Hands up if you watched Bedtime Live on Channel 4 this week? A lot of in need parents did because it was being tweeted and talked about all over Twitter and Facebook. If you missed it, Bedtime Live is a programme presented by Professor Tanya Byron that’s trying to help parents who’s babies, toddlers and teens won’t go to sleep.
Having had one bad sleeper in my older child I could totally sympathise and see where a lot of the parents were going wrong on the show. As a new parent I rocked my daughter to sleep and spent moths wondering why she woke up the second I stopped moving and dared to move her away from my warm body into the cot. I can also remember the horrible descending panic I felt every time she woke up (which was a lot) and started to cry. Looking back I can see how exhausted my husband and I were and exactly what we did wrong every step of the way. From going in every single time she cried, to being pulled into conversations with her at 3 years when she wouldn’t stay in bed. Needless to say she didn’t sleep through the night till she was nearly four years old.
The good news was we learnt our lesson and baby number 2 has been a self settler since the word go. We have always put him down awake and left him to fall asleep. The move from cot to bed was as also easy, as when he got out we simply did back-to-bed with no chat and no eye contact. At nearly 3 he’s a great sleeper and has happier parents to boot.
However, unlike some of the parents who were tweeting very judgmental things (why can’t people be more supportive of each other) about the parents on the show, I sympathise with each and every one of them. Having babies/children who are bad sleepers is a descent into madness. You spend the whole day worrying about it and the whole night being stressed about it and by the end you’re so tired and emotional that you don’t have a rational thought in your head.
So personally I think this show is excellent – it shows parents they are not alone, and also highlights techniques that do work without making parents feel guilty or even more stressed. But what do you think? Have your kids experienced sleep problems? How do you cope? Let us know.