Kids & Sleep: “Cry-It-Out”

Today, lets talk about what to do now that we know why children should have a nap schedule, how to chart baby’s routine to figure out when they should nap, and how to set up their environment: methods to get them to learn to sleep on their own.

I know there are tons of different methods to getting your baby to sleep on their own and learn to self-sooth. You can use many different comfort ideas from the environment post but a method that's worked for us is "crying-it-out". Before you go to ranting on me about my inhumanity hear me out.

After you've made sure that baby's needs have been met and your sure of their sleep routine use these steps to help them learn to fall asleep on their own {Make a routine of exactly how you do it}.

There is the original "Cry-It-Out" Method but our pediatrician suggested the 5 minute rule so this is how we do it for nap time:

  • Tell baby/child it's nap time
  • Carry them to their bedroom
  • Turn on ceiling fan and turn off all lights
  • Turn on music
  • Rock and snuggle for just a few seconds
  • Place baby, Still Awake, in the safe and comfortable sleeping environment
  • Provide comfort items that are age appropriate
  • Say "night night" and walk out of the room

IF baby cries:

  • Wait 5 minutes
    {if they're still crying}
  • Go into the room and check to make sure they are safe
  • Have clean diaper
  • Lay them back down if they are standing
  • Cover them with blanket {if they have one}
  • Pat them on the back for a couple seconds
  • Say "night night" and walk out of the room
  • Wait 10 minutes
    {if they're still crying}
  • Do the same routine again {try not to pick up the child or even tough them if possible}
  • Continue this adding 5 minutes each time

We have rarely made it to 15 minutes of them still crying unless they end up having poop or something. This shows the child you are attentive to them but assures them you mean it when you say it's time for nap. I'm not gonna lie: it's super hard!!! But when we were consistent with doing it the crying got less and less and eventually subsided all together. We've tried other methods like rocking. Our kids ALWAYS woke up when we tried to lay them down no matter how long we rocked.

Good luck! Have any of you used this method or a variation of this? Share your successes or even failures with napping.

This is the 3nd in a series I'm doing on Kids & Sleep. You might also want to read

 Why Should Children Have a Nap Schedule,

Charting Baby's Routine, and

Environment .

{These may change a little based on comments and questions as we go}

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Kids & Sleep: Environment

After talking about why our babies need sleep and how to figure out when they need sleep. Lets talk a little about actually getting them TO SLEEP.

Environment plays a huge part in getting your baby to sleep and to stay asleep. Again, I've read and researched tons as well as talked to many friends and pediatricians about sleep environment. Here are the things I've found to help my babes {and many others}:

  • Safety 1st

SIDS {sudden infant death syndrome} is a huge concern. To reduce the risk of SIDS follow these simple steps-

  1. Back is best: always put baby to sleep on his/her back. When they begin rolling over on their own, allow them to but always put them down on their back. Swaddling can provide comfort, warmth, and keep that startle reflex from waking them without sleeping on their tummy.
  2. Use firm sleeping surfaces: a firm mattress is best but even when using a pack-n-play make sure the "extra padding" you may use is tucked securely under a fitted sheet all the way around the pad.
  3. Keep soft objects and loose bedding out of the crib: cutesy bedding and stuffed animals may be super cute for photo time but are not safe for baby's sleep. Even providing your baby with a small blanket should be postponed as long as possible. Bumper pads seem provide cushion for baby's head when snuggling against the railing and keeps that paci from falling out but makes it dangerous for baby to get caught in or to use for baby acrobatics when he/she begins climbing.
  4. No co-sleeping but close sleeping: there's nothing sweeter than snuggling with a sleeping infant but having them in your bed can be one of the most dangerous conditions for baby combining many of the other hazards. Having your baby in their own bed in your room during infancy can make listening for them safer.
  5. Offer a pacifier at nap and bed times: pacifiers are a good source of comfort for baby, help with breathing for infants, and are easier to transition out of using than a thumb.
  6. No bottles in the bed: "Don't feed a child of any age from a bottle while he or she is lying in bed. Lying down while drinking from a bottle can lead to blocked auditory tubes."
  7. Keep the room and baby cool: keeping your home around 70', your baby in comfortable, warm clothing {but not too warm} will help breathing during sleep
  8. Smoke free home: smoke will hinder lung developement and obstruct breathing of everyone in the family and especially baby

More resources on safe sleeping HERE and HERE.

