I slept for four hours last night, so I definitely believe I’m the best person to turn to for this advice. If you missed it last week, I somehow managed to basically not sleep at all for an entire night right alongside my toddler and infant…and it was definitely more my fault than theirs. If you’ve been reading ParentalGrit for any length of time, you should know that I actually do enjoy giving encouragement and advice in many of my posts; today, however, I’m drifting into delusion and a subject I clearly know nothing about. There may just possibly be a hint of sarcasm here and there…
- (Over)Feed the Kiddos
This is just a fantastic piece of advice, most often seen with babies. Feed the child repeatedly until milk starts seeping out his or her ears and then quickly drop ‘em to the crib for drunken night of great sleep. We love this strategy in our house because it usually ends up with projectile vomit 20 minutes after bedtime or a sizable bowel movement that wakes the entire household around midnight. It’s an explosive strategy, to say the least.
- Establish Sleep Friends
What’s a better idea than pairing your little one with a sleeping buddy to cuddle at all hours of the night? Surely they won’t bother waking you up if there’s a malformed Build-a-Bear ready to console them, right? This strategy works so great for us because on one hand, it takes her 40 minutes each night to select a sleeping partner from her army of 94 stuffed creatures and, on the other hand, it means she’ll quickly vault into a raging lunatic should she accidentally kick the stuffed animal out of bed at any point during the night.
- Only Have One Kid
This is sound, practical advice that anyone would be a fool to ignore. If you’re truly seeking a return to sleep normalcy, whatever you do, stop at a single kid. If one kid wakes up bawling, the other is sure to follow. My wife and I love this piece of advice so much because…DANGIT WE ALREADY HAD A SECOND CHILD! TOO LATE!
- Go to Bed Early
There’s a reason parenting and logic don’t go hand-in-hand. It is natural to assume that a parent could catch up on sleep by simply going to bed earlier. Skip the social media and Netflix while tucking in right at 8:30 after your little one goes down. The best part of using this strategy is that it ensures your tiny miniature will now wake up immediately and/or more frequently throughout the night. It’s science; kids know when you’re sneaking in extra Z’s, and this will not stand.
- Sleep in Late
If you can’t go to bed early, then why not go to bed later as a family and just sleep in? After all, it’s much more difficult to wrangle a child into bed rather that out, correct? Let’s use that faulty parenting logic again and assume that if we let them stay up a bit later, they will naturally sleep later in the morning…thereby allowing their parents precious makeup sleep. This strategy is so great to implement because it all but guarantees our toddler will wake up even earlier and run on less sleep all day.
- Bedtime Routine
It’s all about the routine…surely you’ve read about the importance of consistency and daily habits when it comes to sleep routine. I love sleep routines. I don’t know how I would function each day without that 76th lap through the Thomas the Train book. What would I do with my time if the bathroom didn’t need toweled and mopped each night after our teeth-brushing monsoon rolls through? Where would my wife and I be without our nightly routine of debating whether Eliza’s tears right after we shut her door are fake or valid?
- Be the Husband
Now this one…it works. Not well, but it works. When our daughters have a rough night of sleep, I absolutely have a rough night also. But if I’m having a rough night, that means my wife is having a miserable, dreadful, exhausting night. Breastfeeding Everly means my wife’s sleep deprivation is on a whole other level…maybe she should make her list? I’ll wake her up and see what she thinks…