When is it time to move your child into a big bed of their own?

Moving a сhіld from a соt tо a bіg bеd іѕ a bіg ѕtер in thеіr lіfе. It’s a mаjоr mіlеѕtоnе, and the timing of this move can sometimes be tricky.

Yоu ѕhоuld dо іt before уоur сhіld first fаllѕ оut of the соt, but unfortunately thе fіrѕt tіmе уоu find out your child can climb out of the cot is when they’ve already fallen! Keep an eye out for when your сhіld іѕ ѕtаndіng uр in the соt wаіtіng fоr you tо аrrіvе and check if they’re making аttеmрtѕ tо climb out.

Once уоur child dесіdеѕ gеttіng оut оf thе cot on thеіr own іn thе mоrnіng is a major gоаl, it’s seriously time to gеt them іntо a рrореr bеd. Yоu саn make the trаnѕіtіоn саrеfullу using bеd guаrdѕ or rаіlѕ.

These саn hеlр the сhіld stay in bеd whеn аѕlеер but gіvе thе сhіld a рlасе to climb dоwn frоm thе bed оn their оwn. If you don’t hаvе a bеd rаіl, thеn уоu can uѕе pillows оr еvеn tuck them іn with a ѕhееt аѕ thіѕ саn help them ѕtау іn bеd when thеу’rе аѕlеер. If уоu think a сhіld wіll wriggle thеіr way оn to the flооr, thеn уоu соuld рlасе сuѕhіоnѕ оn thе flооr аrоund the bеd. Most children аdарt quісklу tо a proper bed.

There аrе ѕеvеrаl tуреѕ оf bеd guаrd. Thе ѕіmрlеѕt tuсkѕ undеr thе mattress and has a ѕіdе ѕесtіоn. Look fоr full оnеѕ ѕо thе child will not bumр thеmѕеlvеѕ оn іt.

If уоur сhіld dоеѕn’t lіkе thе big bеd, thеn уоu саn try putting thеm bасk іn thе соt wіth the ѕіdе оff. Sоmе соtѕ allow you to do thіѕ аnd іt саn hеlр your сhіld gеt uѕеd to thе freedom оf bеіng able tо get in аnd оut оf bed оn their оwn.

Some реорlе lіkе tо move to a smaller bed first, instead of a regular single-sized bed. There аrе child bеdѕ аvаіlаblе that аrе shaped and thеmеd tо mаkе thеm very арреаlіng tо ѕmаll сhіldrеn. Whо wоuldn’t want a rасіng car bеd, or a рrіnсеѕѕ ѕtуlе оnе? A smaller bеd wіll also usually bе сlоѕеr tо the grоund and mау even hаvе a lір оn іt designed tо ѕtор children rolling out оf bеd. Whichever decision уоu make you ѕhоuld know thаt children adapt quісklу tо thеіr new bеd аnd іf thеу dоn’t, thеn ѕоmе еxtrа bеdtіmе trеаtѕ lіkе аn еxtrа-lоng ѕtоrу can hеlр them gеt used to іt mоrе quісklу.

Remember that a child’s growing body needs a good mattress – not a hand-me down. Have a look at Sealy’s range of single mattresses, to give your child the best possible sleep: Explore Sealy mattresses.

Tips and advice for moving your child to a big bed

Assess fоr rеаdіnеѕѕ

It’ѕ tempting to mоvе a tоddlеr to a big bеd thе minute they turn twо, but mаnу toddlers are not ready until closer tо 3 ½. Tоddlеrѕ can bесоmе very аttасhеd tо thеіr crib and thе associations wіth it (bеіng a bаbу and security). Idеаllу, thе best tіmе tо mаkе the trаnѕіtіоn іѕ whеn уоur сhіld аѕkѕ for it.

