As a parent of 2 children who are now young adults, I know far too well the challenges and problems of the sleep thief. Both Ash and Sahana started sleeping through the night (8pm to 7am) just after 2 or 3 weeks after they were born. I remember as a proud parent, I used to sheepishly look forward to answering the infamous question, “How are you guys coping with the sleepless nights?”
When I mentioned they were sleeping through the night, I could see raised eyebrows and sense of a tinee weenie bit of jealous. But I was going to enjoy basking in that glow of parenting with discipline and consistency.
Anesh and I worked together with a plan to get develop bedtime routines. OMG, it was extremely hard sticking to it at first but putting in that effort meant:
- Routine for our little ones
- Continuing our habits and not becoming overwhelmed with a new baby disrupting it.
- We got our 8-9 hours of sleep a night
- Our bodies got the recharge that was needed for growing up toddlers.
- Anesh and I get to have our time together (we used to tell our kids “It’s your sleep time whilst mummy and daddy have time to be together)
- And we started to enjoy our lives as parents
Why do parents need to persevere?
Parents, the effort you put in to develop your child’s circadian rhythm is a game changer. Remember your child already knew about this biological, rhythmic, 24hour clock ticking away even while they were growing inside you. If you were disciplined as an adult to ensure that you have healthy sleep routines and get between 7-9 hours of sleep, then your child would have developed this right from the womb.
You set your child up for success in all aspects of life. We underestimate the power of developing routine according to nature. When dusk approached, even nature (the birds and animals, plants and shrubs) gets ready to welcome the night sky. The stars and moon meant that your body now need to be tucking into bed for deep sleep to heal and repair.
So why is your toddler ruling the roost at bedtime? What are your routines? How much of stimulants are around them? Why haven’t you put in discipline and consistency? When I ask my clients these questions, they nod their heads, in tears, thinking that they are bad parents.
Are they though?
No, because being parents do not come with a manual. It’s about being strong together so that you are not manipulated by a 1-month old baby. Yes, I use ‘manipulated’ because our children, as young as babies are the best manipulators. They do this with their cuteness, their smiles and love. They make you feel a new purpose of being needed and new parents develop an obsessive addiction to this.
You need to remember that you have a duty to perform to this baby. You have to create a life where their body works healthily and you help to install the blueprint within them of a safe, balanced mental and emotional mind-set, for their future. You have to start with sleep routines. If your child is now a toddler and you are giving your children over the counter sleep induction medication, Please STOP NOW!!!!
You have to take back control, no matter how tiring it is. I know you lack sleep and you don’t have the energy to have temper tantrums, conflict with your spouse, or even stubbornness from your toddler. You do not need to do this alone. I can help you.
Just rise above your hurdles so that you can set your child up for the rest of their lives. Lack of sleep means:
- The pineal gland, positioned just above the middle of your forehead, in the brain isn’t getting a chance to do its job. Sleeping in a darkroom activates melatonin, a hormone produced in this gland. Melatonin is a deep sleep activator so that your body can repair and recharge. Light supresses the production of it.
- Tiredness during the day
- Anger and temper tantrums
- Lack of appetite or overeating to compensate for lack of serotonin which is stimulated during the day by the Ralphe Nuclei, located in the brainstem. It is also released in the digestive gut.
- The child becomes less accommodative towards your requests and rules.
- Lack of focus and attention- the natural rhythm of learning is altered.
- Consistency and discipline goes out of the window and parents starts to feel like failures.
- At bedtime, there is a horrible innate hatred towards your child falling off to sleep. This creates an energy that’s not calm and peaceful or conducive to falling asleep.
- Many parents distract or quieten their children by using technology. This is the worst possible habit you can create for your child, whether it is during the day or just before going to bed.
- Partners are on edge with each other and they become snappy, annoyed, irritable and this energy is sensed by the child.
- Parents are not getting sufficient time with each to be intimate and to wind down. A sense of feeling unloved can start to surface.
- Giving in to your children’s qualms and requests, just so that you can be sane and function. This is the worst possible thing to do. You creating bad habits.
- Mums and dads lack sleep and they feel that chronic tiredness. They feel like life is constantly on a treadmill. Anger brews and the shouting and screaming begins to seep into your parenting.
- Children form bad habits and develop behaviour problems.
How can we fix this?
- Get back a routine in the evenings. After 7pm must be winding down and creating a calm at home. Early dinner and clean up with bath times put into place. By 8pm dim the lights, tuck your child in their bed with a light chat about the highs of their day, winding down in a tranquil, whispery voice and a bedtime story. Say a tranquil gratitude prayer and whisper in your child’s ear, ‘you are amazing , beautiful and loved and let a peaceful deep sleep fall upon you, with beautiful dreams.’
This is a great affirmation to instil in your child’s mind. Remember the rule of the mind is, ‘your mind does what you tell it to do.’
- Do not give your toddler Melatonin medication. You might think that it is helping your child but it is installing a new way of sleep inducements. The pineal gland would be confused about its function and then fail to stimulate Melatonin when needed. You will then develop poor sleeping habits from a child into adulthood, carrying with you a whole range of health problems because of insufficient sleep since your circadian rhythm is all out of sync.
- Vibrations are very soothing and also help to awaken the function of this prominent gland. Parents play classical music, which radiates a specific frequency whilst the baby is growing inside the womb of the mother. Vibrational frequencies have the power to heal the body from various illnesses.
- Meditation and visualisation are excellent ways to rejuvenate the pineal gland. And Yes toddlers can practice stand still, and quite times for a minute of two at different times of the day. Because if they can watch a screen for 10 to 15 mins at a time, you can train them into a habit of silent sitting and visualisation.
- Tapping the subtle energy point (meridian) between the brows and in the space of the third eye will also enhance the functioning of this gland in the brain. Or ask your child to follow you finger with their eyes, whilst keeping their head still. Move your finger upwards so that your child will be looking towards their own eyebrows. This movement brings in eye fatigue and the eye lids become heavy and drowsy allowing sleep to fall upon your child. It’s for adults who suffer with sleeping issues too.
- During the day, when the sun is shining, allow your child to play outside and enjoy the sun being absorbed vitamin D. Let them run around bare-footed so that the soles of their tiny feet have natural reflexology, stimulating the energy points under the feet.
- Cut down screen time to less than an hour a day for your toddlers. It will help them with brain development, eye straining and also they will become more active than just sitting and being hypnotised by a screen. In the evening omit screen time altogether for them. Let them have chill out time with you.
Remember the title of being called mum and dad comes with responsibilities. The time of 0-8 years are vital in a child’s life. During these years, children develop a way of life and a belief system that continues on their journey into the future. If they lack discipline, self-belief, confidence and consistency, then this will affect them as an adult.
Nurture them and be the role model that will enhance their lives without any limiting beliefs. You can be amazing parents. You cannot be a friend to your child because your role and title is PARENT. However, you can be a friendly loving parent who is in control.