Getting My Toddler To Sleep. {OK to Wake! Clock Review}

sleep6My almost- 3 year old has never been a great sleeper. As an infant she had colic, cluster fed all night long, and refused to nap unless held. To this day I am really not sure how she survived on so little sleep, or how we did for that matter. From around 1- 2 years old she had mild bouts of waking in the middle of the night, but for the most part she slept through the night. When 2 years hit a switch flipped. She FOUGHT FIGHTS going to bed, she wakes all the time, we started using a sound machine/projector just to distract her from not wanting to sleep long enough to pass out, and worst of all she started waking at FIVE AM or earlier. Every single day. We tried every tactic in the book, but absolutely nothing worked. Finally 6 months later we have her sleeping till at least 5:30-5:45am and staying in her room if she wakes before her clock is green. I will come back to that in a bit.51cbf905d67908ae96a60368d3914de5

WHAT DID We DO?….not all at one time

  • Extremely strict bedtime routine. –  Warm bath, lavender oil lotion, 2 books, turn on twinkle twinkle(After her 18 mo sleep regressions we got rid of the projector feature of her sound machine and just let the music play), snuggle up with baby doll, kisses, and good night.
  • New bedtime- only books.
  • Warm milk and a small snack if she wanted before bedtime routine.
  • Quiet time and winding down 30 min prior to bathtime.
  • Returning to her room only once for bedtime fussing and requests. (Hugs, cup, different stuffed animal etc. )
  • Cutting any type of sugar out, especially in the afternoon. – No juice, fruit, cereals etc
  • Allowing her to have a few fun books and quiet toys to play with when she wakes, instead of waking the entire house at the crack of dawn. – At this point we just gave in to the fact that some kids just aren’t sleepers. Our pediatrician said she was getting ENOUGH sleep, just not our desired amount.sleepchart
  • Pushing bed time a little, thinking maybe she would sleep in a little later. – We made bedtime at 8:30pm consistently for a little over a week and 4:30- 5 am was her wake up time. Every day. So, that obviously didn’t work.
  • Fresh air every day,  and focusing on a good amount of physical activity after dinner time. – Just to make sure she got all of her wiggles out and she was good and tired.  
  • Lavender Essential oils. – I will link here for some information about how this works for ALOT of children for sleep problems!images4vh1sx1d
  • Parenting to sleep/stay asleep. – I wasn’t fond of this, but some Dr’s do recommend it, other do not. I personally am a very gentle parent and I believe that bedtime as any other situation with a child  should be a teaching and learning experience rather than discipline. I didn’t want any type of punishments related to nighttime, mostly out of fear that it would make it worse, but laying down the law a little bit did help some. Things like this helped a little :”We don’t scream and yell, and if that’s what you choose to do then you will go down and sit in time out until you can use your words”, “If you go wake your brother instead of coming to mommy then you’re going straight to time out”, “If we don’t get our sleep at bedtime/naptime then we don’t get to go ….” I don’t think it helped the amount of sleep that either of us were getting, but the attitude definitely shifted.
  • Last but NOT LEAST. We tried the OK! To Wake alarm clock and I am beyond happy with the daily results.mnv-002_2z

If you are struggling with all of the above solutions not working, then hopefully this will help you and your little ones like it has helped us!

I found it while googling in the middle of the night. It was definitely a last resort, but WELL WORTH THE MONEY. I have seen it retailed at $22-$29. The link above is for Amazon with the cheapest  price that I have found at $22. IMG_3478-001.jpg

It is a  clock with a night light that  glows green when it’s OK for your child to get out of bed.  It has a constant night light if you choose to use it, but turns off with a  button.

For toddlers who can’t tell time it is there is a cute little robotic face option instead of the time. When your toddler is older and needs a clock it is a regular alarm clock with a snooze, and a nap timer.

The main feature of this clock is obviously the light up at wake time feature. The back of the clock has a great little concealed program pad in the back. untitled2 It was extremely easy to set up, and the directions were very clear and descriptive. You set a time like you would for an alarm, but instead of a noise going off the back light lights up green.  The light is pretty dim, so if your child is still sleeping then it wont wake them.   It is easy for parents to program; grows with families by helping them get more sleep, and then teaching children growing  independence with the alarm clock!

When BK#1 wakes up at the crack of dawn she knows to wait in her room till her clock  turns green, and sometimes she even falls back asleep while waiting. It took her a week or so to really understand what was going on and after a few weeks we have slowly changed the time that it turns green to a desired time for us!  {We started with a time close to when she had been waking and pushed it up by 5 minutes every few days.}  She gets the feeling of accomplishment that comes with completing a job well done. And, Ok to Wake! is something that can be completed successfully every day!x2_50f52d3b3d2bd00c5799353ee4429a5e

It comes with a USB cord and has battery backup, and a second interchangeable face plate.

