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Thursday, January 12, 2012

my sleeping babes & LINK-UP

{If you have a blog, please consider linking up with us at the end of this post! Please link to a blog post URL in which you have talked about a child-training tip or Bible teaching idea for children!}

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6 

Training is about more than just morality and spirituality [though vitally important!]. but we live in a physical world and must also train our children to live right physically as well. this includes healthy sleep patterns. 

{I am in no way trying to tell anyone how to train their children. Every family and situation is unique, and God will guide you when you seek Him! This is simply what the Lord has allowed to work for us. and I pray it can be an inspiration for other young families. because a good nights sleep is the foundation for a productive day-for mommy & child!}


From the time my babies are physically able to sleep through the night [e.i. they have done it on their own more than 2-3 nights in a row] we begin the process of training them to go to bed at 'bed time' and not to get up until 'morning.' Some children will reach this age at a few months old. others will not be ready til nearer their first birthday.

All of my babies [4 thus far] have slept through the night consistently since they were at least 3 months. I realize this is not normal, but the training is a good place to start-no matter your baby's age. Sleep plays an important part in our body's health and establishing proper sleep patterns can begin very young.

OH, the JOY!
First, we established a "bedtime" time. And we have been as consistent as possible with this time until they are securely familiar with it. [you'll know when this familiarity happens because either their bodies {fall asleep} or their minds {go wild or get cranky} will start "checking out" at that time if they are up later.]

We then established a routine. This is a quiet and restful time and we considered how long we wanted it to last. We begin it that long before bedtime. This is when we have our Devotion Time. No matter what has gone on in the day, this does not change. It has had a bit of a remodel from time to time, but it is basically the same as when we began it nearly 5 years ago. and it always ends with "The Quiet Song" and prayer. then it is time to tuck them in and leave the room.

the baby feeding the baby
As infants, a baby cannot really be a part of the reading/singing/praying. and when it was just the one baby, I would sing to her and pray with her right in her bed before tucking her in and turning out the light. sweet dreams. goodnight! We began this family devotion time when the second blessing came along. and as new blessings have been added, they are held during this time unless unduly fussy. in which case they are put in their crib until devotions are over.

loving his BIGgest sister
Our devotion time begins around 8:00 unless we have been at church late or had a [rare] special function where we get home later than that. Our goal is that the children be tucked in and kissed by 8:20. The baby's bedtime lingers later... his last bottle is usually at 8:45. Then he is tucked in and left to fall asleep.

The key for us has been to let them fall asleep in their own bed as often as possible as early as possible. consistently. and putting them back to bed promptly if they get up [this is not a time for discussion. on any topic]. and there must be  clear, consistent consequences if they continually get up or are disruptive to "roommates."

LINK-UP!! {closed}

{Please link to a blog post URL in which you have talked about a child-training tip or Bible teaching idea for children!}

**family notes
Most of the time, a child will sleep through until morning without much training. And, while my babies have all learned to sleep through the night very early, that does not mean there was never any regression and re-training.

Our youngest daughter decided just after her 1st birthday that she needed to stay awake until 11 or so and wake up about 2 or 3 every morning. again. She was very active and had no signs of any illness or discomfort that would prompt this regression. So I said: No, ma'am! 

*interjection: If my children have begun showing signs of illness, all rules are waved. They may call for Mommy or come right to my bedside in the night. While rest is imperative, knowing that Mommy is there for them when they are sick is also vital!*
Since there were other children who shared the room with her, it was a little tricky. but the older two had a blast during the [almost] 2 [very loud] weeks it took for her to re-learn how to go to bed, quietly. and sleep [or remain quiet] through the night.

The older 2 [then 5 & 2 1/2] went camping! We found a little extra space in a room that was not used for sleeping [it is now the girls' bedroom!] and made them {as my Granny would call them} "nests": piles of blankets on the floor all covered with a sheet and their special blanket/doll/animal. 

It was an adventure for them. and doors were closed between all of us and a very upset little girl. The first few nights I or hubby would {usually} calmly reprimand her at intervals through her crying. laying her back down and recovering her. but  NEVER took her out of her crib. If she awoke during the night, I would stand outside her door to be sure she was not ill or hut before going back to bed [though I rarely slept if she were awake] and letting her get herself back to sleep.

By the second week, she was crying less than 30 minutes before going to sleep or simply being quiet,  and she was quiet if she did waken in the night. The older girls moved back into their own beds, and they have been [mostly] sweetly co-habitating ever since. 2 years and counting! [BUT, she did stop taking naps less than 2 months later. and that helped even more.]

Currently, the youngest girl [now 3] still has an occasional problem -mostly she likes to kick the wall by her bed til she falls asleep. but that is dealt with swiftly and lovingly and is not as frequent. The older 2 [now 7 1/2 & 4 1/2] do very well. even if they don't fall asleep right away. and if any of them get up for any reason other than using the restroom, they are send directly back to bed. no discussions. 

the baby-man [6 months] sleeps from about 9-7  {he has  independently progressed to this from 3 months when he slept from 10:30-5}. Our oldest girl gets up at 6:30 to ready for school. the other 2 wake about 7:30. 

linked up at: oursimplecountrylife/hearts-4-home

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