I’ve made plenty of mistakes when it comes to sleep training my children; especially in the days when I had a 4 year old, 2 year old, and newborn. At one time, before I had children, I was rather opinionated about the way things should be done.
I secretly judged a friend for putting her infant in a moving baby swing all night to get her to sleep. And then I had kids. When I realized I was walking a thin line between caring mother and insane sleep-deprived lunatic, I became a bit more open to trying any possible idea that might score me an hour of sleep.
One thing I did that actually helped all my kids sleep better was I made sure they got attached to a “lovey.” For our family, that meant blankies. Those blankies signaled “time to sleep” and helped create a comfortable feeling for my kids whether we were at home, grandma’s, or on vacation in Montana.
My daughter was a thumb sucker. When she reached a certain age we unanimously decided (yes, even she was ready) it was time to stop. We had to put away her blanky then because it was so closely associated with thumb sucking. In 30 days the habit was broken, and she was the proud owner of a new bicycle! We’ve now paid the orthodontist, endured two years of headgear, and she has a lovely smile. The end.
The story of my boys’ blankies, however, is going strong. Now age 8 and 6, they’ve never wanted to give up their blankies, and we’ve never seen a reason to force it. Well-meaning people assure me they won’t be taking their blankies to college, but I’m not so certain.
I actually have visions of my youngest son using his blanky as a pocket handkerchief on his wedding day. It will be about the right size by then. His blanky is made of a lightweight, soft cotton fabric that wasn’t meant to endure 6 straight years of being wadded up and gnawed. It becomes so shredded around the edges that annually I cut a few inches off and sew it all back together again.
That blanky endures a lot of tough love. My son likes to put it in the fridge then pull it out later when it’s “nice and cold.” He misplaces it all the time, and we find it in the most ridiculous places. (We do always check the fridge first.)
I only wish I could cut my eldest son’s blanky down a bit. We gave him a huge crocheted afghan eight years ago. What were we thinking? It takes up half his bed and doesn’t pack easily. It’s impossible to hide on a sleepover. I keep thinking he will lose interest in it one day, but just this morning as I woke him for school the first words from his mouth were, “Mom, can I lay here and enjoy a few more minutes of blanky?”
As I judged my friend for putting her infant in a swing all night, I’m sure some people might judge me for letting my sons stay so dependent on a piece of fabric. But the truth is, sometimes when I’ve had a hard day or I am especially missing my boys, I stick my nose in a blanky and inhale deeply. There is a comfort hidden within the soft folds that even I can sense. Those blankies contain years of quiet nights, soft and even breaths, peaceful dreams, and security. Even the sweet scent of my boys lingers in the fabric no matter how often or recently I’ve washed it.
I brought blankies in to help my kids sleep better many years ago, and they are still doing their job. I’d call that a success.
Are your children (or were your children) attached to a special object for bedtime (or everytime)?
What age did they finally give theirs up?
Looking for advice on how to end your bedtime troubles? Are you ready to make a change in your child’s sleep routine?
Owner Visa Shanmugam of Sound Sleepers will give you a clear, easy-to-follow plan that will teach your child the skills necessary to happily sleep through the night (and take long, restful naps during the day).
Visa has been personally trained by Dana Obleman, the creator of The Sleep Sense™ Program, whose methods have been used worldwide by more than 30,000 families to solve their children’s sleep problems. She offers one-on-one sessions and group seminars for parents, and is available to lead workshops at drop-in groups or for public appearances.
Contact Visa Shanmugam today for a FREE 15-minute telephone consultation!
Call (214-785-1943) or send an e-mail to [email protected]
**Sound Sleepers has sponsored a portion of Dallas Moms Blog’s “Mamas, Rest Easy” Sleep Series; however, they have not sponsored the content. Becky has not used the services of Sound Sleepers. All opinions and writing in this post are 100% original to the contributor.