Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Sleeping Through the Night... For Five Dollars??

My first-born was one of those babies. You know... the GOOD SLEEPERS. He was big and thriving- a good eater and a good sleeper. The first night we had him home from the hospital, we had to wake him after five hours to eat. By four months old, he would sleep from 8:30 pm until about 8:00 am. (Is it starting to make more sense how it came to pass that I was pregnant with our second child by the time he was five months old? ;)) Did we have occasional sleepless nights? Of course. But, for the most part, he slept well and consistently.

I write all this not to brag, but to provide background. Because, you see, given his history, it came as an utter surprise to me when my beloved son- now a preschooler- became a (gasp!) BAD SLEEPER. It's true.

Sometime within the past year, my darling boy lapsed into the (bad) habit of getting up at least once, often more, during the night and wandering into Mama and Daddy's room. One of us would walk him back into his room, put him back in bed, and sit in a chair in his room until he fell back asleep. Because, if we didn't wait until he was asleep, he'd follow us right back out. Now, just to clarify. he was never crying, he never asked for anything, he would just show up in our room. After awhile, this just became such a standard pattern in our lives that I didn't think much about it. And, if I'm totally honest, I could always find stories of people with MUCH worse bedtime issues going on, so I kind of brushed it off as just "one of those things" or "a phase".

But it had been months. Probably close to a year. And it was still happening. After several sleepless nights in a row- one of which had me up for six hours and sleeping for less than three (and I'm pregnant, in case you didn't know)- my husband and I knew we had to do something. Here's where I tell you that I'm not a "cry-it-out" kind of mama. I'm not judging- it's just not something I feel I can do. I'm also not a "co-sleeping" kind of mama. Sick, feverish child? Okay. That's fine. I don't mind snuggling up for the night. But every single night? Not my thing. I prefer my kiddos in their own beds. So those options were out the window.

"We should buy him a nightstand and a clock," I told my husband. "Then we can just tell him what time he's allowed to come in our room. Maybe he just doesn't know..."

I think he thought I was slightly crazy. And, after all, I was massively sleep-deprived. But, to his credit, he went right along with it. I think he was a little desperate too.

Turns out we couldn't find an affordable nightstand that we liked, so I re-purposed a small shelf from our playroom. We picked up a five dollar alarm clock from Walmart and let him choose the color.

I set it all up while my son ate supper and then we took him in to see it. We made a huge deal over the clock and what it meant-

"When the first number is a six, then you can come into Mama and Daddy's room."

Before we tucked him in, we asked, "What time is it?" "7:31" "What time can you come into Mama and Daddy's room?" "6:00." "What if it's 11:15?" "Nope." "3:30?" "No...." "How about 6:20?" "YES!"
We decided he got it. We kissed him good night and hoped for the best, while not expecting a whole lot...

That was three weeks ago and I am happy to report that our little guy has only come into our room TWICE in the middle of the night... once that first night (and he settled right back down as soon as we reminded him about the clock) and once when he had a bad dream.

Five dollar clock = Everyone sleeping right through the night?

Works for me.

(By the way... see that water bottle on the nightstand? We received that as part of our Yoplait Kids Get Active Prize Pack from My BlogSpark. Want a chance to win one (along with a bunch of other cool stuff)? Just go here!)
This post is linked to:

Works For Me Wednesday


Your Frugal Friend, Niki said...

What a beautiful idea!

I'll be getting one of those $5 treasures myself now.


Suz said...

Cute idea... glad it worked for you. My little guy is finally past making us sit with him until he falls asleep.. never thought that would happen! We never been co-sleepers either, although I think I would've enjoyed it... hubby wouldn't have so much. He sometimes crawls into our bed early on a Sat morning and we all snuggle :)

Anonymous said...

What a great idea, and I am so glad it worked to beautifully for him, and you too!

FishMama said...

You're brilliant!

Now if only I could teach FishBaby her numbers.....

She's sleeping 8 to 4:30 which is GREAT, but she is WIDE awake at 4:30. Yikes!

shopannies said...

what a great idea I will pass this to my daughter

Anonymous said...

Great tip! I may have to try it. :)

Sarah Kay said...

As I prepare to move to the toddler bed, this tip is a MUST in my brain. Thanks for sharing!!

Greta said...

Thanks - I've got 2 of those kids now. Can't remember my last good nights sleep.

Shelley @ My Treasure Hunt said...

Thanks for the tip! I have been thinking about trying something like this!!

'Becca said...

I am SO GLAD to find this isn't a CIO thing!!! What a nice, gentle idea for teaching your son about time and better sleeping (I bet he falls asleep again much faster if he doesn't get out of bed) while also making things convenient for you!

Sherry said...

Sweet! Glad he is sleeping better now. Sweet sleep is something that all of you benefit from. :D

Heather Benza said...

This is a good idea--we're trying it this weekend!! We are not "co-sleepers" either, except apparently my son thinks we are. Ever since he came out of the crib he's been sleeping at least half of the night in our bed. We are too tired usually to take him back to his room, since he'll just be back in 30 minutes.