My nearly five year old (Laurie) didn’t really like school. He’s been going now since September and every morning he’s been horribly upset as I’ve left him in class.
This year I decided I was going to change that and I have done everything possible to make sure he goes to school happily. This has meant using rewards, sticker charts, helping him visualise happy moments at school and, most importantly, changing my own behaviour.
In the last week I have made sure I am super organised so there’s no room for panic and worried feelings, I’ve left for school earlier than normal so that we have time to stand in the playground for a few minutes and adjust to the new environment. I’ve also used positive language when talking about school and focused on the “five really great things about school” instead of talking about what Laurie doesn’t like. I have also created a moment for us to say goodbye to each other and given Laurie something to do (change his book) as I leave.
Compare this to last year when I would talk to Laurie each day about why he didn’t like school, I would often leave things to the last minute so that we were flustered and rushing by the time we left for school. I would plead with Laurie not to cry as I left, rather than giving him something positive to do while the separation occurred. It might all seem like common sense but I kind of lost my way for awhile.
And now Laurie bounces in and out of school. On Friday he told me he had a brilliant day. “I loved it” he said. This morning he went in with a smile on his face. As I was walking home I realised that Laurie’s feelings about school had changed because I changed the way we were doing things.
It’s just the same when it comes to your little one’s sleep. I often hear people say, “Don’t worry, when she’s ready to sleep through, she will”. But more often than not, that isn’t the case and sleep problems that start in babyhood can continue for life. Ever heard the saying, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you always got”?
If you don’t make changes to improve your baby, toddler, or child’s sleep, then it is very unlikely that it will improve. I’m not saying it’s easy, and you might face a difficult journey ahead. But the result could make you feel as good as I felt when I dropped my smiling son off at school today. So if you do wish you could change your little one’s sleep habits, take a look first at what you are doing now, and then think about how you could do that differently, which may result in a different outcome. And if you need support, you know where we are. And you can always ask a question the Sleepytot Forum.
Happy New Year from the Sleepytot team!