The Best (AND CUTEST) Christmas Holiday Pajamas for your Kids & THE ENTIRE FAMILY!

The Best (AND CUTEST) Christmas Holiday Pajamas for your Kids & THE ENTIRE FAMILY!

Our family tradition is to not only wear these for the entire month during movie nights, but when they go to bed on Christmas Eve, and of course the following morning when they open presents on Christmas for all those candid photos! Here is my list of the cutest holiday pajamas that I’ve been stalking for months!

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Our Top Toddler Sleep Tips with Disney! Bedtime Essentials, and Easy to Follow Bedtime Routines!

Our Top Toddler Sleep Tips with Disney!  Bedtime Essentials, and Easy to Follow Bedtime Routines!

Hi there!  I’m Lauren Olson, the founder of Sleep and the City, and now the appointed *SLEEP CONSULTANT FOR DISNEY*!! Today we will be diving into some of the mysteries surrounding toddler sleep, how you can avoid potential sleep hurdles at home or while traveling with children, and sharing our secret tips to help your child embrace sleep!

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Daylight Savings 2018: How to "Spring Forward" your Baby and Toddler's Nights, Naps, including Schedule and Early Rising

Daylight Savings 2018: How to "Spring Forward" your Baby and Toddler's Nights, Naps, including Schedule and Early Rising

As a special Thank You to all of my dedicated readers, I'm sharing my super easy (& super secret) Spring Forward Daylight Savings sleep tips today in this post so you can enjoy your summer alongside me!  Wake up- this is parenthood- don't all good things come to an end?! Guess what- this one doesn't have to.  Read more to find out how you can use this time change to your parenting advantage!

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How to Dress Baby for Sleep: Safe Clothing & Bedding Suggestions for every season- with TealBee Organics

How to Dress Baby for Sleep: Safe Clothing & Bedding Suggestions for every season- with TealBee Organics

Baby has finally arrived, and it’s the first night home from the hospital- but what should your baby wear to sleep at night? And what about your older toddler?  Hi, I’m Lauren, certified Sleep Specialist with Sleep and the City, and I’m talking today about how to dress your child comfortably at night during any season (and at any age!) and provide the optimal environment for quality sleep.  Throughout my post today I’ll also include some of my favorite examples of clothing and bedding from TealBee.com, so let’s dive in!

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The Dock A Tot: A Sleep Consultant's Review & The Toddler Bed Transition

The Dock A Tot: A Sleep Consultant's Review & The Toddler Bed Transition

"How do you feel about the Dock-A-Tot?"  and "Do you think I should order the Dock-A-Tot for my child?" These are two questions I receive almost weekly in my Inbox, as this Baby "Must Have" is on the top of most Mama's list of "Wants".  After some extensive research, a little contemplation and my toddler expressing interest about moving into a toddler bed, I finally decided to try the Dock for myself.

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Our Top 10 Toddler Sleep Tips: Solutions to Sleep Problems Ages 2-5

Some can use the toilet (win!).  Some can climb into their own highchairs (nice!).  Most can misbehave (enter palm-in-face emoji here).  All have sleep issues, at least once (cue the groan from parents across the world).  Yes, even the BEST toddler nappers and night sleepers can experience temporary sleep problems from time to time.  Toddler sleep regressions, nightmares, bedtime battles (not to mention, when should they go to bed anyways??), moving to a toddler bed, or introducing a new sibling to the family can all cause night disturbances.  I'll keep it quick, I know your child-free time is precious ;)

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1.  Keep that nap!  So many parents are quick to think, "My child is having more trouble going down for naps, I bet if I drop the nap completely this will work out better in the end."  Perhaps you're right.  Or perhaps you will have a young toddler on a warpath by dinnertime.  Toddlers nap begin to gradually disappear around age 3, over a period of weeks (not a couple days), where naps can become shorter or the child plays the entire time.  Always encourage a quiet time until school age.  Even us adults need some down time after a busy morning.

2.  Beware of Bargaining.  I once read that bargaining is a toddler's currency.  They have nothing else to offer, but to ask for just one more book, one more hug, one more bathroom break.  Occasionally, this is fine, but it's important to stay consistent, and go back to the basics should it spiral out of control.

3.  Nightmares.  As a working-at-home Mom of two, no one understands putting on a quick cartoon more than me while you hustle through a 2-minute shower.  I get it.  Make sure you're monitoring what your children are watching when you're not watching closely, or what the younger sibling is watching WITH the older child.  Imagination in play peaks at age 3, which also means children have the ability to now dream "in sequence", making dreams much more vivid (or terrifying).  