  • Black out room:

"Baby’s circadian rhythms develop over the course of the first 2-4 months. Exposure to natural light helps to set the circadian rhythm early on." At the same time, blocking out light during naps using blackout shade, thick curtains, or even a blanket will help baby know it's time to sleep.

  • Play quiet instrumental music:

classical music is proven to help brain developement in children, quiet music is calming {music with words may encourage play rather than sleep}, and the light noise will help distract from other noise in the home during sleep time

  • Only use the room for sleeping:

avoiding toys in the room will help baby know it's time for nap and minimize play

  • For older children:

  1. A small stuffed animal blanket creature or simple stuffed animal may be a good transition for older children who need a little extra comfort when they are at the age to know they are missing out on something.
  2. Patting or rubbing their back can help calm them. I recommend only doing this for a short time and still allow them to sooth themselves all the way to sleep.
  3. Laying next to him/her is some times the only resort for getting big kids to lay still enough to fall asleep. This is a habit I don't really like but we are currently having to do with our 4-year-old who still desperately needs naps. This is super hard with 2 younger siblings on different nap schedules but gets the job done. DO NOT Co-Sleep! This is a habit you'll regret and will be crazy hard to get out of for both of you. Try transitioning from laying next to them, to sitting next to them, to being in the room, and then eventually right outside the door/outside the room.

I would encourage you to click away in this post. Each blue colored word is a link to another resource. There are so many more out there though. I couldn't get it all in this one post.

Hope this was helpful! Let me know what tricks you've got and please share the ones I didn't have room to include!

This is the 3nd in a series I'm doing on Kids & Sleep. You might also want to read

Why Should Children Have a Nap Schedule,

Charting Baby's Routine, and

"Cry-It-Out" . {These may change a little based on comments and questions as we go}

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Kids & Sleep: Charting Baby’s Routine

I told you yesterday that I was a stressed out mamma with my 1st baby as well as all about what I've learned about Why Should Children Have a Nap Schedule. Most days, she's the one I'm stressing over still. Poor first children always end up being the "test baby" no matter what ;o) We noticed all our kids forming a routine around 3-6 months. I am writing these because, though many people may think we are odd for stressing over a baby's sleep, I know all to well this is a real issue for stay-at-home-moms!

During her first year, I had read so much about the importance of her sleeping and then she wouldn't...well, at least she wouldn't stay asleep. One week she would go every day taking a thousand 30 minute naps. then the next week she would do 45 minute naps. With all my research I'd learned that unless your baby was sleeping 1 full hour {hopefully a minimum of 1.5 hours} per nap they weren't really getting the rest they needed during their nap.

My best friend who has kids almost the exact ages of mine was struggling with this as well. With 2 mamma's on the hunt for an answer she finally found someone who told us the key {my friend ROCKS and found this online resource for you:, this book is AWEsome!}:

  • If your baby is waking after only 30 minutes of sleep- they were over tired when you put them down.
  • If your baby is waking after only 45 minutes of sleep- they weren't tired enough when you put them down.

That sounds easy enough, right?!? I wish. I learned the general 30-45 minute naps being over or under tired were very true but learning my baby's cues was hard. This lead to me charting her day for about a week {another suggestion I'd read}. This HELPED! I didn't have a computer {plus I'm obsessed with graph paper} so I simply took a piece of graph paper, a pencil and a ruler and when to town making 30 minute time slots. I dedicated an entire week to trying to stay home and do nothing but focus on her sleep.

My chart consisted of:

  • morning wake time
  • nursing times
  • play times
  • naps
  • wake times
  • bath
  • night time bed time
This is a more resent chart I've done with our, now family of 5. Sorry, I think I finally threw her original ones away. This will at least give you an idea. {note: charting your entire family is good for learning your kids patterns as well as learning where you spend your time and might find some extra wasted time you didn't know you had ;o)}

After doing this for several days I began noticing she actually did have a pattern. Some babies may seem inconsistent but if you chart them for even just a few days you'll notice a routine. I also began noticing her cues for sleepiness as well {more about cues tomorrow}. Some days were 30 minute naps, some where 45 and eventually I hit the perfect mark for laying her down which resulted in an hour and 1/2 to two hour naps!

I've learned from that very first time charting, that my babies seem to have a typical hourly pattern. We don't go down for naps at a certain time of day every day but we do have a set amount of "awake time".

