Posts Tagged ‘ Of Fi I Sing ’

Fia’s Not Sleeping Through The Night Anymore: Why Do Toddlers Do This?

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

My fellow blogger Jill Cordes recently shared that her daughter Fia is waking up at night, after nearly 20 months of sound sleeping. And as a parent who dealt with this myself not that long ago, I had a good (sympathetic!) laugh at Jill’s take on Fia’s new sleep tent. Although Jill’s family is in the middle of big transitions (like moving from the East Coast to the West Coast), what caught my eye was Fia’s current age – she’s 23 months. And the reason for that is toddlerhood is a developmental period when the biology of sleep starts to change dramatically, and as a result, sleep methods often need to be revisited. Here’s why. 

When babies fall asleep, they tend to fall into the REM phase – which is the part of the sleep cycle where you can dream, but your body doesn’t move (you are zonked out). As babies turn into toddlers, they start to adapt more adult-like patterns of sleep, in which they cycle between light and deep sleep. The result is that the perfectly sleep-trained toddler (it doesn’t matter how they have been trained) starts to experience the part of the sleep cycle when they wake up out of nowhere – sometimes repeatedly. It can be very disorienting for them, particularly since they don’t have much experience in getting themselves back to sleep when they wake up from light sleep. So they do what any rational toddler would do – they cry for you. (Click here if you want to read more about kids’ sleep issues).

As Jill discussed, there are lots of other things that go on with toddlers that can mess with their sleep. In addition to life transitions, the newly independent toddler may want to rebel against sleep (amongst other things). But it’s good to keep in mind that there is some biology that is driving this, and so even though it’s discouraging when it happens, it’s not unusual. And one more thing – what worked before doesn’t necessarily work as well now. So sometimes those inclined to use Ferber find they need to modify it some as their kid gets older (not all do, of course). And some who used alternate methods sometimes gravitate more to the Ferber end of the spectrum (not all do, of course). I’m no sleep expert, but this is why my mantra is “sleep outcomes – not sleep methods – matter most” – whatever gets kids to get the amount of sleep they need is good for them and good for their parents.

So I hope things go well for Jill and Fia. I look forward to following their story. I’d like to offer some specific tips or advice, but the thing is, when I was dealing with this, we ended up throwing our hands up in the air and headed for the nearest pediatric sleep clinic. It worked wonders.

Add a Comment
Back To Red-Hot Parenting

“Play Is The Work Of Childhood”

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

One of the pleasures of blogging is following the blogs of other writers. Recently I was taken with a post by Jennifer Margulis titled “Why Is It So Hard To Let My Kids Enjoy Life At Their Own Pace?” She discusses the tendency we parents have to try to make our kids abide by our sensibilities about time – even times when there is no need to rush, such as when they are at a playground. Consider these observations that she offers:

Hurry becomes a habit.

So does scolding.

Even when there’s nothing to be late for, even when no one’s done anything wrong.

Why do we take our children out to do something “fun” and then try to control what they do and make them do it faster?

Jennifer provides lots of insight in this post and it’s a great read for parents. Indeed, this idea of slowing it down is not just important for experiencing the pure pleasure of spending relaxed time with your children (though that’s reason enough). It’s also a way of acknowledging that children have their own important ways of perceiving the world that is tightly connected to their cognitive development. It’s been appreciated for a very long time that children learn best by exploration and manipulation. So when a kid wants to stop and look at explore, they are really expressing their creativity – the mind is in motion, pondering all kinds of possibilities that can be put into immediate action. You all have heard the expression that “play is the work of childhood” – it’s really those moments when that principle comes to life.

Reading Jennifer’s post brought to mind two other posts by fellow bloggers here at  Jill Cordes wrote a terrific piece on dreading – but ultimately loving – going to Sesame Place with her daughter Fia. And “Unexpectedly Expecting” Julia offered a thoughtful look at  how she let go of her “helicopter parenting” tendency and let her daughter Caroline go wild at an amusement park, with the result being they both had a blast.

Beyond the pleasure of reading parents’ descriptions of their conscious efforts of letting loose and following their child’s rhythm, I love these posts because they are a reminder that we need to indulge kids’ natural tendencies to explore. We hear plenty about all kinds of new ways to promote cognitive development and we are certainly on the receiving end of the marketing of educational toys and devices (not that they are all bad, but you get where I’m going with this). We all need to remind ourselves that a simple way to nurture our child’s cognitive development is to just let them do what comes naturally.

Image by photostock courtesy of

Add a Comment
Back To Red-Hot Parenting