I seriously envy those parents that have babies that sleep all night — or even for a stretch of four hours! My girl was rowdy in the belly and so full of life from the moment she came out. So much so that sleeping was not part of her adventure on this Earth. We tried every trick in the book to get her to sleep for more than 3-hour stretches, but it rarely happened. We co-slept, we cried it out, we tried formula for a bit, but nothing seemed to help. We were so sleep-deprived that most of that first year is just a blur.
It took about a year and a half for her to finally settle into a better nighttime sleep routine and for us to start recovering our sanity and stop the accelerated-aging process we had undertaken. Even though she sleeps through the night now, she’s still an early riser and we so are not. Both my husband and I are night owls and we end up getting work or reading done at night.
Not only that, but we hate having to be all Cinderella-like whenever we go out because we’re rushing back home to get enough sleep so we’re not all groggy when she rises at 6am, when not even the birds are chirping outside. This last Thanksgiving we had enough and needed a plan of action. Enter electronics. We’re a connected and powered family for sure and our girl can perfectly navigate our iPad and other smart electronics around the house.
We came up with a perfect plan and agreed that it would be the cause of no parenting shame. After all, it’s not like we were installing a TV in her room, right?
The plan goes like this:
We make sure my iPad is fully charged by the time we go to bed. Then we place it on her night table so she can see it as soon as she wakes up. We also put her Barbie earphones on top of it and make sure it’s plugged in at a reasonable volume.
Then, we fill up her cup with the chocolate milk she’s used to drinking every morning and leave it on the bottom shelf of the fridge.
The first night we explained all of this to her and she was all excited to give it a try. We told her that this was something special we could do on weekends and vacation days. She can stay in her room and watch her shows and play her games until Mom or Dad wakes up, or at the very least until the sun was shining through her windows.
It took a couple of days during that long weekend for her to get that there was no need to scream out “¡Buenos días!” at the top of her lungs after she grabbed her milk and went back to bed with the iPad. Kinda defeated the purpose, but she eventually got it and it’s been beautiful.
The trick is to make sure you have the shows, movies and/or games they love and will keep them entertained. Trust me, it’s worth the expense to get even an extra hour or 90 minutes of sleep during the weekends. Remember waking up past 8am on a lazy Sunday morning? Yes, it’s possible. Allow yourself to live the dream and wake up smiling and not annoyed at your kid.
These are our must-have video apps that keep her entertained in the mornings and mom and dad happily snoozing.
WATCH Disney Junior 1 of 4If your child is obsessed, like mine is, with Doc McStuffins, Sofia the First, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, and the rest of the Disney Junior lineup, then this is a must-have app. All you need is an internet connection and they can stream full episodes of their favorite Disney Junior shows, commercial-free! There are carrier restrictions for Live video and some of the newest full episodes.
Download WATCH Disney Junior for free on iTunes.
Netflix Just for Kids 2 of 4This past October Netflix announced the "Just for Kids" option on their iPad app. This is an easy way for kids under 12 to find the shows and movies they want all on their own and not have to browse through adult content. The site is categorized by favorite characters for those that can't quite read yet and by genres like superheroes, girl-power and sing-alongs.
Download the Netflix app for free on iTunes.
WATCH Disney Channel 3 of 4Same as the WATCH Disney Junior app, your child can watch many of her favorite Disney channel shows. My girl is obsessed with Phineas and Ferb and Jessie, so this one gets used a lot!
Download WATCH Disney Channel for free on iTunes.
PBS KIDS Video 4 of 4Many of kid's favorite and educational PBS Kids show are available at a tap of their finger anywhere they have a 3G or WiFi connection. New shows are added weekly to keep them engaged and entertained.
Download the PBS KIDS Video app for free on iTunes.