks.
  • Room darkening shades are critical!
  • Early rising takes several weeks of utter consistency to change so stick with it!
  • Rule out underlying medical conditions that can cause early rising.

Patience, consistency, and understanding of both your child and his needs are critical for this process to be successful. Be firm and be loving and good mornings will be right around the corner! I wish you both many happy mornings together!

You can find this article at

 https://fdv89870.infusionsoft.com/app/hostedEmail/1892944/dbf7141c3b9bf44a

For great sleep help call Tracy Spackman 602-524-7610  www.GetQuietNights.com

 

Rise and Shine! Daylight Savings Tips

I wanted to share this great article from Kim West the Sleep Lady

It’s October already! Fall weather, sweaters, pumpkins, crisp air and chilly nights. I love it. This month’s article about early rising should be helpful given the time change we made at the beginning of this month. With the sun rising earlier now room darkening shades are critical!

Mark your calendars: On Sunday November 4th at 2am most of us (outside of Arizona) will set the clocks back an hour (Fall back).

Daylight Saving Time affects us all – young or old. In the fall as darkness descends earlier, it is harder for our bodies and minds to adjust to the lack of extended sunlight. This can sometimes become a precarious time for children on the cusp of developing an established sleep pattern. Hopefully the tips below will help ease you into a cozy routine for fall!

This fall we will change the clocks back an hour at 2:00 am on Sunday, November 4th. The next morning let your child wake up at his natural time- which according to the clock will be an hour earlier (but not before 6am). Schedule your day according to the new clock time. If your child’s bedtime was 7:30 pm the clock will say 6:30 pm. Make sure your child is well napped so they can make it to at least 7:00 pm the new time. If your child is too tired the first day and you fear they will miss their sleep window then put them to bed at 6:30 pm and try to gently push their bedtime later the next day. She may wake up early for a few days but then she’ll adjust. Stay consistent and don’t her start her day before 6:00 am (new time).

Sweet dreams,

Kim West, The Sleep Lady

You can find this article at

 https://fdv89870.infusionsoft.com/app/hostedEmail/1892944/dbf7141c3b9bf44a

This is the experience of a 5 month old.

This is the experience of a 5 month old.
“When my daughter was about 5 months old she stopped sleeping. She had been an excellent sleeper  up until then and I was baffled. I had been diligent about trying to let her put herself to sleep and was determined to have at least one good sleeper as my son was not!. After about a month of nobody sleeping, I called Tracy in tears and begged for her help. I had found her through The Sleep Lady website when I was at my wits end and Kim West’s methods were my favorite and I had read EVERY sleep book when my son was an infant. Tracy is truly an angel. She talked me through my tears, talked to my husband, and we arranged for some sleep nudging to begin. Tracy talked to my husband and I for about 2 hours and we made a plan. She was very specific with her directions and explained everything thoroughly. I followed her instructions and we began the following night. Within 3 nights my daughter was falling asleep within 5-10 minutes and was sleeping 12 hours straight. Tracy and I talked each morning. I believe she truly has a gift as she listened to what I did during the night and knew just what to do/how to adjust things and support me so that my daughter would sleep. It really helped me get through some of the tears knowing that I had a professional to talk to in the morning who would tell me what I did right and what to change. Now when we fall out of our routine, I know what to do to get my daughter back to sleeping all night. It is the most wonderful thing in the world to wake up to the sounds of a happy well-rested child. My son never got enough sleep and therefore never woke up happy and I wish we would have contacted Tracy back when he was 6 months old; the difference is worth every penny!!
Tracy also helped us with my son. He was a much tougher case because he was older and we (my husband and I) made the decision to transition him out of his crib into a bed and move his sister into his room all at once. Poor guy. Tracy was again so flexible and great at tailoring a sleep plan for our family’s needs and situation. While he is definitely not perfect, he is finally able to really put himself to sleep and sleep all night in his bed most nights. Any flaws in his sleeping are because we didn’t follow Tracy’s advice 100%, but the bottom line is how he is sleeping now works for us and we are all getting sleep. I seriously wish we would have invested the money with Tracy when my son was younger. I would have been a much happier momma and he would have been a much happier little guy and I know he would be a much better sleeper now.
Thank you Tracy for everything. I constantly sing your praises to all my friends and you gave my family back some much needed sleep!
xoxo
Runa”

Getting back on Track for Fall

Getting Back on Track for the Fall

With the sun staying out later, less structured routines and holiday fun,  sleep and routines often get off track in the summertime. Now that Fall and school are around the corner it may be time to get back on track. Here are a few tips:

Re-establish daytime and bedtime routines and family rules. This may be met with some resistance but it’s an important part of getting back into the swing of things.

