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Discover the secret of childhood from 0-3 year old:

Nap and sleep

Parent Q&A: Floor bed vs Crib

Thursday, September 1st, 2011 10:07 pm | By Stephanie Woo

Q: After reading your blog, I’m thinking of putting my 15-month old in a floor bed. Do I just let him stay in there till he falls asleep? It’ll be so different from his crib, will he be able to fall asleep? He’s already walking, is it too late to put him a floor bed? What are the benefits of a floor bed at this age?

A: First of all, it’s great that you are considering putting him in a floor bed. It is not too late! The first couple of nights will be very new and exciting for him, so stay in the room with him and help him get used to it. Being in a floor bed is very different from being in a crib. Design the room in such a way that there is an area for sleeping (where you put the floor bed) and an area for playing. Designate a toy mat or a toy area where you keep all his toys.  It should be an area he can see when he wakes up. Make sure his toys are not strewn all over the floor or all over his bed (after he plays with them, they will get everywhere, all parents know THIS, but when you tidy up, put them all on the toy mat).  Let the child know the order of the room, “Over here is where I sleep. And when I wake up, I get out of bed and come here to play with my toys.”

The most important benefit of a floor bed is the sense of freedom it gives your child. He gets to decide things for himself.  He gets to decide when he gets into and out of bed. The problem with containers like cribs, high chairs, etc, is that the child is helpless and dependent on the adult to get him in and out. The only way he can get out of these contraptions is through CRYING. Therefore, crying becomes a learned behavior – it is due to HELPLESSNESS.

When you put a baby in a floor bed or give him a small child-size table and chair for eating that he can get in and out of by himself, HE DOESN’T HAVE TO CRY TO GET ANYTHING. He can decide for himself and do it by himself. Through this freedom to decide for himself, he develops self-discipline. When everything is decided for him, the discipline comes from the outside. He doesn’t learn self-discipline till he is older and, like we all know, it is much harder to learn it when you’re older, if at all! Self-discipline is a skill that you want to teach your child from a young age, and miraculously, it comes from the freedom they get to choose for themselves….starting from something as basic as when he gets out of bed!

Simple Principle: More Freedom = less crying + a more self-disciplined child.

Benefits of a floor bed

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011 3:50 pm | By Stephanie Woo

If your baby doesn’t sleep in a floor bed, I highly recommend it! It is SUPERB for developing their movement and excellent for your sanity. They’ll be independent and free, which means they won’t disturb you quite so early in the morning! M&B will play in their floor bed for 30-45 minutes in the morning before making a peep because they have easy access to their toys AND they can roll around and entertain themselves!

How To (Not) Rock Your Baby To Sleep

Thursday, June 9th, 2011 12:37 am | By Stephanie Woo

Brooke and Mackenzie are 4 ½ months. Two weeks ago, I hired a new nanny from China who has been nannying for five years in the US. On the third day she started working with us, Brooke fussed a little bit before her morning nap. My nanny immediately picked her up and rocked her to sleep. Brooke fell asleep in her arms. I didn’t say anything but I made a mental note because in my house, we never rock our children to sleep.

Another time, she told me that babies like to drink milk before sleeping, so as soon as Brooke started fussing before her nap, the nanny started feeding her some milk. In my observation, this did not shorten the fussing time. I could tell that the nanny was experienced and I didn’t say anything once again.

Sunday and Monday came (nanny’s days off) and it was just me and the kids. Again, Brooke was fussy before her nap. I just let her fuss and eventually it became full-out crying. I let her cry for 3 minutes and then went in, picked her up, patted her until she became calm and then put her down again. Lo and behold, she started screaming again. So I let her cry for another 3 (LONG, it’s so hard to listen to your baby cry) minutes, went in and did the same thing. I did this 4 times in total, till she finally fell asleep.

The next day, she was fussy AGAIN at nap time. I did the same thing. This time, she fell asleep after 2 times. And then that afternoon, I left her on the play mat and she fell asleep by herself, no fussing at all.

The funny part, when the nanny arrived the next day, Brooke did the same thing again. Babies are smart, they know who’s around – who will spoil them and who will not. I told the nanny to leave her to me. It was clear it was just gonna be mommy! And she quickly fell asleep – no rocking, no milk.

I had to have a conversation with the nanny about the whole thing. From her point of view, she, being my employee, didn’t want me to think she was leaving the baby to cry. I reassured her that in this household, it was okay to employ our strategy: if the baby fusses before sleeping (and it’s clear she is not wet, hungry or needs to be burped and that she is really just tired or fussy), let her cry for a few minutes, pick her up to comfort her, then put her straight down. No rocking, no milk, nothing. Just put her down and repeat if necessary. A couple days later, Brooke was back to her old self: we put her down in her bed and she puts herself to sleep.

I want to raise independent, happy children. When babies can put themselves to sleep, they are learning to be independent, without needing an adult to fall asleep. And this makes for happier babies.