Raising Healthy Humans Podcast : Helping Your Little One Sleep With Missy

On the Raising Healthy Humans Podcast, I discuss the importance of healthy sleep for children and for parents. As a Canadian Certified Baby and Toddler Sleep Consultant, I delve into my expertise  on support for Mom and why it is so important to take care of ourselves as Mothers.

The conversation focuses around sleep consulting for busy moms and the importance of establishing healthy sleep habits from the beginning.  We  discussed the benefits of gentle sleep training methods and the challenges of managing sleep schedules for multiple children. We talk about and I emphasize the significance of early bedtimes, consistent sleep schedules, and adequate sleep for optimal child development. I also address common misconceptions about sleep training and provide tips for addressing sleep skills and anxiety in a multi-child household.

Some topics that we touch on are:

  • Importance of sleep for our children
  • What is the recommended amount of time children (based on age) should be sleeping?
  • What if we have a child who likes to take shorter naps throughout the day?  Are we trying to get them on a more regulated sleep pattern?
  • Managing sleep schedules.
  • Recommendations for children who struggle to fall asleep?

Welcome to raising healthy humans, a podcast created for busy moms where you can easily find information on health and wellness for your family. Enjoy experts who share tips on how to raise children through each phase of life. Gather current information on nutrition and wellness and listen to Courtney, a health coach, movement specialist and founder of formfit, an active and supportive community where she helps busy moms move more on raising healthy humans podcast, Courtney shares her personal life experiences, training, knowledge and conversations with other health and wellness experts. So you can raise healthy humans. As a parent, I’m sure you can understand the struggles with getting your child to sleep. It’s so funny how we as parents love getting that extra time to sleep. But trying to get our children to go down can be so difficult. So I was excited to be able to interview Missy, a pediatric sleep consultant whose goal it is to help your child start sleeping soundly, so that you can feel like yourself again, let’s listen in my journey as far as becoming a sleep consultant or sleep coach was I have two little children. I have a three year old and a five year old and my firstborn. For the first she was colic. And then for the nine months after that, following that she was co sleeping everything because we didn’t know any other way we were just surviving. And a friend of mine said you need to reach out to a sleep consultant. I said I don’t know. I don’t even know what that is. I didn’t know that that existed. And so what we did, we did our research and our investigation. And sure enough, we hired one best decision I ever made. And I don’t just say that because that’s what I do. I say it because it literally changed our lives. It changed my daughter’s life, all of a sudden, she was getting the adequate sleep she needed. Our marriage was saved, we got our bed back, things like that. It was just amazing. And I said to my husband, I need to find out how she does that. Because my prior career, I was a I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts in musical theater. I’m a pastor, dancer, singer doing shows, but I left that world other than dance teaching, when I had my kids and when I moved to Canada. And so I said to him that I’d love to pursue something else and have something for me. And this is really something I’m passionate about. Because this woman just she changed her life, she must change all these lives all the time. And so after I had my son, I decided to really pursue that. And so I got certified under the sleep sense program. And it’s been amazing building the business, getting to meet parents along the way. And again, changing their lives for the better and getting their children sleeping so that they’re getting the sleep that they need. So just it’s been incredible. But that’s how my journey started was much like most of the moms that reach out to me is that they’re struggling with sleep and they’re sleep deprived as well. Okay, with sleep sense, is that is there a specific protocol that you all follow? Yes, yes. So we Dana Olbermann is the CEO and head of sleep sense that she created? Oh, goodness, I think it’s been about 15, almost 20 years now that she created her the sleep sense program. And so basically, the strategies that we follow, are very gentle. No, we’re each our own business owner. So I own my own business. And I can do what I want to do with that. But as a certified member, we’re we’re supposed to follow certain guidelines. And we, we we don’t believe in things like doing cry it out things like that are not necessary. There are such gentler strategies that we can use with our children to support them to learn those independency skills. Okay, so you had mentioned you don’t do like a cry out method, right, which is a big stigma for for what I do most, a lot of people just assume that that’s what sleep consultants do. So that I like to