How to Grin and Bear Your Child’s Sleepless Nights

How to Grin and Bear your Child's sleepless nights

Its 6:30 PM. 

 I’m finishing up dinner. My husband is playing with the kids in the living room who are particularly whiny tonight and not willing to share their special time with Daddy. As the screeches mount, I’m struggling to focus on what needs to be put in the oven and when in order to get it all out at the right time. I take a deep breath and glance at the clock. In one hour my kids will march upstairs, change into their pajamas, and snuggle into big brothers bed for two stories. Then, without a fuss, we’ll kiss goodnight and the youngest will be toted into his crib in the room next door. All lights are turned off and my husband and I will walk down the stairs to do whatever we please…

Some nights it’s TV, other nights its cleaning or catching up on some work. Tonight we’ll enjoy the dinner that’s in the oven and pour a glass of wine… or two. Bottom line is, until 7:30 in the morning, I won’t hear so much as a peep coming from their rooms because they are fast asleep, resting up for the next day’s adventures.

 Just knowing this I look across the room and smile, because I can embrace the screeching squeals and watch as my husband does his best to fit both boys onto his back and crawl around on the floor acting like a lion. I finish up what will be our dinner after the boys go to bed and join in the fun on the floor, becoming a bear. Not the bear I would be if I knew I was heading into a long sleepless night. mother-bear

So what are you doing at 6:30? Are you bracing your exhausted self for the long evening ahead of you with the baby’s witching hour? or the toddler’s repeated trips to your bed? Are you telling yourself to grin and bear it, but struggling to find the strength and instead turning into a bear? I can get you back to playing your evenings away so the bear you become is the one your child wants to ride on; not the one who growls back in frustration and exhaustion.

 My name is Karolyn Kritikos. I’m the founder of Sleep and Sensibility LLC and quickly becoming Cincinnati’s go to child sleep consultant. I guide families through safe and effective plans customized to their lifestyle. Your child can be peacefully sleeping through the night is as little as two weeks with my gentle guidance. Visit my webpage www.sleepandsensibility.com to learn more or contact me directly by phone or email where we can discuss your sleep troubles and talk about sensible, real solutions to get everyone sleeping through the night.

Sweetest Dreams,

Karolyn Kritikos

(513) 400-4069

karolyn@sleepandsensibility.com

 

Crying-it-out : It’s OK or It’s not OK? That is the Question

Hello Everyone! As a Child Sleep consultant I felt compelled to talk a little about this debate making headlines frequently these days.

 There was quite an uproar yesterday on social media over a few reports stating that allowing babies to cry-it-out or cry themselves to sleep is OK, according to a new study put out by Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia.

  Unfortunately, many of these articles are creating headlines to create a buzz, but do not appropriately explain the methods actually used in this study.  ‘Cry-it-out’ implies that a baby is left alone and ignored to cry itself to sleep. This was not one of the two methods used during the study. The methods used were what are commonly known as bedtime fading and graduated extinction. Both methods actively involve parents during the process. Bedtime fading involves gradually adjusting children to an appropriate bedtime while using a bedtime routine said to signal sleep in the child.  The parents can be present during the process. Graduated extinction involves making sure the child’s needs are met before bedtime, then leaving the child for set periods of time that are gradually increased as they learn to self-sooth. In both cases the child is repeatedly reassured that the parent is close during the process. Both of these methods have been regarded as safe and effective by the Academic Association of Pediatrics for some time.

What makes this study different is the measure of cortisol levels in the child during and after the process. Parents have long worried and debated that using such a method could produce highs levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, resulting in long term damage to the child’s development. This study shows no rise in cortisol levels and actually showed a small decrease in cortisol, suggesting that stress levels were actually lowered slightly. It also measured the children’s emotional and behavioral responses a year following the study. These results also showed no significant differences between those that were sleep trained and those in the control.

What I hope that parents can take away from this, is that its ok to teach our children to sleep and that small amounts of protest on the children’s part in the form of crying are ok when handled appropriately.  Choosing to sleep train is a viable, safe option for exhausted parents.

As a Pediatric Sleep Consultant I use forms of these methods depending on the nature of the parent-child relationship and the temperament of the child. Choosing the appropriate method and then following through is key to the parent’s success. These methods known today as “sleep training” can be scary to tackle alone or even with the guidance of a book. When you work with a Sleep Consultant like myself, you will be guided each step of the way to ensure you are using the appropriate methods, minimizing discomfort for both parent and child and facilitating your success.

If you are interested in learning more about the development of healthy sleep habits in your baby or child, contact me at karolyn@sleepandsensibility.com or call me at 513-400-4069.

Visit my website www.sleepandsensibility.com. You can sign up to get my free tips to get you started.

Sweetest of Dreams!

Karolyn Kritikos