We are big fans of sleep over at Kindred Meets HQ and that is why we love it when Cristina pays us a visit! Cristina is the founder of Psychologically Minded and is a practitioner psychologist from Venezuela with over 10 years of experience providing one to one and group intervention for children, adolescents and adults in different backgrounds and settings.
Cristina is also a trained sleep therapist who will assess your child's sleep problem and collaborate with you to create a plan that takes care of you as a parent as much as it takes care of your child. Because happy parents have happy children. All of their plans include:
Self care plans for you to get plenty of rest and promote your mental health.
Sleep plan for your child according to their developmental and particular needs
Information on naps, standing up in cot and dummies.
Anxiety management and motivation techniques for older children
Our Mums in both Walthamstow and Leytonstone were full of questions and so Cristina kindly put this blog together that covers off some essentials.
Ways to help your child to sleep a little bit longer, by Cristina Delgado (Psychologically Minded)
There are some considerations as to why your child might be waking up early
Environmental factors: it could be that your child is sensitive to the light, to the temperature or to noises. Or it could be that something is going on during the early hours that we are not aware of.
Spend time in the room at the time they wake up to try to identify what is going on.
For temperature, check bedding and change it if needed or add some pyjamas that might help the situation.
Check the light and consider blackout curtains.
Check the noise, if there are some sharp noises (neighbours closing doors when going to work, car engines, and others) consider whether you need white noise or to change sleeping arrangements.
Too much sleep during the day: is your child using her night quota during the day?
Think about how many naps they have and the total sleep time according to their developmental stage. We need different amounts of sleep according to our age and sometimes modifying when to get it might mean a more restful night.
Do they need a nap an hour before waking up?: this might become an extension to their night sleep.
Try to move the nap later every morning until you break the pattern.
Early bedtime, complete night sleep that ends with an early waking: it might be that their night time sleep is being taken too early in the 24 hour period.
Try to delay bedtime each day until reaching the desired time.
Are they hungry?: it might be that they associate early morning with eating time.
If they are over 6 months and they are thriving then think about how you can wean them from this feed.
Are there any rewards associated with waking up early?: Remember that for children any sort of attention is a reward, even when you are trying really hard not to reward the behaviour.
Early cuddles or parents bed is the most attractive thing for a child. You might have to think of ways to break the pattern. Usually by treating this waking as if they woke up at 12 pm.
Reward other types of behaviour. Make waking up in their bed a fantastic experience, validation, cuddles or if they are older you could use a chart.
Does your child need less sleep than other children?: if your child is well rested and happy it might be that they just need a little bit less sleep.
Think about moving bedtime progressively according to your needs.
Be consistent and persistent, you have this!
Go to @psychologicallyminded Instagram where you will get some more insights and more tips around sleep and mental health.