Ease into the earlier bedtime. If you have some flexibility, start putting your child to bed 15 minutes earlier every night or two. Make sure the bedroom is nice and dark to block out the light at bedtime and in the morning.

Getting back to sleep. If your child’s sleep has gotten off track or the sleeping arrangements have changed due to travel or visitors, it may be necessary to implement a sleep coaching plan. If you used one previously you can try the same method again if your child’s age or circumstances haven’t changed too drastically. If you child is over 18 months old you might want to try Kim West’s  Sleep Shuffle Method Highlighted in her book ‘Good Night Sleep Tight’

If you are not sure what approach to take note our workshops and tradeshows listed below or consider a full or 15 minute consult with Certified Sleep Consultants, Andrea Strang, Tracy Spackman or Heather Irvine.

Need Sleep? 6 Things Keeping your Child awake
1. Hunger – learned, need or habit, night feeds can still be maintained while your child learns sleep skills.
2. Bedtime too late – aim for a bedtime between 6pm and 8pm. Watch your child’s cues and put him/her down before she is overtired.
3. Nap deprived –  insufficient day sleep can cause sleep disturbances.
4. Going down at bedtime too drowsy or asleep –whatever comforts or tools we have when we fall asleep, we will need them all night long. So if a parent gets the child too sleepy or completely asleep at bedtime, the child will need them to provide the same service in the middle of the night.
5. Inconsistency – it’s important to offer a consistent response at bedtime and through the night otherwise we can confuse the child and encourage crying.
6. Medical condition A small percentage of sleep problems are caused by medical or other conditions. The most common medical issues affecting sleep are allergies, asthma, eczema, apnea and reflux.

Upcoming Events

Interested in having  Tracy,  Andrea or Heather Speak at your group? We are available in the following locations:

Pheonix, Arizona,     Los Angeles, California,    Boston, Mass.(Nov),    Southern, Ontario,   Ottawa Ontario,     London, Ontario.

Upcoming Trainings:  
Night Specialist Training and Certification Program
Begins September 6, 2012
The Night Specialist training prepares you to work in-home with families assisting in carrying out sleep plans created by Child Sleep Consultant.
For more information: http://childsleepinstitute.com/night-specialist-training/

Working with the Sleep Lady

I had the opportunity to work with Kim West the Sleep Lady this past month.  I was answering questions on her Facebook page and helping tired families from her parenting club on weekly Q&A calls.  It directed many families to my own Facebook page.  I love answering questions and having a forum for my clients to share their successful experiences with other tired families.  Check it out. http://www.facebook.com/QuietNights  One family who is in the middle of the sleep coaching process has been posting pictures of her experience.  It’s funny. Let me know if you need help!

Tracy

 

I am a Sleep Coach

I am a Sleep Coach.

About Me.

My Name is Tracy Spackman.  I am passionate about all things family and I love this sleep topic.  It’s fun to have this in common with my sister-in-law Andrea Strang from Ontario, Canada.  She is my inspiration. I witnessed the magic of sleep coaching with my good friend and it’s been great to offer her extra support in the program.  I have a background in management with design on the side.  I have been family focused for the past 14 years and have wanted to write a book about what I’ve learned along the way.  I think I’ll start with a blog. I have a terrific husband and 5 fabulous children ranging in ages from 4-13.  I’m a Canadian living in Phoenix, Arizona and I love the sun.  I am a trained and certified Gentle Sleep Coach.  I was trained by Kim West the Sleep Lady.  I have had every success in sleep coaching.

Why I became a sleep coach.

I had a friend who was miserably sleep deprived because her young 1 year old child was miserably sleep deprived. Neither of them was getting enough sleep. Through sleep coaching, her world changed. She learned what pieces to the sleep puzzle her 1 year old had been missing and once put in place, both their worlds changed. Once the baby was sleeping, so was my friend. They both became happy and adjusted. I was amazed at the power of a good night’s sleep. This was the perfect career for me. I am passionate about all things family and sleep is a big part of the family puzzle.