Sleep is a funny thing; parents would do anything to get more of it and some kids will do (or ask for) anything to avoid it. One local mom, Cassandra, and her company Cassandra’s Sleep Consulting wants to change all of that.
She is a Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant. She helps (tired) families to teach their little ones independent sleep skills so that they acquire healthy sleep habits. Her business designs customized sleep plans created specifically for each child (from newborn to toddler) and works with parents to implement those tactics. Cassandra has three children: 10-year-old Mya, 7-year-old Dylan, and 3-year-old Blake.
How did you get into your industry?
When I was pregnant with my first child (10 years ago!!!!), a lot of my friends were pregnant, having babies, and a few of them had their babies before I had mine. They were sooooo exhausted! All they could tell me was that they were so tired and couldn’t function, etc. I was determined at that moment to make a real effort to instill healthy sleep habits from day one. I did and it worked- and my little girl started sleeping through the night by eight weeks. All of my friends would ask me how I did it and to teach them!! Anyway, a few years later I got certified!
What are the benefits of getting the proper sleep at any age?
We’re all familiar with the fact that we have a hard time focusing on information when we’re running on little sleep. So even if you manage to focus on what you’re learning, without sleep, that information won’t be properly stored in the brain. A study from the University of Pennsylvania shows that subjects who experienced even partial sleep deprivation reported feelings of stress, anger, sadness, and mental exhaustion.
People who regularly get between 7–9 hours of sleep see significantly lower rates of obesity, high blood pressure, stroke, infections, depression, diabetes, inflammation, hypertension, heart disease, heart attacks, and heart failure. They also have better performance at work and take fewer sick days than people who typically sleep less than seven hours a night. There’s no question that sleep is definitely an essential part of a healthy, happy lifestyle!!
What is the biggest misconception about sleep and kids?
That it is something that can’t be taught! So many parents think that their babies were born with the inability to sleep. Or that they are just a “bad sleeper.” Just like anything, breastfeeding, learning how to swim, riding a bike, tying your shoes, etc… you have to be taught how to do these things and once you have the skill- it stays with you forever!
What is the biggest piece of advice for tired parents?
Get help! Sleep is everything. Being sleep deprived is a serious issue- it can affect your mental and physical health, your relationship with your husband/partner and your relationship with your other children if you have more then one. It is NOT shameful to ask/seek help.
What are some tips to help kids adjust to Daylight Savings?
- Do nothing. I recommend not changing your clocks Saturday night. Instead, wake-up, drink your coffee, eat breakfast and then adjust the clocks.
- Use the “halfway” approach. You will gradually help your child get used to falling asleep at the new time by initially splitting the time difference. That way, you won’t have an hour-long bedtime battle on your hands. How does it work? You will put your child to bed a half-hour later for three nights in a row and then on the fourth night you will put your child to bed at the normal time. For example, if your child goes to bed at 7:00 PM you will put your child to bed at 7:30 PM on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday and then on Wednesday you’ll put her to bed at 7:00 PM. Coping with a half-hour time difference initially will be easier for her body clock to handle than jumping right into the hour difference.
- You will use the same “halfway” approach for naps. Put your child down for her first (or only) nap a half-hour later starting on Sunday. The only difference is that you will do this for four days in a row and then change back to the normal time on the fifth day. For example, if your child’s first nap is at 10:00 AM, you will put your child down at 10:30 AM on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and then on Thursday move it back to 10:00 AM. You will handle any additional naps in the same manner.
The biggest piece of parenting advice?
Slooooooow down. It’s the most annoying and the truest cliche when everyone says ” They grow up too fast, enjoy it now.” I’d roll my eyes when people would say that to me, but now that my oldest is 10, it’s so true. Now, I really try to enjoy the little things, get down on the floor with my 3-year-old and play, let my 7-year-old read to me, play catch, cook with my daughter… etc. Oh, and have meals together, that’s really important to us as a family.