Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The sleepy house

So our house has been affectionately nicknamed as ‘The Sleepy House’. I’m not entirely sure why, but there is something about our place that helps all the little ones sleep so well.

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Little Grace when she was three months old sleeping soundly

I used to think that I just happened to be blessed with kids who turned out to be really good sleepers and nappers. But now that I’ve started having more little ones around in my family day care --all who happen to sleep really well whenever they are at our house (at least two and sometimes even three hour-long naps). And their parents all insist that they never sleep this well at home.

Maybe it’s sleepy dust. Or something in our water. Whatever it is, it seems safe to say that it’s more than coincidence that sleep descends so well on everyone during naptime at our house.

So I thought I’d share a few personal tips from our Sleepy House…

#1. Burn off their energy
This is probably the most challenging part of the programme. I certainly don’t fancy a hoard of wild children descending upon my house and tearing everything apart. The key is about devising ways to channel their little energies constructively. It also takes some level of discipline to keep TV to a bare minimum, even if it often seems to be the more convenient option. At the end of it, you should be rewarded with a bunch of tired but happy little ones, eager for a good, solid nap.

#2. Fill up their tummies
I personally find it difficult to sleep soundly if my stomach is growling non-stop. So I think it would be the same for kids. This can be challenging for picky eaters, but as much as possible I try my best to make sure they have something in their tummies to see them through the afternoon until tea time.

#3. Have a regular wind down routine
This is something I never compromise on. Always without fail, after lunch and packing the toys away, we’ll read a story together before naptime. Young children are not able to tell time yet, so they rely on regular cues to guide them onto the next activity. Whether it is a familiar lullaby, a cup of warm milk or a cuddle, it always helps children to have a predictable cue for naptime.

#4. Work on quiet activities during nap time
As tempting as it can be sometimes to continue bustling around while the kids are sleeping, I also try to plan some downtime around the children’s naptime to keep the whole environment around the house quiet and chilled out. I bustle around a little bit to finish off some cleaning and packing up for the first 20-30 minutes or so, before settling down to do some quiet paperwork and admin while the kids sleep.

#5. Plan quiet activities for early wakers
I prepare some quiet activities like puzzles, books and colouring to occupy the early wakers. I believe in respecting rest time for everyone and not disturbing others just because you don’t feel like resting. I found that after enforcing this practice, the number of early wakings started to diminish. Possibly because the kids realised that waking up early doesn’t mean party time can resume immediately.

#6. Keep the room temperature cool (even in winter)
This would be my number one magic tip. Have you noticed how nice it feels to snuggle up under the covers in cold weather?  However I think many parents tend to turn up the heat in their little one’s rooms during winter to ensure they are warm and toasty. I believe this might actually be counterintuitive.  Studies have actually found that we sleep better in cooler temperatures. So just make sure your little one is sufficiently clad in warm and comfy pyjamas, and adjust the temperature in the room just enough to take the chill off (rather than simply heating the whole room up).

Conversely, in summer, many households might tend to turn up the air-conditioning to keep everyone cool. But keep in mind that there is an optimal temperature for sleep. If the temperature starts to drop below a certain point, it will likely cause us to wake up. So keep this in mind when setting your air-con temperature and try to allow some fresh air to circulate through the room as well.

 

Do you have any personal sleepy dust tips to share?

 

Linking up to Jess @IBOT

3 comments:

  1. You better be careful or you will have half of the blogging world wanting to drop their kids at your place!!! My kids were always good sleepers too, and kept their daytime naps right til they went to school. I found having a cool room/snuggly temperature were essential, we had one bedroom that was air conditioned and the kids would nap there when they were little - I wouldn't want to sleep either in a sauna which is what their bedrooms turned into in Summer.

    Visiting today from #teamIBOT xxx

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  2. I think you can't under value a good routine. I found the kids I used a flexible routine with, where much better sleepers than the others. They learn to know what's expected of them.

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  3. Great tips you have!! My little one never seems to like sleep even now she's two, no matter what. I might try out the temperature tip ;)

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