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Is it too late to teach my preschoolers how to sleep?

Older siblings case study

Is it too late to teach my preschoolers how to sleep?

This is a question that I get asked all the time, even for younger kids

Have I left it too late to sort out my 12 months old’s sleep?

My 3-year-old is still feeding through the night. I don’t know where to start?

My five-year-old has never slept in her bed, I was told that she would eventually, but she’s nowhere near being able to do it, and now I don’t know how to help her.

It is NEVER too old to change your sleep hygiene and teach your little ones how to sleep better. The only difference is their cognitive understanding and how long the negative associations have been in place.

Regardless of your child’s age, there are some basic routine and sleep foundations that EVERYONE needs to implement we just need to adjust these a little based on your individual situation. For every client and consultation, we discuss these foundations and how you can implement the changes to make the most positive changes you need for your family. That’s the secret sauce about seeking professional help, I can help you create the best plan you’re your family based on years of experience with  over 15 thousand clients

Although the most common age I work with is from birth to 3 years, I often work with older children. Recently I worked with a family with two little girls, aged 7 and 3 yrs old. These girls had an impeccable routine and diet. Their parent’s routine was the poster child for perfect parents- perfect routine and balance of holistic parenting.

Parents had been co-sleeping in the same room as a family up until last year when they moved home. The girls have since shared a bed and room.

The family had a beautiful bedtime routine – Connection time at the end of the day, no T.V, warm bath, wind down in their room, white noise, lavender essential oils, stories and cuddles before bed- beautiful routine-  then one parent (usually mum) would lay with them until they fell asleep.

At this point, it could take up to 45 minutes before both girls would be settled and their parents could leave the room, and as I’m sure you understand, after 45 minutes of laying in a dark room trying to get your little ones to sleep renders you useless for the rest of the night. Parents were missing out on time together or time just to get other things done in the evening as they are both working parents.

Overnight the girls would not sleep through. Both would wake a couple of times throughout the night and come into their parent’s room. Mum and dad were up several times between 11-4 am, returning them back into their own beds and waiting with them until they fell back to sleep.

The multiple wakes up impacted anxiety, especially for the 7-year-old. This is very common with older children who have not learnt how to self-regulate earlier and seek support externally to settle/calm to go to sleep.

One of the wonderful by-products of teaching your children how to self-settle to sleep is teaching them how to regulate their emotions (age-appropriately), if you are the external emotional regulator, as their emotions become more complex, their anxiety can increase as they won’t always have you there to help them regulate.

For this family, we used a version of my Taming Toddlers Bedtime Programme we adjusted it accordingly to suit this family’s unique situation and after the initial consultation and implementation, we had regular check-ins over the next 3 weeks and adjusted the settling plan as the girls improved in their sleep.

By week 3 the girls were both sleeping in their own beds in their own room, self-settling and sleeping all night long.

Both girls were proud of themselves and their ability to do it by themselves they were happier and more confident with their new skills.

This was mums feedback after our consultation:

After several years of co-sleeping in the same room, our family moved into a house with smaller bedrooms and we couldn’t fit all the beds in one room. We moved our daughters, 7 and 3 years old, into their own bedroom. This change proved challenging as our girls would regularly come through and wake us up in the night. With the professional guidance of Lullaby SOS, our girls are now settling themselves independently at bedtime and staying in their own beds all night long. We can’t thank you enough!

We are in awe of how well the simple, child-friendly techniques have supported us and our girls along their sleep journey.

A further update to this is that 2 months after working with you the girls are now happily sleeping in their OWN rooms and loving it. Both have grown so much in their independance.



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