get that in there pretty quickly, because people are tend to, I think will listen more if they know that my approaches are much more supportive and such. Okay, do you recommend I mean, you mentioned co sleeping? Yeah, that’s something you usually recommend or the goal is to get the child out of the bed into their own bed? That’s correct. Yes. The goal is to teach the child to independent sleep skills so that they can sleep you know, by themselves. So we don’t of course, because of safe seat sleep guidelines, we never promote co sleeping but from personal experience. I did it I had two other mothers happy so I have no bias at all against it. But my recommendation is always to let’s get maybe two You know the crib because they’ll learn those skills much better if they’re if they’re not co sleeping. So, but it’s always moms come to me and they’re co sleeping. If they’re not ready yet to change that, then we wait. And I say, Come to me when your family’s ready for that change. So, but never any any bias there because again, I did it. And I’m curious when you mentioned children having the independence of sleeping on their own, is there a benefit for them? To be able to learn how to go to sleep on their own? Oh, I’m sure there’s many benefits. Yes. Can you tell us some of them? Yes, absolutely. So the benefits, of course are being able to connect, one of the biggest ones is being able to connect those sleep skip sleep cycles throughout the night. So a great example, let’s just say we’re talking about an infant who’s let’s just say 10 months old. And let’s say that they’re used to having, whether it was co sleeping or mom and dad are coming in a lot on having to rock them to sleep or, or just rubbing their back consistently or holding their hand something that’s an external prop. If they wake up in the middle of the night, they’re going to most likely cry out because they’re used to work there looking around where to where did mom go? Why is she not holding my hand anymore. And because they don’t know how to then say, Oh, I’m still in my crib, I can just roll over and go back to sleep. They cry out needing mom or dad to come back. And so what the goal is, is that just like we as adults, so when we wake up in the middle, because we all wake up in the middle of the night, there’s no such thing as when we say we’ll get babies sleeping through the night, it’s bridging their sleep cycles. Through the night of that makes sense. So everyone wakes up as adults, we shift our pit on our pillows we rolled over but we learned those independent sleep skills. So we sometimes don’t even notice that we woke it up, we just roll over, we go back to sleep. But the baby let’s say again, that 10 month old wakes up doesn’t know the surroundings are now different. They panic, where is everybody? I don’t know how to go back to sleep without that. And then they don’t know what to do wares. Once we teach them those skills through supportive methods. Then when they wake up, they just find their rollover get comfortable, and they go back to bed just like we do as an adult. So it’s a lifelong skill that you’re teaching them. Because especially once they get into that toddler age, preschool age school age, we want them to be able to go back to sleep and learn have those skills so that they’re getting that adequate sleep that they need. And with adequate sleep is there and we hear lots of numbers thrown around for different ages. Do you have recommendations? And why do we need to make sure that we’re following these recommendations for sleep times? Absolutely. So it changes vary varies based on age, of course. So our newborn babies, if you have a brand new baby coming home, of course, they are going to sleep a ton. And you want to enjoy all of that enjoy the snuggles enjoy the cuddle all of that. But we want to make sure that our newborns are getting between 15 and 18 hours in a 24 hour period. So and that’s it typically that happens. Most newborns, as you probably know, they, they sleep a lot, which is what we want, we want them to be sitting right so babies, we’re looking for 12 to 15 hours in a 24 hour period. So 10 to 12 hours at night. Plus those naps during the day add into that for our toddlers will get 12 to 14 hours in a 24 hour period 10 to 12 at night still. And of course in your toddler age, you start out with that one nap is still there. But as they get to that to some two and a half, some three, some three and a half, sometimes even a four year old is still especially if they’re in daycare or anything like that is getting a little bit of a nap time during the day still. So we factor that in as well. But 10 to 12 is the goal at night for that age group. Once we get to school age, preschool age still 10 to 12. At night, it becomes kind of the staple is 10 to 12 hours, until they get up into that teenage years. Then we move to a nine to 12. So they can there’s a little bit of a relaxed part where they could be getting nine hours in that school like the older school age version. But still getting enough but are our kids in from Keita, you know K to six and sixth grade seventh grade eighth grade, we still want to see them getting 10 hours of sleep, at least at night would be helpful. If