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Keeping Toddler Sleep On Track

Eva Amurri Martino talks keeping toddler sleep on track

Oh Lawd, are we IN IT.  I know that any life change can bring a bit of a “regression” when it comes to small children.  And I am here to tell you that our recent move is really bringing that out in the Martino family! We have been out of our home for almost a month, and it turns out our interior renovations on our new home won’t be done for yet another month.  This moment of limbo has effected our entire family, and most clearly the kiddos! As any parent knows, the first thing to “go” during a major family transition is SLEEP. Aggghhhh.  Today, a group of bloggers are all writing about our own personal experiences with sleep when it comes to our kiddos, so I thought I would share a bit more about what we’ve been experiencing with Marlowe and Major recently– and what I do to keep their sleep on track! Make sure to read all the way through for links to the other blogger babes’ posts!

Eva Amurri Martino talks keeping toddler sleep on track

Neither of my kids nap.  Marlowe dropped her nap at 2.5 years old, and Major dropped his just after he turned two. What do I mean by “dropped the nap”? I started noticing some cues that they were done with sleeping in the afternoon.  Both kids would take a long time to fall asleep at nap time, and even if they slept for just an hour or less, they would be up until 9pm or 10pm.  It was so stressful having them awake all night long, and it would totally throw off the whole schedule flow for the next as well.  After I pulled their naps everything fell in to place.  Of course, occasionally they will fall asleep in the car or need a little nap before a big occasion or if they’re not feeling well.  But I would say they both skip a nap 98% of the time. During this transition we’re in currently, I’ve noticed them both needing a nap a lot more often.  

I’m not sure what it is.  Is it the stress of a move? The fact that they are doing more than they were before, with more time in the car ferrying between school and activities, and then back to our rental in the woods? Who knows.  But those kids are tired! I’ve even moved bedtime up a half hour or so on multiple evenings and honestly they seemed relieved. From the beginning I’ve had a pretty strict bedtime schedule.  And as my kids became toddlers and moved in to big kid beds, I used different tools to make sure that the structure they were used to stayed strong.  My best tool has been the toddler alarm clock! I’ve written about how I use it, but it was one of the most important thinks I bought along with us to the rental.  It was really important to me to keep their night time routine really solid as we moved in to this more fluid period of time for our family.  I brought along their alarm clocks, their sound machines, and their lovey’s of course! I also made sure to set aside their favorite books and stuffed animals for bedtime.  My kids thrive with routine, and so I made every effort to keep their routines exactly the same, no matter which house they were going to sleep in. 

And did they sleep? HECK NO. NOPE.  NO.  For the first week in our rental house, my kids woke up at least once in the night, and then woke up for the day at around 6am.  Which is a full hour before they normally do.  They toddler alarm clocks kept them in their rooms for the most part, but they would call to each other across the hallway and wake up the whole house.  Not to mention that the rental house didn’t have window treatments that kept any light outside their rooms early in the morning.  At least I could order some blackout shades and remedy that problem.  As the weeks have gone on, some things have gotten better, and some things have gotten worse.  Marlowe woke up in the middle of the night four days ago and tapped me awake in my bed saying she needed a drink of water (she has a water bottle on her bedside table nightly), and that she was afraid of the dark (never heard this from her ever).  That was the first time she had ever woken up and wandered the house at night, and it was really difficult to get her to settle back in her bed.  I was awake with her for two hours, just calming her down.  

Eva Amurri Martino talks keeping toddler sleep on track

It’s tough as a parent, because I feel like I’m constantly bridging the gap between normal human frustration about losing sleep or adjusting to new behaviors– and the full on acknowledgment that my kids are going through something emotionally challenging that deserves a lot of compassion.  I tend to be very great with compassion for a week or two, and then my compassion slowly loses steam.  And then the tired Mom pokes through.  It’s not easy! Major has vastly improved with his sleeping in the rental house, and is more or less sleeping as he normally would.  Marlowe is not.  We’ve recently made a deal with her that she can sleep with Kyle and I  (or I will sleep with her in her room) once a week.  So far this has stuck as a special treat that helps keep her in her own bed the other nights and is a pretty good compromise.  I’m sure once we settle in to a house she knows is “forever” the context will change.  But for now I feel pretty good about taking that extra time and energy to let her know her concerns are heard and that we here to support each other as a family.  Plus I’m not gonna lie, I enjoy those extra snuggles! LOL.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned during this parenting journey, it’s that this all moves SO crazy fast.  She already seems like a teenager– it’s nice to know she ever wants Kyle and I anymore!

I’m curious if any of you noticed any sleeping setbacks during transitional family times, and any tips you might have.  Plus make sure to check out all of these blogs below for more posts about sleep! I’ve noticed this to be the most popular topic among parents to date, and there are some great stories to check out. 

Lemon Stripes

Hello Adams Family

Pure Joy Home

Danielle Moss

Kelly in the City

Isn’t That Charming

Photographs by Julia Dags

Marlowe & Major’s Pajamas: HEA x Masala Baby

Eva Amurri Martino talks keeping toddler sleep on track

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1 Comment

  1. Meaghan says:

    My 2 yo is in that awful spot: if she takes a nap she is up all night, but if she doesn’t nap then she is miserable all day. We haven’t found the right balance yet. My husband stays home with my children during the day and…well…he’s mostly just feeding them and making sure they don’t die. So, not helpful in developing a new routine. 😕

    Transition periods are very hard, but I think routine and consistency is the key as you have done. My husband opened a restaurant a year ago and I have found the times when he is working a crazy schedule is when bedtime becomes the hardest. It was hard to become a single mom every night, but now I actually prefer it because my girls know the routine with mom!

    I just wonder if my children have discussions and purposely take turns being difficult sleepers…

    03.06.19 Reply