The only thing that I don’t  like is that the wall adapter is not included. You can use any  USB wall adapter you already own for phones, tablets, etc. though. It wasn’t a huge deal, but just something I wish I would have  paid more attention to. I recommend having it plugged in because if not then it is free standing and your toddler might just build a book tower to

I 100% give this awesome clock a 5 out of 5 stars and it is most definitely something that every family needs!

I would love for my daughter to be a sleeper, but I don’t think that is going to happen anytime soon. Ok to Wake!  has definitely given me some more sleep!  I hope everything we tried can help you too!

~Amanda

**Burrito Buzz received this product at low or no cost for the purpose of review or testing. No compensation for a positive review was provided. All product reviews are based 100% off of our personal experiences with a product and we never guarantee a positive review.**

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A predictable little one is a happy little one!

I hear so many parents talk about their babies and children, and how they just “Go with the flow, they don’t have a schedule”. My response? Are you CRAZY! I would not be able to function, and neither would my children. If your children are happy and function well like that, more power to you, but I believe that babies and children need structure and a schedule to function well.

Through years of education, child care, teaching, researching children, and now having my own I have a pretty good idea of why structure works, and how to implement one. I have parents and friends ask me all the time “How do you do it?” and my answer every single time is “support, prayer, coffee, and STRUCTURE!”

Okay, so let’s dig a little deeper and make a routine!

Why are routines so important? (I will just say ‘them’ because this applies to babies, toddlers, AND children!)

A routine lets them know what to expect.

A routine gives them a sense that their life is predictable.

A routine is calming, and provides a sense of security

Gives them the ability for self- initiation.

Gives you, the parent, less to worry about and more to focus on.untitled (5)

As an example BK#1’s morning routine looks like this : wake, get dressed, go downstairs and get breakfast, playtime, snack, reading time (where we end up reading every single book that is on the first floor), lunch, relax time – cup of milk and a show or story, and naptime by 12:30.

BK#2 has a very similar schedule, although he is 17 months younger! : Wake, nurse, playtime, nap and repeat. Eat, play, sleep= very important for a baby, but I won’t get into that in this post.

Every. Single. Day. If we have things to do, or errands to run, then it is worked in after breakfast and before lunch so she gets to bed for nap on time.

On a more physical level, it lets them to participate in the day to day activities. – meaning a routine can help encourage independence in your child. When they know what is coming next, they are more willing to do it. But, also more willing to do it on their own.

Our schedule is very flexible, but it is the routine that is important. If BK#1 asks for an apple after she has had lunch, and we aren’t quite getting ready for nap yet (it’s not a distraction to get out of nap), then yes she gets another snack. If she is acting tired and fussy earlier than normal then she might go down for a nap an hour or so early. The schedule keeps me sane, but their routine keeps them happy!

So relax and go with the flow! {The flow that you have created!- see how that works}

When you are making your routine for your children/babies remember that it takes time, effort and consistency.

Consistency will make it easier for you to transition from one activity to the next, hopefully without a meltdown. If I get BK#1 down for her nap at her scheduled time, she goes willingly and goes right along with our nap routine. If her nap gets pushed back and then she is over tired, there’s a meltdown coming and she cries for a bit. It’s not pleasant, I have to carry her up to her bed crying and screaming that she doesn’t want to go for her nap, when she obviously needs it.

Remember to praise their effort, not results. – i.e.: your two year old trying to get their pants on but they may be backwards and inside out. They tried, and that is what is important.

With babies look at the bright side of things. They might not have napped as long as you wanted them to the first few days of getting them on a routine, but they did it in the time frame you wanted. It’s a start!

Keep your focus on what is going well in your routine, not what is making you crazy. Be sure to give lots of praise and positive attention to LOs when they make an effort, to boost their self-esteem and they will want to try even harder next time. (If you are creating a routine for your baby make sure your DH is doing this for YOU, so you don’t get discouraged)webmd_rm_photo_of_mom_kissing_baby

Lastly, make sure you don’t have too high of expectations for your LO!

Pay attention to their development and what you are trying to require of them. If you are trying to get a nursing 4month old to sleep through the night it just might not be possible. Most breastfed babies need to wake at least once during the night to feed. And that is OKAY! If you are trying to get your 1 year old to only take one nap a day they might not be ready for that, because they are still a baby and require a TON of sleep!

You cannot set a schedule and expect them to follow it all the way from day one. If you’ve decided on an earlier bedtime, you will need to gradually move up their bedtime to let them get familiarized to the new schedule. Does it mean they will be more accommodating and easy going? Maybe not, but if it will help then why not try it to see if it works for you.