Try nоt tо ruѕh thе trаnѕіtіоn bаѕеd оn іnрut from оthеrѕ or external рrеѕѕurе. Tоddlеrѕ do knоw when thеу are ready tо move on. If уоu hаvе a toddler whо ѕlеерѕ wеll in his crib wіthоut muсh соmрlаіnt, don’t make a сhаngе. Try tо аvоіd еxсеѕѕіvе “bіg boy” or “bіg gіrl” tаlk whеn dіѕсuѕѕіng thе tоріс, аѕ this tеndѕ to аdd pressure tо thе ѕіtuаtіоn. Mеntіоn іt, point out beds аnd bеddіng, аnd wait fоr your сhіld tо ѕhоw signs оf rеаdіnеѕѕ.

Plасеmеnt

Cоnѕіѕtеnсу іѕ always еѕѕеntіаl when іntrоduсіng bіg trаnѕіtіоnѕ. Trу tо рlасе thе nеw bеd іn the same рlасе (оr аѕ close tо it аѕ possible) аѕ thе сrіb. Moving еvеrуthіng аrоund саn саuѕе stress fоr some toddlers. Trу to kеер thе room as ѕіmіlаr as possible. **Nоtе: Sоmе tоddlеrѕ like to wаtсh thе сrіb lеаvе thе rооm, but most bесоmе uрѕеt when watching the сrіb lеаvе.

Comfort іtеmѕ

Yes, уоur сhіld рісkеd оut a nісе nеw bеd and fаbulоuѕ nеw bеddіng…but it’s possible thаt hе wіll ѕtіll want hіѕ оld соmfоrt іtеmѕ. Cоvеtеd toddler blаnkеtѕ, loveys, a fаvоrіtе stuffed animal, аnd other соmfоrt іtеmѕ ѕhоuld аll mаkе thе trаnѕіtіоn. The mоѕt іmроrtаnt fасtоr іѕ thаt уоur сhіld fееlѕ ѕаfе and ѕесurе in hіѕ nеw bеd.

Rоutіnе

Thеrе’ѕ nothing lіkе a nеw mіlеѕtоnе tо throw a tоddlеr оff bаlаnсе. Mаkе sure that уоu hаvе a wеll-hоnеd bedtime routine long bеfоrе you mаkе thе сrіb to bed trаnѕіtіоn. Keep thе routine the ѕаmе, rіght dоwn tо thе numbеr of stories rеаd tо the соntіnuоuѕ music оr whіtе noise mасhіnе. Thе оnlу сhаngе should bе thе асtuаl bеd. Mаіntаіnіng consistency еnѕurеѕ safety аnd соmfоrt for your child. Try nоt tо trаvеl untіl уоur child has trulу аdjuѕtеd tо thе nеw bed.

Bооkѕ

Bооkѕ аrе аlwауѕ a gооd idea whеn рrераrіng a сhіld fоr a bіg transition. “Bіg Enоugh fоr a Bеd” (Sеѕаmе Street) bу Aррlе Jоrdаn аnd “Your Bіg Bed” bу Rita Bergstein аrе grеаt books fоr tоddlеrѕ preparing tо mаkе the transition.

Other ideas include getting creative with nеw bеd раrtіеѕ аnd ѕсrарbооkѕ оf thе сrіb days…only you can truly knоw what wіll wоrk fоr уоur сhіld. Lеѕѕ fаnfаrе оftеn wоrkѕ the bеѕt.

Sleeping for two: Sleep changes during pregnancy

By Don Dinnematin of The Don Father Blog

It goes without saying, when you’re pregnant, sleep is essential for your health and the health of your baby, but it is often easier said than done.

Being pregnant can be a tiring experience for a woman’s body. Both the physical discomforts of pregnancy as well as the emotional stress of this major life change can cause sleep problems and keep a mother-to-be awake at night.

As a husband I have experienced this first hand with my Wife in both our pregnancies, but with that comes some advice to help create a good night’s sleep and ultimately a pleasant pregnancy experience, because as we all know, a lack of sleep is quite a disastrous thing.

Nearly 28 percent of expecting moms get less than seven hours of sleep per day, according to data from The nuMoM2b Pregnancy and Sleep Duration and Continuity Study. This is less than the National Sleep Foundation’s recommended seven to nine hours of sleep per day for optimal health during pregnancy.

