I’m a nationally published sleep expert, journalist, and the mom of three young kids. I’ve been helping tired families sleep since 2007 (more about me here). Subscribe to The Well Rested Family for fresh news and tips on keeping your bunch happy and healthy. Thanks for stopping by!

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Monday
Apr292013

What's your child's CQ?

While I wait for baby number three to arrive (now five days overdue, but who's counting?), I'm thrilled to share my feature article for ParentMap magazine's May issue on boosting your child's "cultural quotient," or CQ.

According to the authors, educators, and experts I interviewed, this critical trait can determine your child's 21st century success. What's your child's global IQ? Read the article here.

I’m a nationally published health journalist, sleep expert, and mom. My articles about sleep, health, and parenting appear regularly in over 80 national and regional magazines and on television. Can I help you? Subscribe to The Well Rested Family to have sleep news, tips, and tactics delivered to your inbox or feed reader by clicking here.

Need more sleep? My e-book Ready, Set, Sleep: 50 Ways to Help Your Child Sleep So You Can Sleep Too is chock-full of mom-tested solutions to help babies and toddlers start sleeping well, tonight!

My new e-book Sleep Tight, Every Night: Helping Toddlers & Preschoolers Sleep Well Without Tears, Tricks, or Tirades is available now!

Friday
Apr262013

Ask Malia: Helping a toddler sleep through the night

My 15 month old has never slept through the night for more than a night or two. He weaned a couple of months ago, but he still wakes two to three times each night. Sometimes he wants to play, other times he just seems restless, and it takes him a while to fall back to sleep. Any advice?

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You’re learning something many parents are surprised to realize: hunger isn’t the only reason babies and toddlers wake at night. Sometimes, a sleep routine that’s a little out-of-whack can make it difficult for tots to sleep through the night. Inconsistent wake-up times, naps that are overly long, or bedtimes that are too early or too late make it hard for little bodies to consolidate nighttime sleep into one long, relatively unbroken rest period. The best way to encourage him to do so is to uncover his ideal sleep total and normalize his daytime routine. Don’t worry, it’s easier than it sounds. Here’s how:

  • Start by charting his sleep for a few days to figure out how much sleep he requires. This isn’t difficult or time-consuming—my free downloadable sleep log makes it a snap. No need to write down numbers or take any notes.
  • After charting his sleep, take note of the amount of sleep he requires in a 24 hour period (don’t count his night wakings or awake periods in this sleep total). Arrange his bedtime, wake-up time, and naptime to provide this amount of sleep, and no more. Keep an open mind about his ideal bedtime. It may be much earlier, or much later, than you think.
  • Establish a consistent morning wake-up time to help encourage healthy sleep-wake patterns and program his body clock for an easy, peaceful bedtime.
  • Ensure that his naps (or nap, as he may only need one nap at his age) are long enough to be restorative, but not overly long. If he takes two naps per day, one hour per nap may be plenty. If he naps once at midday, aim for about 90 minutes of sleep.

Keep in mind that if he wakes and seems restless, but isn’t crying or calling for you, it’s fine to leave him and let him fall back to sleep on his own. In fact, he may not be fully awake—by attempting to soothe him when he isn’t upset, you might be winding him up instead of settling him down.

Thanks for the question!

I’m a nationally published sleep expert, health journalist, and mom. My articles about sleep, health, and parenting appear regularly in over 80 national and regional magazines and on television. Can I help you? Subscribe to The Well Rested Family to have sleep news, tips, and tactics delivered to your inbox or feed reader by clicking here.

Need more sleep? My e-book Ready, Set, Sleep: 50 Ways to Help Your Child Sleep So You Can Sleep Too is chock-full of mom-tested solutions to help babies and toddlers start sleeping well, tonight!

My new e-book Sleep Tight, Every Night: Helping Toddlers & Preschoolers Sleep Well Without Tears, Tricks, or Tirades is available now!

