LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — If you have a young kid who you struggle getting to bed, this story is for you.
On this weeks Mondays for Moms segment, 6 News’ Chivon Kloepfer spoke with a pediatric sleep consultant who works with kids up to 7-year-old.
Alicia Birdsong, owner of Hush Little Birdie, has been helping parents catch more “Z’s” for about five years now.
Birdsong said it’s all about teaching children how to fall asleep independently. That sets the stage for them to learn how to connect sleep cycles, which results in better sleep throughout the night and better naps.
There are different methods for sleep training, Birdsong said. The key is creating a set of expectations to where the child is put down awake and they learn the skill of getting themselves to sleep.
That is much better than the alternative of relying on rocking, bottles, or mom and dad laying next to them, depending on their age, Birdsong said.
After an initial consultation, parents decide what method they’re comfortable with.
“For example, do they want to be in the room a while time at first, are they okay with being out of the room and coming back in,” Birdsong said. “Then I coach them through that process. So what we’re really working on, I would say, is the independent sleep method and the sleep schedule because those two really go hand in hand. One without the other just doesn’t set up a recipe for success.”
Aside from those two things, Birdsong said her number one tip for helping children sleep better is to darken their room, with black-out curtains.
After that, she said don’t wait to put them to bed. 90 percent of the time, she recommends an earlier bed time and says you don’t want to wait until they’re completely exhausted and “over tired,” because that doesn’t help in the long run.
Finally, be consistent at bed time. Keep the same nighttime routine.
Birdsong said there will be tears and it can be tough for parents, but stay strong!
“When we can take that step back and still acknowledge that it’s difficult to do those first few days, but then makes space for that fact that, okay, my child is okay, that they’re just telling me that they’re upset, and its okay for them to be upset while we work through this process,” Birdsong said.
Make sure to tune into the Monday’s for Moms segment every Monday on 6 News at 5:30