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Jun 24 2014

Our Ever-Growing Bedtime Routine Needs to Stop, But I’m Not Ready

By at 10:50 am

sleepless-toddler

A few weeks after my son was born, I made up a lullaby that I’d sing before putting him to bed. Back then, getting my son into his crib was a simple matter of swapping his diaper for a new one and belting out a two-minute song before calling it a night (yep, we were very fortunate). But somehow, over the past two years our bedtime routine has evolved from a quick pajama change and lullaby into a 45-minute extravaganza complete with stories, videos, and many, many songs. And it just seems to be growing by the day.

Here’s how things will typically go down: First, my son will run around his room like a maniac as I attempt to grab hold of him and lift him onto his changing table. From there, he’ll wiggle and squirm as I desperately work to get his pajamas on. After he’s clothed, we’ll head to the bathroom to brush his teeth, which often takes longer than necessary thanks to my son’s desire to touch absolutely everything on the counter before finally opening wide.

But once his pajamas are on and his teeth are brushed, the real fun begins. It starts with a story from a collection of books we store crib-side. Ever since he was about 1.5, we started giving our son the privilege of selecting his bedtime story himself. What this now means is that he’ll pick up every book on the pile before choosing one–and then once we settle into our rocking chair to read it, he’ll invariably bolt off my lap, insisting that he made the wrong book choice. If I don’t let him switch, a fit will most likely ensue, so I usually allow him one book swap before putting my foot down. Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 10 2014

Ask a Sleep Coach: My 6-Month-Old Screams at Night

By at 1:53 pm

6-months-won't-nap

Anyone with kids knows that getting them to sleep is no easy feat. Luckily, there are people who specialize in these things, like Israeli sleep coach Batya Sherizen. Below she takes on a question from Kveller contributing editor, Jordana. Do you have a sleep question for Batya? Send them into info@kveller.com with the subject line “Sleep coach.”

My kid is 6 months old and in 95th percentile height and weight. Very happy kid. Her naps during the day are crappy to nonexistent. She maybe has 1.5 hours of napping total per day. She goes to bed around 6:30/7 p.m. with an 8-ounce bottle. Sleeps beautifully in her own room/crib until 1 a.m. or so. Gets up and starts talking very loudly. She is wide awake. Not crying, talking. Deafeningly loudly. For two hours sometimes. Eats. Goes back to bed. Up around 4 a.m. Sometimes goes back to bed but usually up for good by 5 a.m.

Jordana Horn  Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 20 2014

How My Toddler’s Tedious Bedtime Ritual is Actually a Lot Like Prayer

By at 3:55 pm

crib mirror

Each night before my daughter, age 2.5, goes to sleep, she has a “special minute” with my husband, and then one with me.

This started as a compromise so that we didn’t both have to be present every night for her lengthy bedtime rituals, but the special minute has evolved into a complex ritual of its own. We talk about, in this order, five things at the drugstore, five things at the zoo, five things at the doctor, five things at the Jewish Museum (the National Museum of American Jewish History, here in Philadelphia), five things at the Please Touch Museum (the local children’s museum), five things about her mirror (yes, really), and five things about today.

And we do this every night, just when I’m the most exhausted, right when I’m on the verge of getting some alone time, exactly when I need her just to be asleep already. We talk and we talk and we talk. Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 4 2013

Ask a Sleep Coach: What to Do About Your Early (Reeeally Early) Riser

By at 10:01 am

sunrise

The following question for Batya, our resident sleep coach, comes from contributing editor Jordana Horn:

Hi, Batya. I am hoping you can help me out. My 2-year-old, whom we’ll call G, is an early riser. I mean EARLY, to the tune of 4:30-5:30 a.m. She naps two hours a day from 1-3. She goes to bed around 7 p.m. She wakes up totally chipper and raring to go. Sadly, my husband and I are not the same way. We have decided to say we will not get her from her crib until 6 a.m. and have gotten her a clock that turns green when it is 6 a.m. In other words, you don’t have to be asleep, but you can’t yell for us till 6 a.m. We put books in her bed that she can read by the light of her night light (“read” = look at pictures). 

Unfortunately, 95% of the time, she yells for us well before 6 a.m. We have tried telling her to stop. We have tried reward systems. We have tried punishments. We have tried going in and shushing/holding her. We have tried not going in and letting her scream her head off, waking up the rest of the house in the process. She wakes the whole house up every morning. It isn’t fair to the other kids, let alone us. 

I asked our pediatrician what to do and she said there is nothing we can do: some kids are just early risers. That’s fine by me but I want to make sure she knows that before 6 a.m., she’s gotta keep the early morning love to herself. What to do? Please help! Thank you!!! Read the rest of this entry →

Nov 13 2013

Ask a Sleep Coach: How Do I Get My 4-Year-Old to Sleep On Her Own?

By at 8:01 pm

babymama

Anyone with kids knows that getting them to sleep is no easy feat. Luckily, there are people who specialize in these things, like Israeli sleep coach Batya Sherizen. Below she takes on a question from Kveller editor, Deborah Kolben. Do you have a sleep question for Batya? Send them into info@kveller.com with the subject line “Sleep coach.”

My 4-year-old still wakes up and wants us to sleep in her bed every night. How do we get her to sleep on her own?

As parents, we obviously want to ensure that our children feel emotionally secure at all times. Sometimes, however, we find ourselves sacrificing that “security” at our own expense and sleep deprivation.

