I’m proud to say that the past weeks, I’ve successfully made Raviv sleep earlier than he usually did in the past months. And embarrassingly, his “usually” was between 10-11 p.m. I know, right? To think that he doesn’t even take a nap in the afternoon! He’s so full of energy and can fight off lethargy and drowsiness. Sobrang tindi ng energy ni Raviv, you wouldn’t believe it!
But we all know the benefits of sleeping early, and of sleeping sufficiently. Like at Gymboree, when a child is not in the mood (cranky, always crying), parents would often say it’s because puyat daw ‘yung bata. Plus of course we all know that sufficient sleep is important for a child to maximize his height potential.
So the past nights when Raviv voluntarily lies down on bed and gets ready to sleep at 8:30 p.m., I couldn’t help but gloat. Even if he doesn’t fall asleep right away, I still feel like a huge success.
What’s the secret? They’re no secret at all. My methods are all well-known, but consistency is key. I repeat, consistency is key. Here are what have worked for Raviv, my tips on how to make your toddler/preschooler sleep early:
1. Bathe your child in warm water. Raviv hates warm water, as in. But warm water helps in calming and relaxing the body. If your child is like Raviv (although feeling ko mas maraming bata ang gusto ng warm water), this may help: what I do is I boil teabags and infuse Raviv’s warm water with tea and calamansi. The little boy looooves the scent. This way, I am able to convince him to bathe in warm water. Warm, fragrant water. Ang arte ‘di ba? But it works.
2. Do something in bed that helps relax your child. Scan your memory and ask yourself what is it that you do to your toddler/preschooler that relaxes him/her. It could be gently combing your child’s hair while she is lying on your lap. Some moms I know gently massage their children. In Raviv’s case, it’s cleaning his ears. Yep, he loves it when I clean his ears. Works like magic! I realized that when I was cleaning his ears one morning. Grabe ayaw nang tumayo at tumahimik nang bongga! So I’ve made it a habit to clean Raviv’s ears at night instead.
Aside from cleaning his ears, another of his favorites is his “Itchy sa back”. Yes, nagpapakamot ng likod. Expertise ko ito, hehe. I could even manipulate Randy into not going out at night by scratching his back. The technique is this: your nails should NOT be “pudpod”, and you should slowly scratch—up, down, up, down. Dapat din kakagat ‘yung nails sa skin, but gently.
3. Play lullabyes. I thought it didn’t work, but when Raviv is in the brink of sleep and I stop the music, he would request me to play music again. And then he would be in the arms of Morpheus already.
Bonus: If your child is below 5 years old, playing classical music helps pa in his brain development. O ‘di ba?
No need to buy classical music CD’s—Spottify lang ang katapat n’yan! I just keyed in “baby lullabyes”and lo and behold, a number of playlists appeared. Panira nga lang during the “commercial break”—Raviv suddenly is jolted. But make sure there is no light emitting from your iPad because check #4.
4. Turn off the lights, TV and gadgets. I know, I know, I know. Mahirap ito. But you must. I read that strong light–whether it’s beaming down from the sun or up from the screens of personal electronics–can reset a person’s internal sleep clock.
I also noticed that if Raviv plays with the iPad (kesehodang educational ‘yan o nanonood lang s’ya sa YouTube ng unboxing video) or watches TV, it’s more difficult to make him sleep. And he has bad dreams. I know because binubugbog n’ya ako when he’s sleeping and he’s shouting.
But now that I scared him into thinking that iPad at night causes blindness (partly true, as it causes vision problems naman talaga), he sleeps more easily and peacefully.
5. Have a lights-off routine with your child. If the lights are already turned off and your child is still wide awake, start a routine with him that signals it’s time to sleep. Because when they aren’t sleepy yet, ang daldal ng mga ‘yan! My routine with Raviv is that we pray first. He repeats after me. Sometimes hinahabaan ko ang prayer para mapagod s’ya and he would yawn and tell me he’s already sleepy. Hehe. If not, we talk about his day while I stroke his hair and hug him. The past nights he asks me to practive him with subtraction. I have come to cherish this routine. Since I’m busy practically the whole day, it’s my chance to talk to Raviv tenderly. I think these moments validate that I love him and I care for him.
‘Yan lang, actually. They work, but again I repeat: Consistency is key. It didn’t work the first or even the second night I used all of the above methods. But I just did them again and again and again, until he got used to sleeping early.
And I assure you, ang sarap when your child sleeps early (sexy time with hubby, here we come!!! 😉 ) If you really need to work, at least you can work continuously without interruption. Plus you even spent time with your child. Kesa naman you didn’t take time off to let him sleep and ‘pag kinulit ka while working magagalit ka. Relate ba? 😉
Before I go, let me repeat for the last time: consistency. is. key.
Tell me what you think!
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