Jun 25, 2014
Tom Briggs is a husband of one and a dad/punchbag of two energetic and iron-willed little boys. He likes zombie films a little too much, can solve a Rubik’s Cube in under four minutes, was once the cover model on a woodwork magazine and lists making his line manager dress up as a cat and hide behind a tree as his career highlight to date.
A digital content sort by day, he has been blogging his award-winning musings about life in general and the little lives he finds himself responsible for at Diary of the Dad since 2010. He is also one quarter of the Love All Dads Podcast team which discusses all kinds of parenting issues on its weekly show.
He lives in the south east of England with his wife Kate and sons Dylan and Xander. Together, they massively skew the average age statistics of the town they call home.
Dad’s best techniques for a good night’s sleep
Hello! My name’s Tom and I’m the proud dad of two little boys who were born within a couple of years of each other. So, having experienced the oft-feared parenting challenge of ‘two under two’, I felt well qualified when I was invited to write a guest post about children in this age bracket and their natural immunity to getting some shut-eye!
Sleep – or lack thereof – has been my nemesis, particularly with my younger son who is only now starting to embrace the idea of kipping through the night at 26 months. I got used to getting four or five hours at best and was a complete zombie most of the time – or a Tombie, if you will – but my wife and I have learned plenty of techniques for attempting to negotiate with nocturnal little souls.
I say ‘attempting to negotiate’ by means of a disclaimer here; all children are different and something that works once is by no means guaranteed to work ever again! Even so, the following tips I have to offer have salvaged a fair few precious hours of rest between them…
This is the polar opposite of a stand-up routine as lack of sleep is no laughing matter! Kids love routine as they need to feel assured that all is well before they nod off for the night. So establishing a bedtime routine as early as possible can only be of benefit in the long term.
The tiger in the tree
Many parents will be familiar with this one, having used it to relieve colic with young babies. For the unversed, you hold your child with their back against your stomach and their head resting in the crook of your arm. It looks funny and elicits some discombobulated facial expressions too! We tried this one out of desperation when my older son was teething and it calmed him down. I think it must have been because he remembered being held in this way and associated it with being relaxed.
Something in the air
I don’t know what it is about fresh air as I’ve always found it invigorating, but we discovered that taking our two out for a gentle walk an hour or so before their evening meal made them generally more amenable to the prospect of being put to bed.
Turning off the telly in the last hour of the day also has a calming effect. Things like In the Night Garden are supposedly good for helping toddlers relax, but it’s always had the opposite effect on my two. Sorry, Igglepiggle!
Another thing we discovered, particularly with our younger son, is that certain foods can result in unexpected sugar rushes! He used to have a pureed fruit dessert as part of his evening meal and we’d soon find ourselves peeling him from the bookcase. They don’t contain any added sugar, but were enough to power a mini rampage! He now only gets them earlier in the day and is much more chilled out of an evening. Phew!
I hope that some of these tips help you out if your children, like mine, think they’re above this whole sleeping at night thing – good luck!
and the blog itself can be found here: www.diaryofthedad.co.uk
AL/1745/06.14/0.001.Date of preparation: June 2014.