Maintaining Sleep During A Move
You have a child that is sleeping great! Maybe you struggled with sleep in the early months, but now after a lot of hard work sleep is going so well. If this is you, a move can send you into a bit of a panic. You definitely don’t want sleep to revert back to pre-sleep training days. The good news is that it doesn’t have to. Although it seems like a huge change, much of the bedtime routine and way your child falls asleep will be the same.
Here are a few areas to really focus on to maintain your child’s sleep through a move:
Continue with the same bedtime. Assuming that you moved within the same time zone, try to maintain the time that you are putting your child to bed. Age dependent, there may be a lot of excitement around the new space, a new room, just the novelty of the whole thing! By sticking with their regular bedtime, you will help prevent your child from becoming overtired and all of the craziness that comes along with that (overtired = increase in the fight/flight response hormones and a decrease in melatonin, leading to a second wind and a hard time falling asleep).
Stick to the same bedtime routine as best as possible. Especially those first few days as your child is adjusting to their new space, keep the bedtime and naptime routines the same as what they were in their previous home. It may be tempting to switch things up, a cuddle on the new couch or an extra snack, but remember, kids thrive on consistency and routine. A consistent routine will help cue the brain and body that sleep is coming. Even though your child will recognize they are in a new environment, that routine (that you’ve done hundreds of times) will help to calm and focus them that sleep is near.
Set your child's bed or crib up just as it was in their previous home. Including, of course, their go-to sleeping stuffy/lovie or blanket. If your child doesn't use a stuffed animal for sleeping, introduce one prior to your move (age appropriate, recommendations are 1 year or older). A simple stuffed animal will bring a piece of comfort from home.
If age appropriate, let your child help set up their room. This will help create comfort and a positive connection with their room. They should feel calm and safe in their new space, so anything that you can do to help with that is great.
Continue to allow your child to fall asleep independently. I know that it may be difficult to just walk away once you have tucked your little one in. They may just surprise you! You have done the routine that they know so well, they know it is time to sleep, now let them do what they know how to do. If there is push back with going to sleep in their new space, offer a bit of comfort and love and then let them try (using a leave and check method). If on night 1 you lay or sit with your child, you can expect that on night 2 they will be asking for the same thing. And then soon enough they will want the same during nighttime wake ups as well. For all of your hard work in teaching your child the very important skill of independent sleep, a move to a new home doesn’t need to erase that.
Let your child know that you are across the hall and will be there for them. If age appropriate, have these discussions during the day. If there seems to be a bit of anxiety about sleeping in their new room, remind them that you will never leave them alone, that your home is safe and during the night you are just a few steps away.
Moves are stressful in and of themselves! Worrying that your child’s sleep will backslide is very normal BUT you can take comfort in knowing that you have the ability to steer things in the right direction. Keep things consistent and your child just might surprise you and keep sleeping like a champ!
**If sleep has never been great and you want to change that in your new home…. Set up a discovery call in the link below!