A bad sleeper
So, adorable as Little Monkey (LM) is, her one big downside, and man alive it’s a big downside (!) is her sleeping. … She is by and large, fabulous during the day. She’s bright, funny, not too much of a tantrummer or whiner (touch wood). But when it comes to sleep she is a shocker! Dawn with a baby/ toddler for me was less a picture of pink fluffy clouds and more a coffee slurping grouch slumped in front of ceebeebies whilst she nagged me to play. AAArrgghh, 4, 5 and 6am – all times LM experimented with are all too early!
Two sides to this, one she took forever to start sleeping through the night, see how I tried to cope with that here. And two, she’s a really early riser. The two combined are why I’ve aged well over a decade in her 3 year life span.
So, over the course of the 3 and a half years since she’s been born we have gradually managed to get her to sleep in until a reasonable time, ie 6.45am rather than the 4am which she kept us to for months on end.
Change the schedule
Firstly I moved her whole schedule back so that she would go to bed later. Initially I believed all the guff I read about how early risers are overtired and therefore should go to bed earlier. Really who on earth figured that one out? I could see a happy healthy baby who showed no signs whatsoever of being overtired.
So I looked at our schedule and realised it was her tummy clock waking her up. In an effort to stay alive and slightly sane I had taken to eating breakfast with her at 5am. So I wrote down every mealtime and every nap and bedtime for a few days. Then started to deliberately move each of these back by 5 minutes a day. I kept her waiting for brekkie, held her off falling asleep for 5 minutes etc. Each day I crept our schedule back a bit. Genius, but I only got her as far as starting the day at 5am. At this rate I could apply for a job as a postie once my maternity leave ran out.
Spring Clock Change
Second, and sadly this only works once a year, I took advantage of the spring clock change. Every evening we would put the TV on and watch ‘In the Night Garden’, listen to the story and sing the goodnight song before bed. So I recorded the programmes, then pretended the clocks never changed and started watching them with her at ‘the same time’ each evening.
By this point then we were starting the day at around 6am. Okayish but not great.
We tried a Gro Clock but it didn’t work for us as the glow from the clock all night was disturbing both of us. (At this point we were still co-sleeping half the night).
Thirdly we tried an Onaroo toddler clock. This clock lights up green at the time the parent sets it to. We set it to her then wake up time and made a star chart for her to colour in each time she stayed in bed until the clock lit up. Unbeknownst to LM I moved the clock back a couple of minutes each day. At last she understood that she was to stay in bed until her alien clock turned green, and the clock didn’t turn green until nearly 7am! Yay, happy dance, but then summer arrived and she started assuming the clock must be broken because if the sun was shining through her window it must be the morning…
Then my friend told me about the blackout blinds she had made for her kids’ bedroom windows and I copied her idea.
So, fourth and finally, I made these blinds. Instead of a roller blind that the sun can shine round the top and sides of, I attached Velcro to the actual PVC of the window frame. Then I cut 2 rectangles of blackout fabric, stitched a piece of pretty pink fabric to the other sides and attached the other half of the Velcro to it. Hey presto, two blinds that between them fit the whole of the window aperture and one can be removed so that we can open the bedroom window during the day.
Now it’s autumn she thinks her room is so dark it’s scary. And that’s a whole new story for another day…