Get a better night’s sleep

Here are some tips to help you get a better night’s sleep, both during pregnancy and once baby has arrived:

Get plenty of exercise

Keeping active during the day may help you sleep at night, and exercise can also help with symptoms that can affect your rest, such as leg cramps. Walking, swimming and yoga are all great choices during pregnancy. We often go for a walk around the block in the late afternoon. Just try to avoid any strenuous exercise for a few hours before bed, as it could make you feel more awake.

Have a soothing nightly ritual:

This is simple, and everyone should probably be doing something along these lines. Treat yourself to a relaxing routine before you settle down for the night, such as reading, taking a bath, or having a warm drink. Aim to start winding down about an hour before you intend on sleeping.

Cut back on drinking too much in the evenings:

During the first trimester, the hormones leading to the bladder get sluggish, which increases a woman’s urine production. This can cause her to wake up and need to go to the bathroom more frequently at night. Cutting back on excessive drinking in the evenings can help eliminate those annoying night-time trips to the loo, which may also prevent you from falling asleep straight away again.

Minimize Your Exposure To Blue Light At Night

The light emitted by electronics with screens can drastically affect your body’s ability to fall asleep at night. It’s so disruptive because blue-wavelength light boosts attention, reaction time, and mood. The blue light is basically fooling your body into thinking it’s still daytime.

To minimize the influence that blue light has on your body at night, turn off all electronic devices at least an hour before going to bed. This gives your body time to relax and slow down so you are better prepared to fall asleep.

Pregnancy Pillows

 A must for helping your pregnant wife get, and stay comfortable during the night.

Choose The Right Mattress

This is without a doubt, one of the most important parts of getting that good nights sleep you so badly long for. And this is essential for both Mom & Dad!

The mattress you choose can have a major influence on the quality of your sleep. A mattress that’s too firm means you’ll feel pressure points at your hips and shoulders. A mattress that’s too soft doesn’t provide enough support for your neck and back. Get a new mattress if your current one isn’t working for you. Milly and I recently bought a new bed and it has completely changed our lives, and this is not an exaggeration.

Be sure to try out the mattress before you buy it so you find the one that is right for you.

How much should the tooth fairy be leaving behind while your child is sleeping?

Losing a first tooth is a remarkable milestone. It is so remarkable in fact that left unchecked it can create a swell of ‘proud parent feelings’ that may result in a very generous but unsustainable contribution from the tooth fairy (or the equally dashing tooth mouse).

Now the problem with leaving a few fat notes next to your sleeping child is that there will be more teeth to come and usually a younger sibling or two will be paying close attention to what the ‘going rate’ is for milk teeth.

Parents are remarkably creative creatures and I have heard rumours of payment being delayed due to the tooth not being clean enough or not presented in an acceptable fashion… although the actual issue may have been a forgetful tooth fairy or a tooth mouse out of change.

Of course the other difficult decision once the money is out the way is what to do with said milk teeth. Do you throw them away in the bin? Or does this classify as medical grade waste? Holding onto these little souvenirs of childhood can be equally cumbersome especially if discovered in your jewelry box by their original owner a few years later.

The good news is that when your child does fall asleep on their Sealy it is highly likely that they will stay asleep while you creep around their room in the dark taking part in one of the most exciting celebrations of a child’s imagination.

However you choose to do it, enjoy it.  For the days are long, but they years are short.

  • For more information regarding when your child may need their own mattress go here.
  • Discover the Sealy Cot Mattress range here

 

Bedtime stories for kids – can good parenting rituals make your kids smarter?

All previous research has suggested that certain ‘good parenting’ practices like reading a bedtime story to your child or having a meal together at a table increases a child’s IQ scores later on in life.

However, a recent study by Florida University has given scientists and parents a bit of grit to chew on.

In the controversial study entitled “A closer look at the role of parenting-related influences on verbal intelligence over the life course: Results from an adoption-based research design (Intelligence, 2014; 46: 179 DOI: 10.1016/j.intell.2014.06.002) the participants studied were all adopted children who had no genetic link to the parents who raised them.