Monday
Apr222013

Superheroes for Washington Families

I was thrilled to have the opportunity to profile four of the Superheroes featured in ParentMap magazine's April 2013 cover story "Superheroes for Washington Families:" Elinor Graham, M.D., William "Bill" Womack, M.D., Janice Deguchi, and Marcus Tsutakawai. Each individual story is inspiring, and the annual Superhero issue is always a hit.

I’m a nationally published sleep expert, health journalist, and mom. My articles about sleep, health, and parenting appear regularly in over 80 national and regional magazines and on television. Can I help you? Subscribe to The Well Rested Family to have sleep news, tips, and tactics delivered to your inbox or feed reader by clicking here.

Need more sleep? My e-book Ready, Set, Sleep: 50 Ways to Help Your Child Sleep So You Can Sleep Too is chock-full of mom-tested solutions to help babies and toddlers start sleeping well, tonight!

My new e-book Sleep Tight, Every Night: Helping Toddlers & Preschoolers Sleep Well Without Tears, Tricks, or Tirades is available now!

Friday
Apr192013

Ask Malia: Should I darken the room for naps, too?

In your ebook Ready, Set, Sleep, you recommend that babies sleep in a very dark room. Do you recommend the same for naps? My pediatrician said to keep my baby in a bright room for naps so that she won’t confuse day and night, but it’s really difficult to get her down for naps.

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Yes, I recommend a dark room for both nighttime and naps. At naptime, simply draw the same shades you use at bedtime—the bedroom may not be blackout dark (during the daytime, more light is bound to sneak in) but pretty dark still better than daylight-bright. Darkness is an important sleep cue for both nighttime and naps, and can be particularly useful for very alert babies who have trouble settling down for naps, because it blocks out visual stimulation that can keep them awake. Some babies nap well in a bright room, and don’t need the extra soothing a dark room provides. But for others, a darker room is the key to nap success.

In a very dark room, your baby may fall asleep very quickly at naptime. The only problem—she may find the darkness so restful that she tries to snooze the day away (that’s where your pediatrician is correct). So you may find that instead of fighting to get her down for naps, you need to be mindful about waking her up from naps so she doesn’t sleep too long. For most babies, napping for an hour or two is long enough. Any longer, and you risk cutting into her nighttime sleep, which won’t be good for anyone.

I’m a nationally published sleep expert, health journalist, and mom. My articles about sleep, health, and parenting appear regularly in over 80 national and regional magazines and on television. Can I help you? Subscribe to The Well Rested Family to have sleep news, tips, and tactics delivered to your inbox or feed reader by clicking here.

Need more sleep? My e-book Ready, Set, Sleep: 50 Ways to Help Your Child Sleep So You Can Sleep Too is chock-full of mom-tested solutions to help babies and toddlers start sleeping well, tonight!

My new e-book Sleep Tight, Every Night: Helping Toddlers & Preschoolers Sleep Well Without Tears, Tricks, or Tirades is available now!

Monday
Apr152013

Helping a 9-month-old sleep through the night

My April "Counting Sheep" column in Metroparent magazine covers a question I'm asked all the time: How can parents help an older infant sleep through the night? If you're still waiting for your baby to sleep through, take heart. It will happen. In the meantime, here are a few words of advice. (Read the column here. See the entire issue here.)

I’m a nationally published sleep expert, health journalist, and mom. My articles about sleep, health, and parenting appear regularly in over 80 national and regional magazines and on television. Can I help you? Subscribe to The Well Rested Family to have sleep news, tips, and tactics delivered to your inbox or feed reader by clicking here.

Need more sleep? My e-book Ready, Set, Sleep: 50 Ways to Help Your Child Sleep So You Can Sleep Too is chock-full of mom-tested solutions to help babies and toddlers start sleeping well, tonight!

My new e-book Sleep Tight, Every Night: Helping Toddlers & Preschoolers Sleep Well Without Tears, Tricks, or Tirades is available now!