  • Maggie is now 4-years-old and has about 5-6 hours of awake time before she needs to go down for a nap, giving her 1 short nap a day.
  • Izzie is 2.5-years-old and has about 4-5 hours of awake time before she needs to go down for a nap, giving her at least 1 long nap or 2 short ones a day.
  • Jamin is 1.5-years-old and has about 2 hours of awake time before he needs to go down for a nap, giving him at least 2 naps a day, some days 3.

Knowing this also makes it easy to tell babysitters their routine and what to expect rather than hoping they catch their sleepy cues in time. Having a routine makes it easier to plan things like grocery shopping with fewer crabby kids because you know when they should be sleeping and aren't expecting them to be cheerful and ready to run errands. You will no longer be surprised when they pass out in the car or are screaming while you are trying to take a phone call.

I hope this helps those mom's who are having the all to real stress of figuring out your baby's sleep! Questions I didn't answer? Ask away!

This is the 2nd in a series I'm doing on Kids & Sleep. You might also want to read

Why Should Children Have a Nap Schedule,

Environment, and the

"Cry-It-Out" Method.

{These may change a little based on comments and questions as we go}

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Kids & Sleep: Why Should Children Have a Nap Schedule

I had my 1st child at 24-years-old. I had just finished my psychology degree and had been waited to be a mommy all my life! I had grandiose ideas of what it would and wouldn't look like, some of which I still stick to and others of course have developed and changed over the past 4 years. One of the 1st things I stressed about was learning what my new baby needed and how to figure that out. The thing that helped me the most in accomplishing this was learning her routine, patterns, or "putting her on a schedule", as some call it.

I've had tons of advice sent my way in these past 4 short years. Sleeping has been one of the major ones I've heard about: She needs more sleep. Do your thing, when she's tired she'll pass out. Let her drop where she may. Scheduling everything. Stay home during her napping years. Everyone needs their own room for sleep. She sleeps too much. Chunk'm all in a bed. Why do you do that?

I've sifted through it all. Deciding what advice is God-send and what isn't for our family. Here are a few of the things I've learned, believe in, and have adopted concerning my babies and their sleep:

1-4 Weeks Old:15 - 16 hours per day
1-4 Months Old:
14 - 15 hours per day
4-12 Months Old: 14 - 15 hours per day
1-3 Years Old: 12 - 14 hours per day
3-6 Years Old: 10 - 12 hours per day
7-12 Years Old: 10 - 11 hours per day
12-18 Years Old: 8 - 9 hours per day

  • These are the sleep recommendations according to the Mayo Clinic:
Age group Recommended amount of sleep
Infants 14 to 15 hours
Toddlers 12 to 14 hours
School-age children 10 to 11 hours
Adults 7 to 9 hours

{I posted these 2 because they are the "norm" for sleep recommendations and are test and proven the healthiest in lots of realms including our home}

All this "sleep" talk and schedules may sound crazy to some or perfect for others. Some of you may be going, "I know they need sleep by why "schedule"? I'm with ya. I am an odd combination of an organized AND laid back personality type. By "schedule", all I really mean is I figuring out what she needed when. By trying to stick to this, it helped her feel secure by having simple things she could rely on dailey. An infants needs are basic: eat, sleep, play, lots-a-love! Routine gives them security by letting then know these basic needs will be met.

For our family, sleep was the hardest to figure out. I stresses all the time because my baby wouldn't stay asleep even though I could tell she was tired. I'd taken care of all her other needs I knew this must be the issue in her schedule. Once we figured out the sleeping everything else seemed to fall into place. I want my babies to be healthy. That's my 'job', right?

God blessed me with these little lives to disciple them into becoming bond-slaves for Him. The way I'm going to do that, starting in these formative years, is by treating them the way Christ parents me: He does what's best for me even when it doesn't make me happy, I think I know what's good {not best} for me, and have my own ideas of what I need. I tell my babies often, I'm not here to make you happy, I'm here to keep you safe, healthy, and show you the love of Christ. The love of Christ some times looks like what is often called "tough love" and many times it's good ol fashion gentle gracious snuggly love.

What is your biggest struggle with sleep and your littles?

This is the 1st in a series I'm doing on Kids & Sleep. Stay tuned for
Charting Baby's Routine,
Environment, and
{These may change a little based on comments and questions as we go}
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