Good parenting practices appeared to make no difference on the children’s long-term IQ scores and Beaver, the lead researcher believes that this data suggests that children inherit their intelligence genetically and not socially as thought.

In previous research, it looks as though parenting is having an effect on child intelligence, but in reality the parents who are more intelligent are doing these things and it is masking the genetic transformation of intelligence to their children,” Beaver said.

In other words, parents with higher IQ scores are more likely to put their children to bed, read them bedtime stories and have evening meals together. These actions are signs of good parenting and will assist with bonding and improved social skills… however they will not make them smarter as measured by an IQ test.

“The way you parent a child is not going to have a detectable effect on their IQ as long as that parenting is within normal bounds,” said Beaver.

The good news is that most parents are raising their children (whether biological or adopted) with the ultimate goal of being a good citizen – someone contributing to the world over a lifetime rather than merely achieving a superior score on an IQ test.

Now don’t we all wish there was a standardised test to measure that?

Did you know: The Sealy® Cot Mattress with low profile pocket system, ensures baby receives gentle cradling comfort from day one!

Does your child need their own mattress?

Whether your child has started out sleeping in their own cot or co-sleeping in your bed, there will come a time when they need their very own ‘big girl’ or ‘big boy’ bed.

Many parents are tempted to buy the cheapest, throw-away mattress available as they predict that their kids will:

  1. Wet their bed
  2. Spill tea/juice/milk on their bed
  3. Jump on their bed
  4. Land up coming through to sleep in their parents’ bed anyway.

These parents are absolutely correct. However, there are a few more things to consider when purchasing your child’s first mattress.

  1. Children grow rapidly

Rapid growth means that children need more and more support the heavier they become. It can also mean growing pains that may be reduced when children have postural support from a high quality mattress.

  1. Sleep is neuro-protective

A good night equals a good day. A good mattress equals good sleep. Sleep enhances your child’s brain development and impacts their ability to learn and cope with everyday life. If you want your child to have the best, deepest sleep possible then you should provide them with the best mattress you can afford.

  1. Others will use your child’s mattress

Playing ‘musical beds’is common when you have one or more young children. In all likelihood, you and your partner will end up sleeping on your child’s mattress from time to time.  Not to mention the guests that may end up using your child’s room over the festive season.

  1. A single mattress may not be the one you want

If you are going to fall asleep with your child or put two children to sleep together then a little more space can mean a lot more sleep for everyone. Choosing a ¾ or double mattress may be a bit more costly but it can make the world of difference to your sleep quantity and quality.

Sealy offers a wide range of mattresses to suit your family’s needs. Have a look at www.sealy.co.za to find your Sealy.

Should School Times Start Later?

The Industrial revolution changed not only when we work (earlier start, longer shifts) but also when we are required to wake up.

Human beings are programmed to follow the sun to bed and wake as the sky lightens. However, for most families, industrialization has meant waking long before sunrise to commute to work.

This shift threw our kids sleep under the bus too. Parents had to get to work earlier, so kids had to get to school earlier too. School used to begin around 9am but has started to shift earlier and earlier over the last 100 years.

Waking up earlier has led to many children and their parents not getting the sleep they require. It is a common phenomenon for young children to be woken between 4am and 5am in order for the family to be where they need to be by 7.30am.

In South Africa, this sleep crisis is felt more severely due to:

  • Our unreliable public transport system
  • The large distances between where we live and where we work
  • Our closest, local schools may not provide optimal education for our children
  • The high rates of unemployment leave many employees fearing that they could lose their job if they ask for a later start time to drop their children off at school

These are real logistical issues, but the question must be asked: Should school start times be set to fit around parents schedules or what the child needs to learn?

Our goal as a society should be to get kids to school ready to learn, not sleep deprived.

What time does your child start school and would you prefer them to start later?

We would love to hear from you.

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The Difference in your Sleep… Discover the new la différence bed by Sealy

Do kids really grow when they sleep?

