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Friday, February 7, 2014

The Battle I Chose: Sleep

When I was pregnant a friend of mine with two young girls gave me the best advice. She said, "I choose my battles carefully and do not fight with my girls often, but I chose sleep." A battle? Yes, getting children in a regular sleep routine did turn out to be a battle that I also chose but it sure did pay off.

Sleep schedules and patterns are personal for every home and different sleep strategies will work for different people but I do know from experience, getting your child on a consistent sleep schedule also means that you sleep too.  Moms with chronic illness have to balance activity and resting and I truly believe that being consistent and creating a structured sleep schedule is healthy for both mom and baby.  

For the first two years of Will's life I was like a general with his schedule. We scheduled everything around it. He went to bed between 7:00 and 7:30 PMand slept until between 7:00 and 8:00 AM. Also, nap time was from noon to 2:00 PM each day. This may sound little ridged but after being consistent for about a month, he just knew the routine. Sometimes he even put himself to bed. His nap time was my nap time, and then I was able to play and be more active with him in the afternoon. It is tempting to do extra laundry, but my husband was always very good at reminding me that nap time was for me to be healthy also. That lesson was more difficult for me to learn than sleep training was for William but I am getting there.
 
Now, at age 3, Will sleeps from 7:00 or, at the latest, 8:00 PM until 7:30 or 8:30 AM. He rarely naps but does have a quiet time and plays in his room or reads books. All in all, our household is not sleep deprived and I believe we are healthier for it. So, battle chosen well and battle won.