4.  Toddler Rooms: Keep the room around 70 degrees, with white noise playing continuously and limited access to toys to encourage play. This is a room to sleep, not play until midnight.

5.  Nighttime Wakings: Occasionally your toddler will experience one, for a multitude of reasons.  It's best to reassure, stay in your toddler's room, and encourage him or her back to sleep, using as little intervention as possible.

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6.   Pull ups at night are OK!  Many parents will ask me, "What should I do if my toddler wets the bed" or "What should I say if he leaves the room at night to use the bathroom?"  It's perfectly acceptable to allow a pull-up until age 5, when a child's bladder completely matures.  Due to our body's biology, your child should not experience a BM diaper late at night, unless they are experiencing some tummy troubles from dinner of course.  

7.   Moving to a toddler bed is exciting, yet tricky.  This is a VERY exciting time for a young child, so expect some slight regressions at bedtime or in the middle of the night.  Lots of praise for those kiddos that stay (and sleep) in their big kid bed at night!  Purchasing a DockaTot could ease the transition as well, especially for those children that move a lot at night, roll out of the toddler bed, or whom enjoy feeling more safe & secure.

8.  Yes, the "Ok to Wake" color clocks work.  BUY ONE.  (Here's our favorite.)

9.  Rewards are ok and don't have to be grand.  I have my clients take their children to Starbucks for a hot chocolate, or pick a small prize from the Target dollar aisle.  It doesn't have to be a big reward, but if it's worth rewarding (sleeping all night in their room, etc.) then go for it! 

10.  Keep realistic expectations.  These are children, not robots, and not everything will go perfectly or smoothly the first time.  Even as adults we wake up at night, and can't seem to shut our brains off, so give your toddler some slack.  Always reassure, encourage, and take their feelings into consideration.

11.  Keep plenty of wine handy.  (OK, this wasn't a REAL step, but hey, I'm a realistic Mom! ;)

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How To Move Your Baby to a Crib & Toddler into a Big-Kid Bed: The Smooth Transition Guide to Crib, Toddler Bed & Room Acclimation

These are questions I receive over and over in my Inbox & through Facebook; all parents wondering how and when they can move their new infant to the crib, his or her own room, or if a toddler whom has been escaping the crib is ready for a big-kid bed (or when the appropriate time would be to move them into one!)  If you’re ready this, you are not alone- at some point we are all ready to have our rooms back, or finally put up that crib on Craigslist for some extra cash, right?? 

Keep in mind that I always recommend crib acclimation in conjunction with a customized sleep behavioral method (sleep training), so if your child isn’t already sleeping all night contact me here to find out more about accomplishing this first. 

So let’s break it down by age:

Newborns 0-3 Months: I would agree with the AAP (American Association of Pediatrics) here and recommend all newborns co-sleep NEXT to their parent’s bed for the first three months, or at the very least in the same room.  If your newborn is especially noisy, some white noise such a fan can help you sleep while baby is sleeping (ha…ha….what’s sleep with a newborn?)  Some couples, especially those on their 2nd+ kid, choose to sleep baby in their crib from Night #1, but I’m guessing if you’re ready this particular paragraph that’s not the case (it’s hard work navigating down a dark hallway every 2-3 hours am I right?)  So there you have it, co-sleeping at this age, especially for BFing Mommas, is your answer.

Infants and Toddlers Moving to a Crib/Their Own Room:  Starting from 4 months old and up, your child now has the increased ability to self-soothe, and our good friend Melatonin secretes quite regularly now, giving your child the ability to sleep longer stretches at night.  For these reasons, 4 months is the age I recommend moving baby into their nursery, or the room you’d like them to be sleeping indefinitely.  Really think to yourself if you want that sweet noisy angel sleeping in your room when they are 2, 3, 5 years old…..if this isn’t your ideal of paradise, the younger the better to move them to their own room.  So if you’re ready to make the switch, know that infants under 1 year of age usually get used to their rooms at night in 2-3 days, and toddlers over 1 year of age take a little longer (around 7-14 days).  Remind yourself that with change comes protest, and consistency is what will prevail to your preferred outcome.  Below are three steps on how to make it happen:

1)      If your child is under 2 years old, expect some protesting the first few nights.  Therefore begin your bedtime routine about 30 minutes earlier and make sure it’s calm, soothing one where your child is drowsyand ready for sleep.

