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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Entries in child bedtime (2)

Thursday
Oct032013

October news, updates, and an e-book sale!

Spiced cider, pumpkins, and cozy, cooler nights—it must be October. I absolutely love this time of year. One reason: the longer, cooler nights and darker mornings are perfect for sleeping in and snuggling. As the 10 p.m. sunsets and blazing temperatures of summer fade away, kids often have an easier time falling asleep at bedtime, and may sleep a little later in the morning (if you're lucky). My kids are sleeping off their packed summer like it's the week after Mardi Gras—hallelujah!

For parents, fall is a great time to reestablish healthy sleep habits or address a new sleep issue that's cropped up. If your little one needs some gentle help falling back into a healthy sleep routine, you've come to the right place.

For the month of October, I'm taking 20 percent off PDF versions of my e-books Ready, Set, Sleep (for parents of children ages 0-3), and Sleep Tight, Every Night (for parents of children ages 2-6). Just enter code OCTSLEEP at checkout!

And, hey, I have news! I just received my first royalty payment converted from Euro. That's right, I'm an internationally selling author. Fancy.

MORE UPDATES: In case you missed these, here are links to my latest appearance on King 5 Parent 2 Parent (discussing celebrity influence and "The Miley Effect") and my September article on finding your best sleep position, in Women's Health magazine.

I’m an award-winning parenting and health journalist, sleep coach, and mom to three wonderful children. My articles about sleep, health, and parenting appear regularly in over 90 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
Jun012012

Ask Malia: Our 5-year-old Can't Fall Asleep

The never-ending bedtime.Our five-year-old’s bedtime routine usually goes smoothly, at first. He's cooperative, but when it's time for lights out, the trouble starts. He just won't fall asleep. Some nights it takes an hour, sometimes two. He calls us into his room to bring him water, tuck him in again, or give another hug. It’s beyond frustrating. Help!

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Almost every child has trouble falling asleep from time to time. But the nightly tuck-in shouldn’t leave you tuckered out. If your child regularly takes longer than 15-20 minutes to fall asleep at night, he’s trying to tell you something. It’s worth your time to figure out what’s going on.

Your first order of business is checking out your child’s bedtime routine. Is it truly routine, in every sense of the word? Your child’s brain is wired to associate a certain sequence of events with sleep. This is a scientifically-demonstrated phenomenon seen in both animals and humans. In the words of sleep specialist Dr. Susan Rausch, M.D., “A+B+C+D equals sleep.”

So, to make your bedtime routine effective, make it ironclad. Always do the same things, in the same order, spending roughly the same amount of time on each part of the routine, night after night. If you usually spend fifteen minutes reading stories, stick to that timeframe. Don’t swing between five minutes and forty-five minutes. If you usually brush your child’s teeth before stories but after snacktime, stick to that order.

But even the best routine won’t lull your child into dreamland if he’s not tired enough to fall asleep. Regular trouble falling asleep is a sign that bedtime may need to be adjusted. For children two and under, it’s usually a sign of overtiredness, and an indication that bedtime should be earlier. Many older toddlers and preschoolers, however, may need a later bedtime—or a shorter afternoon nap— in order to feel tired enough to zonk out at bedtime. 

My advice: after examining and adjusting your nightly routine, get serious about when your child goes to sleep. Because your child is five, and can get by just fine without an afternoon nap, I recommend eliminating any naps he still takes. (For a child younger than four, I’d recommend shortening the afternoon nap, instead of eliminating it.) Then, move bedtime 30 minutes later for at least three nights to see if bedtime improves. If your child still has trouble falling asleep, or begins displaying signs of overtiredness, go the other direction: move bedtime earlier for a few nights. Yes, sometimes it’s trial and error. But your reward is a speedier bedtime and more time for yourself at night—a worthy goal, I’d say.

I also recommend checking out my ebook Ready, Set, Sleep: 50 Ways to Help Your Child Sleep, So You Can Sleep Too. It’s chock-full of ways to prime your child for sleep that will improve bedtime. And that makes everyone happier!