This week, I have been implementing the "sleep rules" after learning about them from Amy Clark on momadvice.com last week. Jonathan had always been a great sleeper...until he went into a "big boy" bed about a year ago. The constant drinks of water, potty breaks, and ONE more stories have been driving me crazy, and sometimes can last over an hour! It was time for my 4-year-old to go to bed, stay there, and GO TO SLEEP! Dr. Weissbluth was Amy's guest last week on her podcast and I learned a lot! I guess I really knew it all...but I need the easy steps to put it all together. Here are the four simple rules that I tell Jonathan at bed time:
1. Stay in bed
2. Close your eyes
3. Stay very quiet
4. Go to sleep
The good Dr. suggests making a poster of these rules with your child so that your child can see them and feel like a part in the rule making. Since Jonathan cannot read and I cannot draw...I opted to skip this step. The Dr. also suggests giving your child a reward immediately in the morning after following all of the sleep rules.
MOST importantly is the silent return! I have seen this on the Nanny, but I have been horrible at doing it. It only took ONE time for me not to talk to my son when he wandered out of bed the first night and gently put him back in bed. Of course, it helped that I explained to him beforehand that mommy was not going to talk to him if he got out of bed...which I think he was checking to see if I was going to follow through. This time, I did!
The week as been great, so far! Jonathan really likes the rules and likes the small rewards he has been getting surprised with when he wakes up. Since I am already at work when he gets up in the morning, the little notes from me congratulating him on a good job have been holding the most value to him. A hot wheel was also a big hit.
Let's hope he can keep it up when the rewards stop!