they’re getting a little less than that, you know, look at their watch their moods, watch their behavior, what’s there? Are they getting tired by the end of the day, you can see a lot of that in your kid and that those little things you can watch out for may say oh wait, maybe they’re not maybe they need that earlier bedtime at night. Because that’s where it comes in is most most kids especially because of activities, things like that. They’re going to bed later later than it’s daylight out longer. Now things like that. It’s tough to keep your kids on a schedule, but early bedtimes are so Little beneficial for everyone. You know that that’s so important. So I always recommend anywhere between seven to eight o’clock is great up to that. It’s a middle, middle age like if we’re looking at fourth graders, fifth graders, you can get them in bed by eight, perfect. Once you get into your teenage years, yes, you’re going to start seeing closer to that nine o’clock night there’s especially because of activities. But the earlier the better for everybody because they’re always going to wake up at the same time in the morning that never changes. Kids are clockwork, their body clocks just they typically are going to wake up, especially like babies, toddlers, if there are seven o’clock Waker. Even if they go to bed at nine, they’re gonna wake at seven. If they go to bed at six, they’re probably gonna wake at seven still. So it’s always going to be very similar because they work the body clock is constantly, you know, on a repetition schedule. Okay, so that morning time is usually the time that they wake up, because I’m thinking those moms who are like my child always wakes up at 530 in the morning. Yeah, yeah, there’s no way to extend that. There are ways there are ways. There’s definitely ways depending on the age group, there are so many different tips and tricks that I can give so depends on the age group. But a lot of times if they’re going to bed, let’s say it 839 930 That can actually be a cause. But that’s super duper early wake up. Because it takes when a when someone’s overtired, it’s actually harder to fall asleep at night. And it’s harder for them to get into those deep sleep cycles they need to get into, and that can all have an effect a ripple effect on everything. So early bedtimes benefit in so many ways, and that’s why it’s so tough, but I see even for my own kids, oh, like here comes gymnastics that’s going to start at six o’clock. And I’m like, well gotta make a choice here. Do we want the child sleeping better. So I try not to overbook. My kids like maybe there’s one or two nights a week that things are going to be a little bit later. But I try really hard to keep them on that that schedule of that earlier bedtime because it makes a big difference. In and speaking into that with scheduling, making sure that your children go to bed at the same time each night. How important is that? So important routine is key. So having that routine kids thrive on and this goes from babies to teenagers. And we all do we thrive on routine. But that predictability makes them feel safe knowing and feeling their bodies learn their body clock again, that circadian rhythm, that 24 hour cycle learns when it’s time for bed. So doing things like a bedtime routine is so key to getting everybody to wind down at the end of the day. And making sure that yes, that that bedtime, give yourself a half an hour kind of cushion there. But really trying to aim for that 80% of the time is what I recommend. So an 80 to 20% 80% of the time routine, stick to the schedule 20% of the time, especially the summer coming up, get out there, go do your camping or traveling. If you have activities, that’s okay. But 80% of the time, we really want to try to stick to a set schedule because like you said, they wake up at the same time every morning no matter what you do. So if they go to bed later, they’re not going to get the amount of hours that they actually need to get in that nighttime sleep. Okay, okay. Um, what if we like a child? Or what if we have a child that likes taking shorter naps throughout the day? Do you have recommendations for that, and this is more probably more of your toddlers, those the little ones who they like to take sometimes two is usually normal Correct? To when naps a day for when we get past 18 months, then we’re typically going to want to see one nap per day. So once they’re usually they make babies usually make that transition between 14 and 18 months. It just depends on the child you need to usually if we moms of your mom’s listening, that are have babies that are in that like 1312 month age range, watch for the signs. Typically they’ll stop some will stop sleeping altogether in their second nap, they’ll just lay there and you know, twiddle their fingers and not go to sleep. Or they’ll actually start to really protest that second nap. You might see extra tears all of a sudden be like, Why is this you know, why is this happening? Sometimes, sometimes they’ll fight the first nap, it’s more common that they’ll fight the second nap and that they’ll start to really sleep longer in that first nap. And if you see those signs for two weeks or more, then you know that it’s not