So we got ourself into a bit of a predicament! May 2019 we went on holiday, the single bed wasn’t in a safe room for Dot- so she slept with us. On our return home we stayed with co-sleeping for ease, but now we really need to regain our bed and bedtime sanity.
Fortunately I met Rebecca from Sleepytime Sleep recently- and she agreed to work with us to get Dorothea to sleep in the own room. (Rebecca kindly gifted this programme to us- so posts related to this on social media will be marked as an AD)
We were totally ‘stuck in a rut’ and didn’t know how to start the process of moving Dot back to her own room, we’re totally used to the routine (of almost nothing routine) of all going to bed together, and part of both of us loved the evening tickles and cuddles. BUT Dorothea is not a delicate 3 year old- she’s a chunky tall girl, and likes to sleep limbs akimbo!
Meaning mine and Daddy’s sleep has suffered massive negative effects; waking up with bad necks/backs from contorting ourselves around her, getting woken up by kicks, face strokes and often a finger up the nostril!
Rebecca’s process begins with a quick 15 minute call – to discuss current issues and end goals, she briefly spoke me though how her process works and gave lots of reassurance that our issue is resolvable with a little work. She then emailed me a comprehensive questionnaire to complete: this covered everything from Dots daytime routine, bedtime and naptimes, her personality and what sleep supports she has.
A few days after I’d completed the questionnaire Rebecca sent the sleep plan, and arranged a zoom call to talk through it. Although the personalised plan looked like a whopper of a document: it was easy to understand and follow. The plan talks you through what to do day by day, with a proposed bedtime and attached routine; the plan changes every three days, to eventually mean you can put your child to bed awake and they’ll settle to sleep independently (sounded like the dream)
Rebecca gave me loads of tips to help get Dorothea, and her room ready for a new way of bedtime. I gave her room a big clean and tidy, decluttering also, to make the room relaxing and less distracting. We bought Dot a ‘gro clock’ which is blue for bedtime, and turns yellow when its time to get up, a set up some dimmable lights and also made up a ‘sleepy spray’ with essential oils.
I explained to Dot throughout the day that she’d be sleeping in her own room tonight. We had a busy day, to ensure she was tired and avoided the dreaded nap. Dinner at 5.30, bath at 6.30, jigsaw with Nanna post bath and then up-to bed.
Surprisingly no crying at all- I followed Rebeccas advice to a tee, and Dot was asleep by 8.04.
The next day Rebecca checked in with us to see how we got on; like myself she was pleasantly surprised with how well it went.
Dot now knew the process, was happy to jump in bed and have her stories- she was asleep by 7.40pm! so different to her bouncing on our bed til 9pm. That night we did have 2 wake ups, but she quickly settled. And she woke up at 7.45- her clock goes yellow at 7.15.
Looking back at our sleep diary; it seems that Dot is now always asleep within 20 minutes of getting into bed. Having a night of no wake ups is now common place: and if she does wake up and call out to us, she usually settles herself, or we can settle her within a couple of minute’s.
Part way into the plan we made a last minute decision to take a trip away to the coast, because I was nervous about how this would affect Dots sleeping I asked Rebecca if we could have a chat. She advised me to stick to the plan as closely as possible, mimicking bedtime and routines such as stories and sleep spray. Our trip away landed on nights 13, 14 and 15 of the plan- I was worried as she had such busy days she ended up having short naps in the car (unusual for her), but I was pleasantly surprised when Dot reacted well to the same routine, only playing us up a little bit, and we managed to have full nights sleep with no early wake ups!
The week after our trip away I returned to work for the first time in 4 months (due to shielding from COVID). This meant leaving Dot with grandparents, when she had been used to having me at home so much; I was therefore again wary that this may affect her sleep routine as she had become a little clingy. That week she went to bed pretty well, but we noticed a little increase in nighttime wake ups.
We have now completed a full 3 weeks of using the Sleepytime sleep plan. Dot now loves her room and bed, and never complains at bedtime. She is pretty much always fast asleep by 8pm, meaning that me and Daddy can watch a movie or share a bottle of wine. We rarely have nighttime wake ups, but if we do they are quickly resolved. So in turn me and Daddy are also sleeping much better.
I’m so pleased we decided to bite the bullet and speak to sleepytime sleep, its honestly changed our life loads. Although for the first week its quite challenging to adjust to the changes, you quickly find your way and start to appreciate the extra hours in the day.
Dorothea has also shown great changes; with her improved sleep she wakes a much happier girl, less moody tantrums and actually says when she tired and wants to go to bed.
Rebecca at Sleepytime sleep offers free 15min calls: so if you are stuck in a rut too, then drop her a message.