WT 126: Can You Help Me Get Some Sleep?

Question 1:  Hi Karen, I am a listener from the NorthWest, Portland, OR, I love your podcast and Godly wisdom! I am currently a mom of 2 young boys, a two year old and 9 month old. Somewhere along the way with our oldest we got into the habit of co-sleeping, this was not our plan, it kinda just happened but now our son is two and we can't get him out of our bed. We have tried the cry-it-out method but it didn't work, leaving him in his crib for 30-45 min while he cries the entire time and then my husband gets him and brings him back, my husband is not a fan of the cry-it-out method. At this point I don't know what to do, our two year old sleeps through the night when he sleeps with us but I am so done having him in our bed, what would you suggest? 

Karen's Answer: This is so hard, because this habit is so hard to break.  There is a group a ministry in Atlanta called, Moms on Call, and these ladies are all nurses and started this company to help guide moms with their newborn to four year olds.  These ladies have an entire section on sleep patterns. Unfortunately, you are going to have to break this pattern. It is going to be hard, and I think you are going to have to let them cry it out. ☹ I remember there was an episode on Super Nanny show and it showed how a mom and dad had to break this cycle. There are several episodes on YouTube. Determine you are going to do it and then stick to it!


Question 2: Karen, I struggle EVERY NIGHT between knowing I should go to bed earlier so I can be well-rested the next day and taking advantage of the precious QUIET that happens in my house only after 9pm. Sometimes that’s when I finally get around to cleaning the kitchen or folding the mountains of laundry and sometimes that’s when I binge watch The Bachelorette. Any thoughts for me?

Karen's Answer: The struggle is REAL!!! There are some nights that it is just worth it to stay up, while others you may force yourself to go to bed. But, I will say this, you can set up new habits, and when you do your body will adjust.  You know, my grandkids are living with me for a while, and I felt the same way, that I never have any time of quiet to myself. This summer I’ve been doing this 80 day obsession with Abby, and we get up at 5 a.m. I know what you are thinking, WOW! That is early, and it is but my body has adjusted and now, I love waking up early and the house is so quiet. I now have my quiet time in the morning and I can actually think.  When the children get up, I’m ready for them. Try and start a new habit today. Maybe compromise and go to bed at 10 and slowly work your way to 9.


Question 3: Karen, my 13 month old has had quite the rough start when it comes to health. He has had gut issues, ear infections, tubes in his ears, more ear infection, hospitalization for lack of oxygen and more. It’s rare if we go more than a week without him having something. Because of this he isn’t a great sleeper and I am TIRED. How do I balance teaching him to sleep well, have proper development all while loving him when he doesn’t feel good? I worry I’m spoiling him, but I don’t want to be emotionally cold when he is constantly sick. Please help!

Karen's Answer: Oh wow! Poor little buddy and poor momma! So, I would ask your pediatrician what is the best course. I think all of the “normal” answers may not work because of his health, but I think your pediatrician would be a good place to start. As best as you can when he’s healthy, try and create a schedule. When he is sick of course make adjustments, but try not to veer off too much. When a child is sick, you should hold them more and be as nurturing as possible, but you can do that and still stick with a schedule. Schedules really help a child. I’m also a believer in pain relievers to help with ear pain. Talk to your pediatrician.


Question 4:  I have two children who share a room. One keeps the other up at night and then wakes her up in the morning, resulting in the second sibling being very cranky (she needs more sleep). It's not possible to separate them. How can we use positive reinforcement to fix this situation? Negative consequences, like taking away stuffed animals, isn't working.

Karen's Answer: Give the older one some things to play with when she wakes up early, or can’t fall asleep at night. Tell her as long as she is quiet, she can keep these “goodies” in her room, but if she wakes up her sister then she will lose the privilege. Tell her oldest that when she wakes up in the morning, come to your room, that you would love to have some one on one special time with her. When she does, tell her how much you love spending time with her.  Maybe have a special something you both do together, like make breakfast or something. I do remember Kelsey and Emily talking forever at night, but I think they were both guilty. Get creative! 

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