a developmental milestone or something else teething, something like that going on that it’s time to transition to one nap. And typically again between 14 and 18 months is when that typically happens. By 18 months, you’re going to want to switch them because we want our toddlers to take a good solid afternoon nap, we want to see up to two even three hours sometimes kids need, depending on the child, usually two hours is about the average that I see. But we want to see that usually it’ll fall somewhere between anywhere from 1130 to one is when they typically start that nap just depends on when the child wakes up in the morning, that kind of thing. And finding a wakeup time that works for the family is so important at that age too. So if your family has to get going, if there’s daycare, work, all of that set a morning, wake up, if it’s 7am, do that every single morning, because then your NAP will fall at the same time every day as well. And that helps to for the bedtime to then fall at the same time. So routine makes us easy, makes a big, big difference. So definitely wanting to get them down to that one nap for the toddler age. If you’re struggling with short naps for your babies, the big thing is, is we want to again teach them to bridge those sleep cycles. So if they don’t have independent sleep skills yet, and that’s why they’re shorter nap, then it’s definitely worth it to work on extending and teaching them those sleep skills so they can extend their sleep cycles. For toddlers, if you’re struggling with shorter naps, if they’re in like the two year old to three year old age range, if they’re taking a short nap, it may just be that that nap is starting to disappear. And that it’s time to instill that quiet time instead in place of that. So they have some downtime. And you have as mom or dad have some downtime as well. Okay. And this all sounds great to me. For me, the problem that I have, I have three children and mine are way past this. But I remember this, and I have clients who are dealing with this now, the guilt that is coming the first child, we had them on the perfect routine. And then the second child comes. And now we have to get that first child to either school or whatever. And now that second child is taking all of their naps in the car seat. Yeah, how do you feel about this? No, and it happens. And it’s and it’s life, right? And it’s like I have to so I experienced that too. Once I had my second and and I did my best to try to schedule things as best I could around his nap. Does it happen? Is there going to be a nap in the car occasionally? Because that’s life? Absolutely. The biggest thing, especially when parents come to me to work with me privately as I say them, okay, we’re going to create a schedule that works for your family. And we’re going to while we’re doing the training and working to teach them the skills, right, then I need that 100% commitment of the routine constantly. But once your child learns those skills, and has that and the routine is set, and that schedule is set, then again, I go back to that 80% 20% Again, then you go and you do what you need to do, and you make that schedule work for you. So if it means that on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays that you have to take your other child to let’s just say preschool, you know and that the pickup is right at the same time because I never that happened to me. I pushed my son’s nap. And we made it so that his nap fell at one o’clock so that I could get her home and get them both settled in, get her some lunch, set her up with quiet time and then get my son down for his nap. Was it ideal? No, I would have loved for him to have been going down for a 12 Three. Yeah, but we made it work and his body clock adapted. But I also made sure it was consistent all the time. So that it wasn’t always fluctuating. I did it you know what, whatever was going to set state so there’s always going to be given take to everything you just have to and then once you add a third one in, absolutely, there’s going to be cat naps in the carpet, if you’ve got them with those once they learn the skills. If they’re sleeping soundly at night, and they’re getting that most of the time that routine is going it you will still see the benefits to that it definitely you’ll see them if that helps that answer some of these benefits that what should we be noticing when they’re awake? Absolutely. So things that are you’re going to see as benefits are mood, you’re going to see change in mood. So happier children, less tantrums, less fighting back, things like that, because they’re not if you think of, I guess the best way to describe this Think of yourself as an adult, being overtired. If you didn’t get the sleep you needed last night. How do you feel the next day? What does that feel like? It’s a fog right? We’re in a fog or we’re short tempered, we’re irritable, we’re tired, we’re we’re just overall Your mood is just down. So typically when a child is getting the sleep that they need, you’re gonna see an improvement in mood improvement and behavior, more energy for activities more energy for School, the better attention span in school, just overall health well being. Because when we sleep, our