Sleep coaching siblings in the same room

Learn about: Sleep coaching siblings in the same room from Kim West, LCSW-C,...
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Sleep coaching siblings in the same room

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So I'm often asked, how do I sleep coach my 3 and my 5 year old who share a room? They're both in beds. It's like a party once lights are out and the parent leaves the room. This is of course not uncommon. And I've even had both parents lying down with the 3 and 5 year old until they're asleep and then you know all havoc breaks loose in the middle of the night. So usually I tell parents, you know what? Let's sleep coach them at the same time? Because they both need to know how to put themselves to sleep and they're already sharing a room. So I suggest you have a family meeting before bedtime, maybe after dinner or before dinner or even during dinner and you go over, mommy and daddy are no longer going to be lying down with you at bedtime until you fall asleep. And we're going to stay with you and teach you how to put yourself to sleep. So we've made up these sleep manners. And you have your little chart. Cooperates at bedtime. Lies quietly in bed. Stays in bed quietly until the wake up light comes on. Those are three examples. You can tweak it to your situation. And you go over that, and you say that means now tonight when mommy and daddy have our story with you or our nice relaxing bedtime routine, and we have kisses and we have the lights off, there's going to be no more talking. And mommy or daddy or both or however you want to do it are going to stay until you're asleep. So if you have only one parent who's available, because you don't actually need to have two at this point, you can just sit in the middle of the room or you can sit in a chair by the door. And you can just keep reassuring them and shushing them. If they are the kind of kids who have had really much more help going to sleep, like being rubbed to sleep or twirling your hair to sleep, then you might need to do the divide and conquer. Have one parent sit next to each one of them and slowly reduce your intervention. A little less patting. A little saying we're all done twirling mommy's hair. Now you have to twirl your hair. And we have to do all these kinds of things until they're asleep. And trying not to have a lot of interaction. And then you leave. And when they wake up in the middle of the night, you quietly bring them back. You remind them of their sleep manners and that their wake up light is not on and that they have to lie quietly in your chair. I've seen this work successfully all the time. Thousands of families. It really can work. You just have to be consistent for long enough. Until finally your children say I see what happens now when it's bedtime and when I wake up in the middle of the night.

Learn about: Sleep coaching siblings in the same room from Kim West, LCSW-C,...

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Kim West, LCSW-C

Psychotherapist & Author, The Sleep Lady's Good Night, Sleep Tight

Kim West is a mother of two and a Licensed Certified Social Worker-Clinical (LCSW-C) who has been a practicing child and family social worker for more than 19 years. Known as The Sleep Lady by her clients, over the past 12 years she has helped thousands of tired parents all over the world learn to listen to their intuition, recognize their child’s important cues and behaviors, and gently create changes that promote and preserve his or her healthy sleep habits. 

West has appeared on the Dr. Phil, Today Show, NBC Nightly News, Good Morning America, TLC’s Bringing Home Baby  and CNN, and has been written about in a number of publications including The Wall Street Journal, Associated Press, Baby Talk,  Parenting, The Baltimore Sun, USA Today, The Telegraph, The Irish Independent and the Washington Post. West hosts the sleep section of The Newborn Channel, played in maternity wards in hospitals across the country. West is the author of The Sleep Lady's Good Night, Sleep Tight: Gentle Proven Solutions to Help Your Child Sleep Well and Wake Up Happy with Joanne Kenen. She is also the author of 52 Sleep Secrets for Babies and The Good Night, Sleep Tight Workbook.

Kim received her master’s degree in Clinical Social Work from Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts. She lives with her family in Annapolis, Maryland.

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