Your 4-year-old wants your presence to fall back asleep at night and she is developmentally at a place where she can understand cause and affect. Until now, she has learned that if she protests enough, Mommy and/or Daddy WILL come and sleep in her bed. Therefore, she has no reason to change her current behavior. In her eyes, she is getting what she wants! Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 19 2013

Finding the Perfect Lullabies for My Daughter

By at 10:11 am

lullabies illustrationAfter reading Elissa Strauss’ recent post, The Best Lullabies Turn Out to Be Jewish, I got to thinking about the songs I sing to my daughter when she goes to bed.

Before my little girl was born, I set out on a mission to find non-traditional lullabies. I didn’t want to croon about bows breaking and cradles falling or trying to buy my daughter’s peace and quiet with diamond rings. And really… who’s buying their babies diamond rings? And that’s the consolation prize only if the mocking bird doesn’t sing? Sheesh.

Anyway, I wanted to sing songs that meant something to me. See, my family instilled a love of music in me and I want to do the same for my daughter.

My mom always sang non-traditional lullabies from Peter, Paul and Mary’s “500 Miles” to “My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music. Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 22 2013

Making the Switch to a Big Girl Bed

By at 10:30 am

big girl bedMy 2-year-old daughter celebrated Independence Day in style: she got a big girl bed. She had asked about a bed for months. I was resistant. Her 4-year-old brother had only gotten his early because we were pregnant with her. And we had no concerns about him getting out of bed; that was not the case with her. Knowing she was in the crib meant I didn’t have to worry about her getting out of bed, wandering around, looking for her brother, for us, or for the nearest thing she could crack her head on. Her crib was the ticket to a little bit of extra time to get ready in the morning. She didn’t need a bed yet.

Around her 2nd birthday, my son made her an art project representing a bed which she clung to and very clearly said, “I want a bed.” Her requests got more insistent after that. My husband and I finally decided what to do: our son would give her his low-to-the-ground Ikea bed that we had inherited from a friend and he would get a new bed (the one we anticipate he’ll have until he leaves the house). They were beyond ecstatic; I was trepidatious. Every night and morning, my daughter would tell us the plan, sometimes before saying good morning.  Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 28 2013

Sleep Training with the Shema

By at 10:08 am

baby lying awake on bedSleep training. Like just about every other parenting decision, the controversy rages about how to get an infant to go to sleep. I’ve heard that some babies snuggle down for a night of uninterrupted sleep, and will even take naps during the day. But my 4-month-old daughter seemed afraid that if she went to sleep, she might miss something exciting. She thought that a nap meant resting on my lap with her eyes open for 20 minutes, and that sleeping from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. with a wake-up call for snuggles every two hours was “sleeping through the night.”

With such an overtired baby and no longer able to get through the day ourselves, my husband and I knew something had to change. Like many first-time parents, we had imagined a calm bedtime routine. She had her bath, got a short massage, read a story, nursed, and then was supposed to go quietly into her crib as we sang the Shema and Adon Olam. For a while, everything went according to plan, except for the part about going “quietly into her crib.” Instead, we would finish the routine with a baby who appeared to be well on her way to dreamland, but who, as soon as she was placed in her crib, began to cry as though she was being tortured. It wasn’t gas. She wasn’t still hungry. She had been sleeping in her crib by herself for several weeks, so it wasn’t a scary or unfamiliar place. She just did not want to go to sleep.  Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 6 2013

Free Stuff Alert: Lyla Tov Monsters

By at 5:01 pm
lyla tov monsters

Ahhhh!

If you want help ensuring your kids get a good night’s sleep, you ought to be looking to the monsters. That’s right, monsters.

6-year-old Lyla Black has become quite the entrepreneur with her line of Lyla Tov Monsters, friendly adorable monsters meant to keep the bad ones away. With the help of her mom, who got her start as a costume designer for Sesame Street (and now has two Emmys under her belt) Lyla has designed a whole line of these adorable monsters and now needs your help to produce them for the masses.

Check out the just launched Lyla Tov Monsters Kickstarter Campaign to learn more about the monsters and help the company get on its feet. And then be sure to fill out the form below to enter our giveaway. A lucky random winner will receive the spunky monster featured above, named Ahhhh (though we’ve been assured it’s totally kosher for Ahhhh’s new owner to rename it whatever he/she wants).

**Head over to the Lyla Tov Monsters Kickstarter here and enter our giveaway below.**

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway has now ended. Congrats to the winner, Elisha!

Apr 16 2013

On Boston, Bombs & Lullabies

By at 9:52 am

boston skylineWhen my daughter was born, I had time to be intentional about parenting. I chose books, music, classes, even BPA-free sippy cups based on copious research.

Now that I’ve got kid #2 in the mix, I don’t have the same kind of time or energy to make those intentional decisions. My parenting is based on what’s fastest, easiest, or most convenient. Which is why, instead of reading my son a long, but lovely, book about The Bedtime Sh’ma, I’ve been reading him a shorter Sandra Boynton book. And instead of singing him my favorite Hashkivenu prayer as a lullaby, I’ve opted for a quick verse of a Laurie Berkner song and calling it a day. The whole shebang takes about three minutes and then I can finish cleaning up the kitchen, giving my daughter a bath, or eating dinner myself. Read the rest of this entry →

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