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Otherwise known as Toddler Bribery!!
Well howdy all! Hope you are all well. It’s been a while; nearly two months in fact – but hey better late than never!
I’m going to kick off 2014 at Sprout’s House with one of the reasons that I have been away so long!! SLEEP!! Or lack of it….
The start of this story goes way back to when we moved house in October 2012. In our first house, Sprout had always slept in a cot and being on the small side she never managed to climb out of it. Once we moved into our present house, we decided that there was no point re-assembling the cot, but transferred her straight into the bed portion of the cot. She loved her new bed, and to be fair it didn’t occur to her for a couple of days that she could now get in and out of it at will. However in the lead up to our wedding, Sprout was regularly climbing into our bed in the middle of the night, but with the move and all the wedding planning we were exhausted so I made a mental note to tackle the bed-hopping once everything had settled down.
Then Christmas rolled around which we spent with my family in London. It was at this point that Sprout decided that it would be even more fun not to go to bed at all. Cue three or four nights of bedtime battles as we took her back to bed each evening as well as in the middle of the night. By this time my ‘mental note’ had become a vow so the moment we returned home we put a stair gate up in her bedroom doorway.
It took two or three nights before Sprout accepted that she wouldn’t be able to leave her room and then she began to sleep all the way through the night. Gradually, over the next few months, we began to leave the stair gate open at her bedtime and only closed it once we went bed. Then one day the inevitable happened - Sprout discovered how to open the gate!
It was also at this point that she started to drop her midday nap at Pre-school, and after a long day would arrive home at 6.30 well and truly zonked out. As her bedtime is usually between 7-7.30 we used to just pop her straight into bed. However, the earlier than normal bedtime coupled with being able to open the gate meant that the night time bed hopping began to increase again.
All this brings us up to late January this year, when Sprout was in our bed every night from about 2am onwards. There was only one thing for it – out and out
Despite my best efforts, Sprout is definitely a girly girl. She refuses to wear trousers of any kind, anything pink goes – the sparklier the better and most importantly she loves princess dresses which provided the perfect hook for a little bit of bribery.
I created a sleeping chart complete with pretty princesses and the opportunity to stick lots of glittery stars on it. Sprout and I had a little chat about sleeping in her bed for the entire night, and truth be told I have been really impressed with the extent of her understanding. She totally ‘got’ that if she slept in her own bed for 7 nights then she would be able to choose a princess dress. We decided we’d aim for 7 separate nights and not 7 nights in a row as the likelihood of her achieving this was extremely low. However, nearly 4 weeks on we have mostly conquered sleeping through the night bar a bout of illness and the howling wind last night. (You can see from the photo that I included February's dates, but Sprout ended up sticking her stars wherever she felt like it hence apparently she has already slept through the night on Monday 24th!! Plus it is obvious that she has inherited her mother's slight OCD need for things to match - the stickers are colour co-ordinated to match the princesses dresses!
At present, Sprout’s morning greeting is to tell us that she has slept all night even if she does tell us at 5.30am!! Now, that we know she can sleep all the way through the night we are working on her not visiting us until after 6am. To this end we are using this great clock by The Gro Company.
The clock shows the sun during the day time and then a star at night. You set the time for the sun to rise in the morning, and at the touch of a button the sun will wink at you and go to sleep until it's time to wake up the following morning. It is then super easy for your little one to tell whether it is still night time or time to get up. Yellow sun = time to get up. Blue star = stay in bed. There is also an option to set a time for a day time nap.
Fingers crossed we are making headway with the whole sleeping issue. Just in case you are in a similar position you are more than welcome to download a copy of my sleeping chart. I have included one for boys too – apologies for being so stereotypical with the images, but I guess the aim of the game is to make it as appealing as possible for the small peeps!
Are you sleep deprived? How are you encouraging your children to sleep all the way through the night? Leave your tips in the comments!