For parents and children alike, the transition from crib to bed is a big milestone. Your days of tucking your wee one to sleep and knowing they will stay in bed are gone. For them, this new-found independence can lead to troubles with settling and sleeping.
Tracey Ruiz (aka the Sleep Doula) has seven tips to help make the transition easier for everyone.
- Make it a big deal. Moving from a crib to a bed is an important step. Before making the transfer, talk to your child about how exciting it is that they are old enough to sleep in a ‘big kid’s bed’. Have them be a part of the adventure by taking them shopping and allowing them choose new bedding.
- Safety is a must. Now that your toddler has their freedom, be prepared that they will be looking to explore. Ensure their room is safe and minimize the areas they can explore. Anchor dressers and large furniture, limit access to drawers and closets, and ensure they can’t get into any creams or lotions. I always sit in the middle of room before we start the first night and try to think of any troubles a toddler can get into. Believe me, Vaseline is terrible to clean off walls and out of toddlers hair.
- Routine, routine, routine. Even though they are sleeping in a different bed, try to keep to a similar bedtime routine as they had in the crib. Just remember, be prepared they will try to modify things with their new independence.
- Be prepared for negotiations. It is important to try to anticipate your toddler’s needs before they even ask. This way you can show them where everything is there e.g. Sippy cup of water, pacifier, teddy, or even Kleenex. You should also be prepared that they may ask you to cuddle with them for just a few more minutes. If you do, try using a timer so there is no negotiating how long.
- Stay firm and be strong. The first few nights your child will try to test the limits of their newly acquired freedom by roaming the room. It is important you stick to your guns and walk them back to their new bed. Be stern that it is bedtime and time to sleep but be patient—this is an exciting time for them.
- Fill them with praise. We all love encouragement so make sure in the morning you praise them for sleeping in their bed, like ‘big kids do’. For toddlers who like rewards, have a chart and if they can sleep in their bed alone each night, they get a star. Five stars equal a special day with mom and dad or a special gift.
- Some helpful tools. Having a special night light, white noise machine, or a special stuffed ‘bed friend’ can all make the transition easier for your toddler. To help them understand when it’s time to come out of their bed, try using a digital clock with only the hour showing.
Tracey Ruiz aka The Sleep Doula, a mother of two, offers sleep solutions for children. Working in the trenches with thousands of families over the last nine years, Tracey has seen it all. Co-sleepers, 15-minute nappers, babies who can sleep standing up, parents who don't like to hear their baby cry…you name it, she’s seen it and helped parents solve it. Through Tracey’s extensive experience, she knows there’s never a ‘one size fits all’ solution. Every situation, every family, every child is different. Visit www.sleepdoula.com
With Earth Day quickly approaching, going green is top of mind for many—my family included. But instead of trying to live green for one day or one month, what if you and your family made a long-term commitment to reducing your environmental footprint?
I’ve recently discovered millions of homes across the country share a dirty little secret—Canadian households typically have three zones that can consume up to 60% of energy usage. However, by making small, mindful changes, families can turn their impact from negative to positive.
In my books, Green For Life and There’s Lead in Your Lipstick, I talk about the small and easy changes families can incorporate into their day-to-day lives to eliminate harmful chemicals, save on energy costs and leave you feeling good about your environmental footprint. By focusing on each area as a ‘greenable zone’, it is possible to unlock countless environmental saving opportunities.
The first step is to identify which areas of your life have the most potential for green living—if your family is anything like mine, you undoubtedly spend the most time in the kitchen and there are several simple changes that can be made:
- What are you cleaning your countertops with? Our food is in direct contact with whatever chemical ingredients we use to clean kitchen surfaces, so make sure to avoid hazardous toxins in your kitchen cleaning products.
- Keep a pitcher of cold water filled from the tap in your fridge. Why? The water helps maintain the cool temperature inside and allows your refrigerator to work more effectively at a lower temperature.
- Did you know a simple sheet of paper can help detect heat loss from your stove? Use Gill’s simple paper trick to discover if your stove is leaking the heat you’ve spent good money on for baking and cooking.
- Ever wonder why your dishwasher has a delay button? Many newer model washers allow you to set a later time for dishwashing so your energy consumption occurs during off-peak hours when electricity rates are lower and energy consumption is less taxing to the grid.
Where does an estimated 65% of your home’s total indoor water use take place? The bathroom. In this room, small simple changes can make a big impact:
- Start a family shower challenge and save on water and energy use by reducing the amount of time everyone spends under the hot water. Set a timer in the shower; the goal is five minutes, but you can work your way down in increments. See which family member can take the shortest showers.
- Install a low-flow showerhead to make your shower pressure feel stronger while actually using less water. Available at any hardware store, the low-flow showerhead is a no-brainer.
- Be aware of the product you use to clean your sink and tub. Non-biodegradable chemicals impact our water supply and also come in contact with small children taking baths.
As Canadians, there are many alternatives that we can start to integrate into our daily lives that will help make the planet a cleaner, healthier and more enjoyable place to live. The laundry room is the final room in the house where small changes can make a big difference:
- Overhaul your laundry shelf by purchasing products that only offer biodegradable detergents, and packaging made from post consumer waste. Seventh Generation for example makes a biodegradable and non-toxic detergent that even comes in a fully compostable package.
- What is the cheapest and easiest way to avoid static cling before it happens? Scrunch up a ball of tinfoil and toss it in the dryer to eliminate static electricity.
- To prolong the lifespan of your washing machine, clean it once a year by running a full (light) cycle with 2 cups of white vinegar.
There are lots of great online resources that offer tips and tricks on how to live a greener life—education is the key. I follow several green companies online for daily tips and green giveaways; my personal favourite is Seventh Generation.
Award-winning broadcaster and bestselling author Gillian Deacon is one of Canada’s best-known environmental writers. She is the author of the national bestsellers There’s Lead in Your Lipstick: Toxins in Everyday Bodycare and How to Avoid Them
and Green For Life
, a guide to making sustainable living ‘the new normal’. Find out more about Gillian at gilldeacon.ca