body repairs itself, the cells repair, it’s a time for our bodies to restore, which is why it’s a need, right? That’s why everybody needs it just like we need to eat, we need to breathe, you have to sleep in order to survive. So just, if you think about that feeling, I think it’s a great, great way to describe if you think about how you feel when you’re exhausted, think of your child going to school, or going to their activities every day feeling exhausted. That’s what it’s like and think about it when you’re rested. That’s what they would feel like is they’re rested, and they’re rejuvenated and restored for the next day. Okay, do you when you work with older children? Is there is there a point in time you say take the NAPS away from them? Once they’re like in like school age, I’m thinking, do you recommend that just so they take longer, have a longer sleep cycle at night? Absolutely. So typically, the the typical child now again, there’s always going to be, you know, the random children that do different things. But typically, on average, anywhere between two and a half years old to about four years old is where we see that nap, disappear. And the thing that we usually see, which is what we don’t want is that at bedtime, they’re laying awake for an hour, or an hour and a half, or even 45 minutes, not falling asleep. So let’s say they’re going to bed at eight, they’re not falling asleep till nine 930. And that’s what we don’t want, because then all of a sudden that that amount of time they’re getting at night is just not adequate. So that’s when you want to start looking at, okay, you know what I think they’re just not, they’re not falling asleep at night, they’re not getting that solid sleep, that’s when it’s time to start either. The first thing you can do, you don’t even have to pull the nap immediately is capping the nap. So cutting it down, let’s say they’re taking a solid two hour nap going down to first you know, go to an hour and 45 minutes, then go to an hour and a half, you can do that every three days cutting it down, and then hold once you see that at bedtime, or they’re settling in, okay, because you can hold on to that that for a bit. Once you do take that nap away, then we want to go to an earlier bedtime because all of a sudden our toddler is not getting that sleep they’re used to during the day. So that’s going to take sometimes it can take three to six weeks for their bodies to adjust to that for their body clock to change. So if they’re typically going to bed at 730, let’s say when they were taking that nap, then you may have to go to a seven or even a 630 bed time for a bit until they get adjusted than that seven o’clock is usually a really good sweet spot for toddlers to go to bed. But watching for that, that bedtime laying awake, not falling asleep struggling to fall asleep can be a great indicator that it’s time for that nap to go. Now I do have Courtney, some people that companies, I just my kidnaps at daycare, that’s not going to change. Sometimes you can ask daycare, if they could have quiet time there. If that’s a no and they’re absolutely going to have the child nap at daycare. It’s doable, I have to deal with it. Mike’s my son goes to daycare two days a week. And on those days, I know that he doesn’t need to go to bed as early so his bedtime is a half an hour later on those days, just because I know he’s not going to fall asleep right away. So if you choose to keep the nap in there, then the bedtime would then have to be a bit later just to let them go to sleep, you know, so they fall asleep right away. But just be careful because then if that window if there are 6am Waker, then you’re not getting that adequate sleep. So it’s it’s kind of a give or take on when it’s time to pull but once you do, it’s still quiet time I highly recommend time for for kiddos. Okay, I have a few questions like I want to be able to give our moms something that they can take with them for different ages since I do have some different ages. And then I also have some questions for myself. Thinking about and this is me thinking about my one of my children when they were younger, but they were past the napping. The trouble to get them to fall asleep it it was always you know, they’d lay in bed and they would just toss and turn. Some of it I think had to do with having older siblings in the house knowing that they were in another room not having to go to sleep, the fear of missing out. Like do you have tips for those families that do have this situation where there’s different bedtimes because, you know like for myself, I have a high schooler, a middle schooler and the elementary school and we don’t deal with it quite so much now but we did have that you know the different times of when people are waking and going to sleep going to sleep. Absolutely. Absolutely. It’s a great question too. So I’ll to address one part of that first and then the second part to for answers. So if you have a, let’s say toddler or preschool age, that struggling to go to bed at night, now if they have those sleep skills, that would be the first thing. So if they have independent sleep skills, fantastic, we don’t even have to worry about that part. But if they’re still they