We’ve been through waves of sleeping great and waves of fear, stalling or waking up in the middle of the night. We were in a wave of not staying in bed and one night as I was tucking my daughter in I listened to myself threatening (for the third night in a row) to take away a stuffed animal friend if she got out of bed. It must have been a “good day” for me where I was well rested and thinking clearly because I realized I didn’t want her to stay in bed out of fear of me but I wanted her to stay in bed for herself. This way everybody would win! So this is how I quickly made our sleep chart:
1. She Owns It – she picked out the paper (golden of course) and the crayon (nothing other than purple).
2. The Title, “Good Night Sleep Chart” – it’s about health and rest for a growing body and mind. She doesn’t want to be grumpy the next day and have to take a nap, so she wants a Good Night’s sleep. It says nothing about staying in bed because according to her that’s not the emphasis, it’s just health. Win, win!
3. The Chart, The Goal, The Habit – The goal of this chart is to create habits for sleeping. So the magic number for us was 20 squares/nights, long enough to create a habit and short enough to feel attainable for our (at the time) 4 year old. Every kiddo is different at every age so choose what’s right for you, I think my sister did 7 nights at first for her 3 year old.
4. Where to post, In her room – Eye on the prize. She can see her chart on the wall from where she sleeps, I’ve even tried to hang it in her bed (baby brother keeps tearing it down).
5. Explain – She gets a sticker if she stays in bed all night. It’s okay to get out to use the restroom as long as she goes right back to bed. Also, if there’s an emergency or she’s sick, throwing up or bleeding, it’s of course okay to get out or yell for us.
6. The Reward – Something we needed anyway, something she loves and something associated with sleep: Pajamas!!! She got to pick them out, Minnie Mouse!
We’ve had huge success with this chart! We did have a few nights with no sticker but sometimes I gave her the chance to get 2 stickers the very next night to make up for the night with no sticker. Double the motivation! And 20 nights created a habit!
Sometimes we’ll have a wave of getting out of bed because of a scary movie she’s seen or maybe she’s been sick and we’ll do the chart again. Right now is one of those times, this time I made rows of 5 because I figured out it was better to count in sets of 5 for a 5 year old. 🙂
Other things that have helped with fear at bed time are a flashlight, nightlight, leaving the door open and a prayer. She’ll repeat each line of this prayer after me and she’s got it memorized now so hopefully she says it in the middle of the night if she ever scared.