I want to be taller – can sleep help me grow?
– Sophie Age 6

It is indeed during deep sleep that growth hormone does its job. Growth hormone is made and released from the pituitary gland in our mid-brains and is very important for, you guessed it, growth.

During deep sleep states, when your body is totally relaxed, growth hormone instructs your bones to thicken and length.

The activities that you do during the day can also have an impact on how tall you get. Being active and doing jarring activities like skipping, jumping and falling will cause tiny breaks in your bones which will signal to your body that repair is needed that night.

What you eat can also have an impact on your growth. If you are eating enough proteins, vitamins and minerals every day (think fruit, vegetables, dairy and lean meats) then your body will have the building blocks it needs for strong bones. If you eat mainly carbohydrates and fats, then your body will be able to grow wider, but not taller.

Children who do not get enough to eat, or the right stuff to eat, are called ‘stunted’. This means that although they could have been taller, they won’t be as tall as they could have been because they didn’t have the building blocks they needed.

Not growing, or growing too much, can be a sign of a medical condition:

  • giganticism is when there is too much growth hormone and you grow very tall, very fast
  • hypopituitarism is when there is not enough growth hormone and you grow very little or not at all

If you are very worried that you are too tall or too small for your age then get your parents to take you for a check-up at your local doctor.

There is also more useful information on this site

Back to school, back to sleep – How to get your kids back into their routine

You may have completed your back to school shopping, but have you gotten your kids back into their routine?

Sleeping well is essential for school performance. Alas, the extra-long school holidays have seen our kids going to bed long after sunset and lying in later than usual.

Children need sleep in order to listen, sit still, concentrate, remember, problem-solve and play nicely. So going to sleep and going to school go hand-in-hand.

The good news is that there is still enough time to get your kids back into routine before school starts.

Follow these 4 steps to make the transition:

  1. Ensure their days are full of physical activity so that they are tired by sunset.
  2. Set an alarm for one hour before your child’s desired bedtime to signal the end of screen time and the start of a bedtime routine.
  3. Re-introduce your family’s bedtime routine within this hour – your child should get through your combination of supper, bathing, brushing their teeth and having their bedtime story within this time.
  4. Set an alarm for the desired wake-up time that you will need on school days – it is important to maintain this even on weekends as brains work best during predictible sleep-wake cycles.

By repeating these steps over the next few days, you are helping to prepare your child’s brain for sleep as well as for school.

Here’s to an easy re-entry into the real world.

Sleep better in your new Sealy!

How to get your kids to sleep better when they’re on Summer holiday

School is out and summer holidays are here! Whether you plan on taking a staycation, or heading off on a family holiday, you may already be dreading the nights that lie ahead of you.

Many adults and children become very anxious when they consider the idea of being ‘out of their sleep routine’ for a few weeks. Most parents’ mental health rests on their young children’s predictable sleep schedule – kids asleep = work day is over.

A recent article in the UK’s telegraph has gathered holiday sleep tips from various experts. Here our own Sealy sleep expert, Roxanne Atkinson, examines their advice and offers her own wise counsel.

Summer holidays are made of dripping ice-creams, squishing sand between your toes and enjoying the warm sun on your back. Well, at least that is how we remember summer holidays from our childhoods.

For parents, summer holidays can bring to the surface an interesting tension-

  1. parents want to make lasting memories with their children; and
  2. parents want a chance to relax and recharge.

The good news is that a change of scenary and lack of tight school and work schedules can offer a chance to bond. The bad news is that if the whole family is struggling to sleep, you are pretty much guaranteed tears and tantrums… and I am not just talking about the parents here!

Follow these five sleep protection principles to give your kids enough Zzzzzz.

  1. Let nature guide their sleep-wake cycle

Encourage your children to rise close to sunrise and sleep close to sunset. Yes, I know you want to sleep in, but this may not be feasible. Get to the beach or hotel pool early and the swimming and sea air should equal an afternoon nap. This is great as it keeps you out of the dangerous midday sun and your children will remain buoyant and bouncy until sunset. No naps? You just won yourself an easy evening. Get dinner sorted early because your kids are bound to fall into bed earlier than usual.