have those skills and they’re still struggling. If there’s any type of there could be a little bit of anxiety there if there’s any kind of fears going on. Or if it’s just that they have trouble, just relaxing from the end of the day one, a bedtime routine, I can’t emphasize that enough how important that is to set the the brain and the body going to cue it because we want the melatonin to start pumping. So doing things in your household like dimming, Dimming the lights a little bit towards the end of the day, shutting the blinds, especially when it’s so light out at like, you know, 730 it’s still you might as well be noon, or you know, it’s closing your blinds, okay? Closing your blinds and just just creating that environment that the melatonin production starts to happen. So we want that sleep pressure to start to build. Doing the bedtime routine continues that and doing it consistently every night so that the body knows every night, but this is the time now if you’ve got a little one who’s giving you the bedtime battles, which is so typical of our toddlers have a bedtime routine chart, create the chart that it says Okay, here we go bath, brush your teeth into your pajamas storytime, Cuddles, and to the bed night night, bye bye. That’s and they can see it, they can visualize it. And that helps it helps their brain to understand what’s coming. Next thing is to talk to them. Why is healthy sleep important? Just like they talked to them at school about healthy eating all those things, how fitness exercise, we talk to them about all those things? Why don’t we talk to our kids about healthy sleep, we don’t do it. So talking to them, especially at that toddler preschool age, they get it they understand there’s some great resources out there that you can go on and Google the world Sleep Foundation, places like that a great resources for kids, there’s coloring books, there’s worksheets they can do to learn about why sleeps important. So setting that the building those blocks and setting those things. So again, doing the bedtime routine. Now if they’re getting into bed, you’ve done all this and they’re still struggling, good ideas to try, you can do a deep pressure massage if they like that kind of thing. So doing a little bit of relaxation techniques with them deep breathing, if they’re at a point where they understand that and they can do deep breaths. You can also do meditation. There’s some great apps out there that have ones for kids for bedtime. The calm app I know has some really wonderful ones, doing something like that with them. Another fun idea, fill up a little app a little iBeacon make your own eye pillow, make a little sock, put little things in it, fill it with a scent, and they get put over their eyes to relax at the end of the day doing things that promote relaxation. I love the deep breathing. I love telling kids, you know, think about something that makes you happy. What makes you feel relaxed, just like we do for ourselves. Just giving them that ability to bring it down a notch just really relaxing, making sure we’re not getting them riled up before bed I dads are famous for that one, getting the you know, wrestling, all of a sudden, they’re gonna come in and they’re wrestling before bed. We don’t want the cortisol to go up, we want that down. We want melatonin. So really setting the scene for bedtime. Now if it’s more of a battle type situation party where your child gets into bed, and they’re asking you for 500 things, I need two glasses of water, five more books, all of that. That’s when it is time to set boundaries. So really coming in there and saying Nope, we have one you can have a sip of water right before bed, we will read one you can pick one story from the two. Here’s your choice. So we’re still fostering independence. We want to do that so important for our toddlers to foster that independence. But giving them choices are a great way to do that while also setting the boundaries. You could do asleep rules chart your son you know, when you get after our bedtime routine, then we get in bed, we close our eyes, we go to sleep giving them the visualization all of those things are really great. So that gave a lot of info right there. And I know I already forget, I already forget Part Two what the question was not sure if I covered all of it but no, I mean, that was pretty much the age groups the different ages going to bed. I think the best thing with that is to to explain to them why again that Oh, well. You know your big brother is older than you so he needs a little bit less sleep than you do or he has homework to do currently, but you’re at this age and this is really important for your health. So this is when you go to bed and and that’s where boundaries again come in. It’s kind of sometimes a lot of the work I do with toddlers and older children is coming in there and working on the boundaries and that and working on the day boundaries to can really help with the night boundaries as well, but just explain it to them. They’re, they’re smarter than we think they understand. But they, you know, just giving them the tools of wide again, just like healthy eating exercise sleep important.

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