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the crib sheet

spring cleaning - it's not just for your closet

Brooke Nalle

Once again we are approaching a good season for change.  Spring is coming, our clocks are springing forward, and sweet mother nature is teasing us East Coasters with one warm day and snow the next.  We spring clean our closets, our homes, and why not, our lives, our partners, our children, our sleepers.

This crib sheet is dedicated to those of you who are trying desprately to change something ... to spring forward and tackle a sleep challenge that has been beating you up all winter.

If you are trying to change early rising ... embrace this new time change, but remember move your naps and your meals too, shift the whole day.  Use the daylight to adjust your child's clock - get him out in the fresh air and sunshine (hopefully) to set these new patterns.

If you are trying to change naps ... think carefully about where you want your baby/toddler to nap and teach them how to nap there, figure out the best awake interval, and tackle one nap a day offering a back up or emergency nap for the non training naps.  That said, if you rock - hold to sleep and want to teach crib napping then avoid rocking and holding for naps that are not going well.  You also should not rescue your napper just because his nap in the crib was too short.  By this I mean don't run in when he wakes, pick him up and rock him back to sleep.

If you have a baby or toddler in your bed, and you are ready to move them to their own bed or crib, then consider the following:


  • Are you really ready, 100% ready, so that you can respond calmly with conviction that you support this chage.
  • Will your toddler understand this switch?  If so, go for it!  He will still protest, but at least he undersands what you are doing and why (you can tell him).
  • Is your sleeper too young to understand stay in your bed all night (under 2/2.5 years usually), then come up with a good way to keep her safe and secure in her room or keep her in the crib until she gets it.


If you are trying to change your bedtime routine, make it calmer, more efficient, then think about what you dread the most.  Bathtime?  Move it to an earlier time, even before dinner.  Endless books?  Earlier in the day, before dinner ideally, choose the 3 books you plan to read at bedtime, but them in a special place and only read those books, no  matter what.

Finally whatever change you are working on, tell a friend, tell your partner, get some moral support and maybe some good advice.  Create accountability for this project.

Just think once you are finished cleaning up sleep in your house, you will have so much more energy to devote to other spring cleaning projects (taxes, files, drawers, garages, baby clothes....).

Good luck!