Little

shutterstock 699695935I can still remember the very first time I heard of “sleep training.” I was 7 months pregnant, having a girls' night out with some other mamas, and I remember thinking, “Really, you have to train a baby to sleep?” At the time, I brushed it off thinking the perfect human I was growing in my belly would never have sleep issues; I mean he was perfect, right? WRONG. Well, yes he is perfect, but sleep issues he did have. The idea of sleep training can be a bit overwhelming with so much information out there, but I will break it all down for you here, including when it’s the best time to start and what to expect at every age.

picture books bedtimeThere aren’t many events in a child’s life that are so packed full of emotions like the transition from summer to a new school year. Whether attending a new school or the same one, kids change over the summer. They grow up, little by little, and their friends from last year may act and look differently than they did in May. Reading about a character in a book that they relate to can help ease these feelings tremendously by instilling empathy, confidence, kindness, and bravery to do what is right in tough situations. 

Bedtime is a prime time for reading together. It provides the comfort needed to navigate through the tough emotions that come with life’s transitions. The following is a list of books to read together that will help make all of the new emotions that come along with starting school, growing up, and making new friends feel not so tough. 

transition toodler bedOne of the most common sleep questions parents ask me is, “How and when do we transition our baby to a big kid bed?” It always makes me laugh when the mother of a very young infant asks about it! I know what she’s thinking...now that he’s predictably sleeping well, the thought of fixing something that isn’t broken sounds like a very bad idea. To many of us, making a change this monumental feels disruptive to the sleep patterns we’ve worked so hard to instill in our child. As a mom, I can relate, and as a sleep expert, I’m here to help!

SleepI am a Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant and when I first tell people what I do for a living I am usually met with a blank stare quickly followed by, “Oh my gosh I didn’t know you existed! Please help me!” We are made to believe that as a parent we not only have to raise a well-grounded, compassionate, intelligent human being, but we are to do it on very little to no sleep. Well, I am here to tell you that is simply not true.

Teaching your child to sleep independently is one of the greatest gifts you can give to them. It is something they will use for the rest of their life which is imperative for a healthy lifestyle. Sleep is a complex issue, however, there are some basic steps you can follow to help get your child sleeping through the night.

Hospital HacksWhen a child is in the hospital, life is disrupted. Inside those hospital walls, procedures, sounds of medical equipment, and a revolving door of bedside visitors can impact sleep, play, and normal routines. 

I have been a Certified Child Life Specialist for 10 years and have worked in respected children’s hospitals in New York City and my hometown of Milwaukee. Certified Child Life Specialists use developmentally-appropriate play, medical education and preparation to help reduce fear, anxiety and pain for children and teens. We provide support to the whole family – empowering parents with language and tools to help their children cope and support siblings who may be having a difficult time with a disruption of their routine and separation from primary caregivers.