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Thursday, October 20, 2016

Help with Bedtime!!

Disclosure: Penguin Random House Books gave me a copy of this book free of charge for this review. All opinions in my review are my own and I did not receive any other compensation.  As in all my reviews I am providing links for your ease, but receive no compensation.

How is your child's bedtime routine and sleep? Does he or she get enough? Do you know how much is enough? These are questions I have been struggling with for a few months. No matter how much Hazel seemed to sleep she always complained about being tired. So finally I took her to the doctor who referred us to Boston's Children's Hospital Sleep Center. Hazel has many fears and her biggest one is of being alone, so often she was waking up in the night and calling one of us in or one of us was sleeping with her every night. Needless to say none of us were getting a good night's sleep. 


At the Sleep Center it was decided to make Hazel tired so we could train her to sleep by herself and sleep through the night. Instead of getting the 10+ hours school-aged children require she was put on a schedule to get 9 hours. I was given a chart to keep track of her sleep. I recorded when the lights were turned out and when she fell asleep to when she woke up and when she got up and whether she woke up on her own or I had to wake her up. Well with not enough sleep Hazel got sick twice during this experiment. She was also given a sticker chart (well I made a sticker chart on the doctor's suggestion). She got two stickers for doing her normal bedtime routine; three stickers if she went to sleep by herself (or in the short time when Steve was in there with her) and five stickers if she slept through the night without calling us in. If she called us in and did not need someone to stay she could get three stickers. There were small prizes along the way and a large prize at the end. She did well with this motivation.
Around this time I received The Little Elephant Who Wants to Fall Sleep by Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin and illustrated by Sydney Hanson. Talk about perfect timing!! A book to help kids fall asleep and stay asleep!!
http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/538449/the-little-elephant-who-wants-to-fall-asleep-by-carl-johan-forssen-ehrlin/

We read it the first night. It was very calming and I found it very relaxing to read about the little elephant, Ellen, walking through the magical forest to her bed with sleepy animal friends along the way. Throughout the book there are places to fill in the child's age and name to personalize the story to the child. There are places where the reader is told to yawn and really reading the story relaxed me. There are also messages about falling asleep quickly and deeply. Hazel however thought the story was nice but meant for younger children. She informed me it would not make her fall asleep. I have not read it to her again, but am thinking I will try and see if since she knows what happens she gets more relaxed. Plus the bonus is it relaxes me!! Overall we like this book and I do think it will work on slightly younger children. (Hazel is almost eight.) 

We did go to the Sleep Center for our follow-up appointment. The doctor was happy to hear about Hazel's success. She is sleeping through the night. We have adjusted our schedule to get her more sleep (so she won't keep getting sick) and I have added something to our bedtime routine. At dinner I make a pot of lavender chamomile tea and pour Hazel a cup. After dinner it is usually cool enough for her to drink. I also find it relaxing and it helps me get to sleep faster as well!!

And just so you know according to the CDC: newborns should get 16-18 hours of sleep, preschool aged should get 11-12 hours, school aged should get at least 10 hours, teens should get 9-10, and adults should get 7-8 hours.(Source) Does your family get enough? What practices work in your house?