If you haven’t set a routine from day one from the hospital, this might be hard to start. Don’t get discouraged! I promise that it will make your child happier and make your life so much easier!

~Amanda

The Sound of My Sanity

…being flushed riiiight down the drain.

Legos. You know what I’m talking about…those little expensive sharp cornered bastards that you can never find when you’re trying to clean up…only when you’re barefoot in the middle of the night trying to check on your LO. Yea, those. They suck and I hate them. What I hate more that Legos themselves is the bucket I store them in…and worse than that is the noise it makes when the whole…entire…damn…bucket is being dumped out. The whole thing.

And you know just as well as I do that once you tell a two year old to help “clean up”, and he sings that cute little song, that he still won’t clean up and will subsequently destroy everything you’re trying to clean.

So what do I (try) to do…

  1. Cycle out the toys. C has a toy shelf thing with bins on it. Some bins get put up depending on how much I feel like picking up that day..errr I mean so he’s not overstimulated… diversified stimulation is a good thing…or something like that. Each bin is organized… One has Legos, one has cars, one has trains, one has foam letters, one has musical instruments, puzzles, random junk that doesn’t belong anywhere else, etc. I typically leave out something fun, something busy, something intellectual and always his trains. He also has 24/7 access to his bookshelf.
  2. Start a Routine. C knows that before nap time and before bed time we clean up… And then I typically clean up little by little throughout the day. He also knows where his toys are kept and what goes where, so that definitely helps. He cleans up well, just not to my standards.
  3. Task it out. “You clean up your shapes, while I clean up your cars”…and he will. Then I get the “I help you” phrase and quickly have to find the next spot for him to clean before he all of the sudden wants to play with his cars again. Keeps him busy so he doesn’t destroy too much, and helps at the same time.
  4. Set up designated areas. I’m not a “helicopter mom”…frequently C plays in his room, unsupervised, by himself (gasp!) and he’s perfectly fine. He will bring his shapes (or letters), his guitar, and his (unloaded) nerf gun to the living room when I’m sitting out there, and he is absolutely allowed to but he knows that nothing gets left on the floor and his toys either stay on the love seat or the ottoman. He also knows that the living room and the main hallway are “play zones” and knows the whole house is not his for his toys. Don’t get me wrong, he is allowed anywhere in the house (except upstairs by himself) but the toys, not so much… designated areas.

Now if you’re one of those moms that’s perfectly okay with your entire house looking like Toys’R’Us threw up in it, more power to ya. I’m too much of a neat freak for that and I know I’m not the only one out there. The most important thing is make your kiddo responsible for his/her mess… After all, you’re the mom not the maid…

-Kirstyn

Our Sleep Schedule

Sleep-Training

The first 2-3 months of being a parent are brutal. There is such a HUGE adjustment period, and acclimating on little to no sleep is nearly impossible (not to mention those post-partum hormones.)

Like many, I brought my LO home thinking he’d sleep soundly in his beautiful nursery in his giant, expensive crib. HA. Oh man. I gave up within an hour. My LO was quickly laying in the Rock n’ Play next to my bed. Soon after, we upgraded to a full-blown pack n’ play with a sleeper/changer built in. My LO stayed in our room solidly for the first 6 weeks. In all honesty, it was easier. I could quickly feed and change my LO, watch him breath and fall asleep, and go back to bed (in-between Googling a billion things at 2AM.) When the 6 week mark approached, I knew I needed more sleep since I was going back to work at the 8 week mark. So, I set up a plan. I’m not a proponent of the CIO method, so I needed another way to get my LO to sleep more than 2 hours at night (especially with reflux.)

Once we got our reflux issues worked out (more about that in our “reflux” category,) my daily scheduled looked something like this:

6AM: Wake Up. Whether he was up or not.

9AM: Nap

Around noon: Nap

Sometime in the afternoon: Small nap

Bedtime: Firmly 8:00PM. I would take him up to his nursery, lights off, no talking, no playtime. He would eat, and, as much as I wanted to hold him forever, I’d lay him down in his crib.

During the day I kept him active. Lights on, window shades open. TV or background noise, and lots of play and interaction.

After putting him down at bedtime, if he would stir/cry I would give it a minute before running in instantly to console. I never let him cry hard, or more than a whimper.

I also put him to bed without his binky. Though, I sometimes had to go back in and give it to him to console him.

After about a week and a half of the routine, he was set. We have had the same schedule for months now, and it’s worked out SO so well for us. I was firm with our routine, and I think it helped us to really feel confident and get through the day. Disclaimer: you will get grief about this from someone. Do what works for you.

And, of course, this won’t work for all babies. Every baby is absolutely different. To any parent trying to get a scheduled day? Keep on it. Eventually you’ll have some progress, no matter how small.

-Katie