2)      If your child is over 2 years old, expect some additional manipulation tactics the first couple of weeks.  This could come in the form of “needing one more hug” or crying or the worst- your child coming to find you (aack!).   My rule for this is ONE more drink/hug- not two, not 10.  Keep your bedtime routine super consistent.  Do not engage in additional questions or arguing.  I encourage loveys/favorite blankets at this age, and nightlight that they can quietly look at books with if they aren’t ready to close their eyes just yet.  If they leave the room, silently return them to their room as many time as it takes.  Don’t give in, you can do iiiiiiittttt!

3)      End your bedtime routine in child’s room.  This means pajamas, last bottle (children under 1 only, move last milk/feed to before teeth brushing in toddlers), story time, prayers- all take place now in the nursery or child’s bedroom. 

o   For the quickest results: Lay child in crib drowsy but awake (about a 9 on a scale from 1-10 using soothing techniques or wind down routines for older ones), and provide a lovey that the child can hold.  Say “Goodnight my love” or “It’s time for sleep, I love you…” quietly and leave the room.  If crying ensues (this crying is product of change, usually not because they are in pain or scared), go ahead and wait at least 15 minutes before quickly checking on child with minimal interaction, using only your words from above as reassurance.  Do not pick child up, and only go in to lay down a standing/sitting toddler ONCE.  Loveys & pacifiers can also be replaced if child has thrown it overboard.  Leave again and try not to visit again for another 20 minutes and so on.  If your child has been sleeping through the night already, this process should go fairly smoothly, but know that the first few nights will be the toughest.  It’s always the darkest before the dawn, folks.

o   For the gentle-approach: Lay child in crib drowsy but awake, and provide a lovey that the child can hold.  Say “Goodnight my love” or “It’s time for sleep, I love you…” quietly and stay in the room until child falls asleep.  If crying ensues, go ahead and pick up child to calm them down only ONCE, and sit beside crib using soothing methods such a humming a song or repeating your words above.  Know that your presence alone may be stimulating, so if your child is noticeably more upset with you being in the room, then try the tips above for quicker results.  Every 2-3 nights, repeat process above but move 3-4 feet farther from the crib/bed until you are no longer in sight.  Expect every time you do move, for child to be somewhat upset, but remind yourself that this type of protesting is a product of change, and you’re allowing it, not making it happen (similar to allowing them to cry in a car seat, of course you’re not going to hold them on your lap and drive around instead.)

4)      “What if my child wakes up randomly in the middle of night and cries out for me?”  Super common, and very likely, so prepare yourself.  I advise my clients to wait at least 10 minutes (NOT 9 minutes and 59 seconds, 10.) before checking on child, and make sure you have a video monitor where you can reassure that nothing is really wrong.  If crying lasts over 10 minutes, go ahead and use either the “quick approach” or “gentle approach” above.  If baby has a BM diaper, go ahead and change him or her in the room with minimal lighting, placing them back down once they are clean (wet diapers can usually wait). 

JENNY LIND TODDLER BED  FROM PROJECT NURSERY

JENNY LIND TODDLER BED FROM PROJECT NURSERY

Toddlers moving to a Big-Kid Toddler Bed

Also a super common questions out there!  I recommend that toddlers stay in their cribs until at least age 3, or until they actively (or successfully) attempting to escape the crib, which poses a danger threat.  As for potty breaks, children’s bladders do not fully mature until age 5, so let them know that using a pull-up at night or diaper is perfectly fine (we tell our son it keeps his “booty warm at night”- works like a charm).   Keeping the diaper/pull up on a night will also prevent bed wetting at 3am- and if you find yourself in this situation, double up on sheets and mattress pads so you can pull off the top layer and avoid changing the entire bed half awake.  When your toddler is finally able to move into their own bed, talk about it and let them know the change is coming- children are creatures of habit and structure, they like to know what’s coming next- and how wonderful their new “big-kid” will be and how happy YOU will be that they are now in one.  Most children actually transition fairly well, and you can also invest in side rails, lay pillows on the floor surrounding the bed in case of a midnight fall, or install a baby gate on the doorway to prevent wandering around the house at night if you are worried.

Remember when it comes to the idea sleep environment for our littles, keep those temps 68-72 degrees, have white noise going all night along, and dark dark DARK for infants (I use this custom sized black out shade in my own house, under $50!) , nightlights ok for toddlers.  Good luck everyone, and as always, contact me if you or someone you know may need a little bit of help in the child sleep department. Have a great day and thanks for visiting!

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