Toddlers are fascinating creatures, aren’t they? Watching them develop into thinking, creative little people is such a fascinating time, and one that parents often wish would last a little longer.

Of course, they usually wish that after baby’s grown out of the toddler stage, because along with that creativity and new-found intelligence, we usually see a lot of boundary-testing, which can be a frustrating experience.

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If there’s anything that can send your child’s sleep off the rails, if there’s an arch-enemy for sleep training, it is, without a doubt, the dreaded condition of overtiredness.

Kids, as with all people, have a natural rhythm when it comes to sleep. Our bodies secrete hormones to keep us up and running during the day, and different ones to help us rest at night. They’re dependant on a variety of factors, but timing is the most prevalent.

So what happens when your little one stays awake past the time when these natural cues to sleep are activated? Well, the body assumes there’s a reason that it hasn’t been allowed to get to sleep, assumes there’s a need to stay awake, and fires up those daytime hormones again.

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It’s taken you a few weeks to get your baby into a good schedule and sleeping well. Now that you’ve put in the time, effort, and energy to make this big change in your family’s life, that trip you have planned for next month is starting to stress you out! If you’re like most parents, your biggest fear is that a trip is going to derail all the progress you and your baby have made and cause you to start this process all over again. Sometimes the mere thought of it frightens parents so much that they cancel all summer trips and just vow to stay home until the child leaves for college. That is how important your baby’s new sleeping regime has become to everyone.

The good news is that you do not have to cancel all travel plans this summer and confine yourself to the house for the rest of your child’s life. It is possible to have children who travel really well, if you keep a few things in mind:

Don’t over-schedule

The biggest mistake parents make is that they over-schedule themselves. They try to pack in all the fun and adventure they might normally have had back in their “child-free” days, forgetting an important fact: They have a child now.

A nap in the car isn’t the end of the world

An occasional car nap or slightly later bedtime probably isn’t going to do too much harm, but if your baby spends a couple of days taking car seat naps here and there and having late bedtimes, she may become so overtired that by the time bedtime rolls around on day two, she has a complete meltdown and seems to “forget” all her sleep skills and just cries the house down.

You may start to give into this pressure and bend your expectations for your baby’s sleep. It’s easy to see how you could revert back to your own familiar ways in no time if you gave into this pressure and fear.

Keep to your routine as much as possible

It’s very normal for babies and toddlers to test the boundaries around sleep when they are somewhere new. Just because the rule is the rule at home, that does not necessarily mean the rule is the same at Grandma’s house. This may mean that your baby cries for some time at bedtime or has a night waking or two. The best way to handle it is to not do too much different than you would if the regression happened at home. You can go in every five minutes or so to offer a bit of reassurance, but other than that, don’t bend your rules. If you hang on tight to your consistency, within the first night or two, your child will be used to the new environment and will be sleeping well again.

Familiar items are always handy

Make sure you bring your child’s sleeping toy and/or blanket!

Bed sharing is probably the worst idea

Another big mistake parents make is to bed share with their baby or toddler while traveling. Bed sharing is a big no-no! Even it’s it is only for a few nights, if your baby decides this is her new preferred location, you could find yourself starting all over again when you get home. Most hotels have a cot you can use or rent or take your pack and play along and use that as a cot.

Try and put your baby in another room if possible

If your child is eight months or older, my advice is to try to make some sort of a private space for your baby to sleep. This could be the bathroom (if it’s big enough) or the closet. Anywhere that you can build some sort of a partition between you and your baby, so that if she has a wake up in the middle of the night she is not so excited to see her two favourite people that she ends up wide awake thinking it’s play time! Of course, getting an extra bedroom for your child is great if that’s an option for you.

BabyWinkz Consultancy - Clocks Going Back - How to Save Your Child's Sleep RoutineExtra Sleep…yippee

This year, on Sunday 25th October at 2am the clocks going back one hour. For us, this means that we get an extra hour of sleep but essentially, this changing of the clocks does affect us in some way and ultimately it can add to our lack of sleep. Read more

Toddler Playing in the Cot at Nap Time

Problem Solving

Today I want to talk a little bit about playing in the cot. If you are a veteran of the BabyWinkz Sleep Sense program, this might sound like something you’ve experienced. If you’re not, this might sound like the craziest thing ever. If you’ve got a child who’s not sleeping well, the idea that they might be playing in their cot is probably pretty crazy to you, but it happens. If you’ve got a child who can sleep well, can sleep independently, feel great about their cot, is happy to go there when it’s sleep time, you will find that there will be periods in your child’s life where they’re having a party in that cot all by themselves.

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Baby Winkz - Question and answer

Question of the week

Today our question comes from Susan and she’s wondering, “when does a baby change from two naps to one?” First of all, I’ll tell you around the age when this tends to occur. I find that a good average age for this, is somewhere around the 13th month.

Now, I have seen babies go as early as nine months, and I’ve also seen babies hang on to two naps a day, until, well into the 17th or 18th month. But if you are looking for an average, I would say 13 months. I’m going to share with you three signs to watch for. Read more

When you’re planning a family holiday with a baby or toddler, an important thing to consider is how your travel plans are going to affect your child’s sleep routine. You’ll have a much more enjoyable holiday if you organise your trip in a way that allows for as little disruption as possible to your little one’s sleep pattern.

This will help ensure she gets the rest she needs to be happy, healthy, and alert during your trip—which is bound to make your holiday more enjoyable for everyone! Read more

Lots of people manage a toddler and baby, you are not alone!

Having a toddler and a young baby is something that at first can seem very daunting, but many people are in that situation so you are not alone. I have personally experienced this as my daughters are a year apart, and I always remember the doctors initial reaction to me when we found out I was pregnant, he asked me how I felt and whether I had a good support network, there I was holding a 5 month old in the doctors surgery and finding out that I had another baby on the way.

You will have had 9 months to prepare your toddler for the changes which are about to take place, but how your toddler will react and what the reality of having two young children will feel like will remain a mystery until it actually occurs. In order to make life a little easier for yourself, your toddler and your new baby, it’s important to consider the following. Read more

Toddler's sleep association - pacifer / dummy

Toddler's sleep association - pacifer / dummy

Judy’s Personal Experience

Working on this blog takes me back to when I had my first daughter Jannah. During my pregnancy I read all the books but nowhere in my preparing for baby journey did it cross my mind that teaching my daughter to sleep would be part of the role of being a parent! I was completely oblivious to this and to some extent ignorant as I just expected a child to go to sleep by simply shutting their eyes regardless of whether they were in their bed, cot or anywhere else, sleep would just come! Read more

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea in children and adults is where there’s an irregular breathing pattern during sleep. Someone suffering from apnea will appear to stop breathing for a short period of time before gasping and continuing to breathe normally – and this can happen continually during the night. While the condition itself isn’t serious, it can cause a temporary lack of oxygen, and and sleep apnea in children can lead to daytime drowsiness and even behavioural problems. Read more