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Putting Your Foot Down

Half term is approaching...

Does that mean that the rules are out of the window in your house? Do the kids visit grandparents more? Do you take time off as a family?

If you have spent the last few months trying to teach your child how to sleep well and are thinking about letting the rules slide a little during half term.. I would be mindful of sleep sabotage.

If you are visiting grandparents whom can sometimes bend your rules around your little one, I would watch out for what I call 'nudging'.

Some examples of 'nudging' include…

● Let her stay up a later! It is half term!

● We just got here! She can not be put to bed yet!

● We have not seen you all in ages! They can sleep in tomorrow morning!

● They can catch up on sleep at the weekend!

Now don't get me wrong, grandparents are doing this usually with the best intentions. You also can't fault people for wanting to spend time with your gorgeous babies, can you?

Putting intentions to one side, sticking to your rules when people ask you to push back your Little Darling's bedtime can be hard, but I guarantee, it is necessary.

One late night can be enough to leave your baby overtired, making it hard to get them to fall asleep, this causes a less restful sleep when they eventually do fall asleep, and often results in night and early wakes. This leaves your baby tired and grumpy the next day.

The first thing most people do when a baby starts to cry is hand them back over to their parents, thinking they know how to get them settled. Then the bad night’s sleep leads into a tough day of naps, leading to another rough night... This goes on repeat!

Be confident in your choice

Remind yourself why you don't want to push baby through tiredness and lead to them being overtired. Be confident in that you know what is best for them and nobody can push you into doing things that make you feel uncomfortable.

Explain the situation

If people understand the hard work which you have undertaken to get your baby sleeping well, they will be much more likely to accept it when you insist on strict bedtime and nap times. Therefore, let family and friends know in advance that you will not be changing routines during half term but you will work around them.

Highlight the rewards

This is the best way I have found of appeasing family and friends who do not know the value of sleep. When they are pushing you to let baby skip this nap, ask them, “Would you rather spend three hours with a screaming baby, or two hours with a happy baby?” It is hard to spend fun quality time with people when your baby is screaming because they are overtired.

Take deep breaths

I know it can seem silly, but deep breathing really is an effective way of calming your brain and body down in moments when, your MIL goes to “check” on your baby after they have been sleeping for 15 minutes and then emerges holding a tired baby in their arms, claiming that baby was already awake when they walked in.

Take a few deep breaths, seriously. Before you say anything, just smile, breathe deeply in through your nose and out through your mouth, and remember that they’re just head-over-heels in love with their grandchild and didn’t do it to overrule or defy you. Give it a minute and, once you’ve cooled off a bit, calmly explain why that can not happen again.

Be the Boss

Remember this is your child and you know what’s best for them. Never let other people overrule you, or influence your decision.

Nobody knows your baby like you do, so all of their opinions combined don’t hold a torch to your knowledge and proficiency in motherhood. You do not need to be a dragon, but you should always keep in mind that you are in charge because you are the expert when it comes to your child!

The good news is that usually when you are firm with the rules and explain to people that you won't be changing them, they do tend to get the idea and stop piling on the pressure so much!


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