“Please, God, let my child fall asleep!”
Have you ever prayed this desperate prayer at the end of a long exhausting day? I have.
God does hear your prayers. He knows that sleep issues can leave you bone-weary, brain-fogged tired for days on end. Some issues are physical. Some are emotional. Some are habit.
Habits are important. The habit of making time for bedtime routines and sitting with pre-sleepers if needed is important. It must be a scheduled part of the day. It is tempting to throw kids into bed and rush downstairs to the family room for ‘me’ time. But, bedtime routines are not just for the children, they are for the whole family. It’s a time of connecting one more time before sleep. It’s a time of giving the children a sense of security by snuggling together.
Snack. Story. Teeth. Prayer. Bed. That has been the Guire routine for years. This set of habits has not eliminated all sleep issues, but it has greatly reduced them.
Check out this study from the National Library of Medicine’s website:
405 mothers and their infant or toddler (ages 7-18 months, n = 206; ages 18-36 months, n = 199) participated in 2 age-specific 3-week studies. Families were randomly assigned to a routine or control group. The first week of the study served as a baseline during which the mothers were instructed to follow their child’s usual bedtime routine. In the second and third weeks, mothers in the routine group were instructed to conduct a specific bedtime routine, while the control group continued their child’s usual routine. All mothers completed the Brief Infant Sleep Questionnaire (BISQ) on a weekly basis and a daily sleep diary, as well as completed the Profile of Mood States (POMS).
The bedtime routine resulted in significant reductions in problematic sleep behaviors for infants and toddlers. Significant improvements were seen in latency to sleep onset and in number/duration of night wakings, P < 0.001. Sleep continuity increased and there was a significant decrease in the number of mothers who rated their child's sleep as problematic. Maternal mood state also significantly improved. Control group sleep patterns and maternal mood did not significantly change over the 3-week study period.
These results suggest that instituting a consistent nightly bedtime routine, in and of itself, is beneficial in improving multiple aspects of infant and toddler sleep, especially wakefulness after sleep onset and sleep continuity, as well as maternal mood.”
If you are struggling with sleep issues with your children and you do not have a routine established, it’s a great time to start! Your children don’t have to be toddlers to start a routine. We started bedtime routines with our adopted children (ages: 7,6, and 4) the month we lived in the orphanage with them. It was a great connection habit that made the transition easier when we came home to the states. when they came home to the states. Boosting maternal mood is an added bonus!