Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Separation and Sleep: Our Strategies

It has become clear in the few weeks that we have been home that Jadon has some anxieties relating to separation. Though, most of the time, you would just observe a joyful, somewhat mischievous boy, naptimes and evening bedtimes can reveal another perspective. Without Mike or I in the room with him, Jadon begins to wail, frantic and unable to calm himself. While we are tempted to let him "cry it out," we wonder if that would really help him to settle the anxieties that seem to be connected to his sleeptime efforts.

We have come up with the following strategies to help reduce Jadon's anxieties relating to the separation at bedtime:

-We try to stick to a predictable bedtime routine: pajamas, brush teeth, read Bible story, sing, pray, potty, kisses, tuck in.

-I speak reassuringly to Jadon about the process: I am near. I know he can fall asleep on his own; I am also firm about our groundrules. He must lie down, and he must be quiet.

-Mike or I sit at the desk across the room until we are sure Jadon is asleep. I usually bring a book or the laptop up in order to focus my attention away from the anxious sleep-fighter.

-We plan to keep this routine the same for at least one week before moving our chair slightly farther away.

Other strategies that we are using include connection with his blankie. I try to carry his small fleece blankie around most of the day (yeah, in July!) in order to make it a transitional object. Daytime snuggles with me also include blankie. The idea is that when the time comes for him to be alone in his room, he will have this "symbol" of Mom's presence to comfort him.

Additionally, we play sleeping games in which we pretend to sleep and wake up. Sometimes I leave and come back to wake him up. Sometimes I'm the one quietly falling asleep so he can wake me up. Basically, the idea is to make sleeping less scary.

If he wakes up during the night, Mike or I go upstairs and lie on the floor beside his bed. He seems to have nightmares fairly often. He also wakes earlier than we would prefer, and we are trying to help him to extend his quiet, rest time until an hour that makes for less grumpy family members!!!

This is our current strategy. I'll let you know how it works out!

Also, we've had a lot of fun moments in the last couple days. Here's a peek:
We played Ethan's new game, Buckaroo, after supper one night. Every time the donkey kicked, Jadon would be freeze for about two seconds and then giggle like crazy. This caused Ethan to purposefully cause bucking as often as possible!
We started a simple curriculum to introduce French to the kids. Today we learned "Bonjour!" and "Au revoir." Ethan will start in French immersion kindergarten in just a couple weeks. When in Quebec...

To break the heat, we filled three totes with water and let the kids splash away.

After the splashing, the kids helped clean out the mixing bowl. Peanut butter cake to come!


Rose said...

Sounds like you are making wise decisions and doing all you can to make the sleep adjustments. I know you really must be looking forward to a full, quiet night's sleep! Maybe when Andrew arrives, the adjustment will be easier. We're praying for you!

Mel Mac said...

Man, you guys are creative parents! Sounds like things are going well, at least in your awake time! We have a bunch of books to give away - our kids have outgrown them - and some girlie clothes that may fit Abby soon. Let me know if you're interested. It was great to see you guys the other evening. Let's do that again soon - maybe thisafternoon? They're promising sunshine!

the Steiger's said...

you guys are doing a great job!!! I am sure you are on the right track when it comes to sleep. For Jordan it was bed time at the same time each day. She would get all worked up even if it was 1/2 hour later.
I think of you often and wish you were closer.
Love, LEnka