This blog series we are talking all about over tiredness and today we are going to be looking at solving that problem. If your child is overtired, it is key to be able to spot where the over-tiredness is coming from before you can start looking at ways to fix it, otherwise, you might be fixing the wrong thing.
But once we’ve spotted it, we’ve got it so now we can fix it.
The key question is though…How do we get our little ones to sleep more?
First of all, we know where it’s coming from, I want you to consider a couple of things. Is it the timing or the routine around that sleep happening? Because that could be everything. For instance, if you’re trying to get your toddler to nap, take their daytime nap after 1:00 PM and they’re really, really struggling. If you actually manage to get them down for that nap somewhere between 12:30 and 1:00, you might find they go down really easily.
It could just be as simple as timing and that nothing else is wrong about it. It’s just that the timing isn’t good. It’s that maybe you’re trying too soon and they’re not tired enough or you’re trying too late and they’ve gone past it. They’re overtired, they’re into a second wind, which gives them a sense of adrenaline and then they can’t fall to sleep. I remember this happening with my daughter, if it was after 1:00 PM, no chance, it was like I’d blown it. The opportunity was between 12:30 and 1:00 and if I tried too soon, she wouldn’t be ready. If it was after 1:00, oh, oh, it’s going to be a battle. But if I got that sweet spot, ah blissful, I could put her down. She’d lie down, she’d have a wonderful nap and all would be great.
Are you trying at the wrong time? And also the routine leading into that sleep, are you just trying to take your child from heavy stimulation and lots going on into, fine, go to sleep now, that’s a tall order.
Are there steps that you’re missing or that you could try to set the scene, a bit like a bedtime routine. To set the scene and to help to bring them down a bit and destimulate them. Because from around eight to 10 months onwards, they’re very receptive to outside stimuli. So is there anything you can do to bring them away from the busyness of the day and into a calmer and chilled environment that’s conducive to good sleep. It could be that they’re going to their room, it’s darkened, shades are down.
If you have a particular tune that you play or a story that you read, make it a bit like the bedtime setup so that all the triggers to the brain are, it’s sleep time now, it’s sleep time now. And then is helping them to prepare the brain, will start to release the sleepy hormones if the signals are given to it. So timing and routine is one part of it.
If it’s not obviously down to routine or timing, then it could be that you’re battling to get your little one to settle because of lack of skill to settle or too much stimulation. So if your attempts to get your little one to settle are too involved and you’re, for want of a better word, fussing too much or trying too hard and doing all the things to try to calm and soothe your little one. And sometimes it involves putting on a song and all the things that parents do, we do anything to get our kids to sleep, wouldn’t we? It might be too stimulating. It might be too much. So consider your role in the process but also consider your little ones settling in the process.
Because if, and this is the classic mistake. If you are waiting, which means you’ve probably not got the right timing, for your little one to be so tired that they just conk out, well, sometimes that doesn’t happen because they’re overtired. The conk out tends to happen even after the overtiredness. So we’re tired, we can settle. We’re overtired, we’re going to fight it. We’re so tired, we’re past overtired, then we might crash and burn. And if they do, if they zone out because they are that exhausted, then they are unaware of falling to sleep and there’s a good chance that won’t be a great quality of sleep, anyway.
It may be, that could be a catch up but it’s not sustainable. You can’t rely upon that method every single day, without living in a constant state of overtiredness with your little one. The key to that is finding the ideal timing and, sure, they might not be so tired but that means they are lacking in the skill for falling to sleep. And that’s okay, you can help them with it. So you’re not expecting them to just figure it out and magically know how but you can help them with it. If you had over and check out my YouTube channel I have lots of free videos to guide you in how to help them to develop healthy and happy skills, to just blissfully settle to sleep, quite happily and peacefully without your help and your assistance.
Once you know which way you’re going to go about fixing it, you need to put that into a plan. Make sure you and anyone else who’s looking after your little one knows the plan so that you can be consistent with it. And I cannot emphasize enough how that consistency is absolutely vital. It’s the difference between success and failure in reaching the goal that you want to reach.
And if you want to reach that goal, it needs to be implemented completely consistently by whoever is helping your little one to settle better. Once they do, they’re going to get the sleep they need and all the other repercussions of overtiredness will start to fade away and it will be so much of a happier and healthier life for your whole family.
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