  1. Make their sleep environment comfortable

Summer brings with it high temperatures and plenty of nocturnal insects. Arm yourself with a room fan, mozzie net and/or insect repellant to protect their precious sleep. If you can, request a room with air conditioning and set the room temperature to a temperate 21 degrees celsius.

  1. Recreate their home sleep environment

If you co-sleep at home, co-sleep on holiday. If you use a cot, find a cot for your baby to sleep in that resembles their one at home. If your toddler or child have their own rooms, try and find a way to recreate this. You may need to put up a screen to block them off and recreate their sleep space. Don’t forget to pack your baby monitor (or download a baby monitor app to your smart phone) so that you can rest assured that babe is safe.

  1. Make the most of your evenings away

If you are lucky enough to have a deep sleeper, then you may be able to do some adult evening adventures using your pram or sling. After doing their normal sleep routine, pop them in the pram/sling/car seat and see if you can enjoy a few hours out while your babe is in their first and deepest sleep phase. Could you create a ‘bad habit’? Perhaps, but hopefully the memories last longer.

  1. Use positive sleep associations

Vacation is probably not the best time to try and go without a sleep crutch such as a dummy or favourite stuffed toy. Pack your baby or child’s favourite bear, blankie and bottle… or even better, pack in a spare if you can!

Here’s to great sleep on your family holiday.

Can ‘alternate’ sleep training strategies help babies and kids sleep better?

There has been a strong outcry (pardon the pun) by mental health experts against the ‘cry it out’ sleep training method that has gained popularity in modern western parenting over the last 10 years.

Whilst experts and families have long acknowledged short-term gain in sleep behaviour after sleep training (until the next bout of illness or teething spell), there has always been concern about the long-term effects of encouraging parents not responding to their young’s needs.

A new study out of Australia, “Five-Year Follow-up of Harms and Benefits of Behavioral Infant Sleep Intervention: Randomized Trial,” published on the American Academy of Pediatrics website followed 225 children from infancy through age 6 to track whether a behavioral sleep program had long-lasting effects on children’s mental health, stress levels, the child-parent relationship, or maternal mental health.

Parents who reported sleep problems in their 7-month-old infant were eligible for the study. Half the parents were offered a sleep program (lab rats) whilst the other half were not offered any advice (control group).

The lab rats were educated regarding the use of positive bedtime routines plus using one of two behavioral techniques:

  1. controlled comforting: parents respond to their infant’s cry at increasing time intervals to allow the child to self-settle (sounds just like the cry-it-out method, hey?)
  2. camping out: parents sit with the child as the child learns to independently fall asleep, slowly removing their presence from the child’s room.

Here is what they learned about these sleep strategies:

  • Both groups of lab rats who had used a bedtime routine plus either sleep intervention showed short-term improved sleep quality (yes, this makes sense).
  • Some showed improvement in the children’s and mothers’ sleep and mothers’ mental health as late as age 2.
  • However, by age 6 years, both the lab rats and the control group had similar mental and behavioural health, sleep quality, stress and relationship with their parents.

What these sleep strategies mean for parents:

  • This study shows that implementing a routine and trying to teach your baby to sleep better may help your baby sleep better.
  • If you do not teach your baby any sleep strategy, they will be the sleeping the same as any other sleep-trained baby by 6 years old.
  • The study was done over years with the lab rats leaving the lab and going home. It is impossible to know how often or in what manner the sleep strategies were applied by the parents (if at all).

Most importantly, the study does not define what ‘sleep problems’ are. Many parents worry that their babies have sleep problems when they are developmentlly normal. Feeding, holding and helping your baby to calm regularly are good parenting practices and should not be avoided due to fear of spoiling the child’s sleep.

For more from the American Academy of Paediatrics about how to know if your baby has a sleep problem follow this link.

Looking for the perfect mattress? Have you tried our Mattress Finder?