Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Nighttime Breakthrough

We've been receiving family/child psychology services for a while now. It really has helped our nighttime issues, which are almost nonexistent now!

I don't believe Elena has major behavioral issues--I think she has outbursts/meltdowns related to her being a kid, or not knowing how to deal with her physical limitations. Having a third party (the psychologist) really took the pressure off the parents. We all made a plan during our sessions, and then we tried to implement it at home. That ended up being very successful.

Elena now goes to sleep easily. She is tired from school, and she still gets Big Girl Time after Vivian goes to bed. Both girls go to bed earlier now, since the sun goes down earlier in the evening (YAY!). Elena has a digital clock in her room, and once the time starts with "an 8", she knows bedtime will happen soon (E goes to bed between 8 and 830). Tonight, she even insisted on brushing her teeth and putting on her PJs by herself (she started being able to put on long-sleeved and long-pant sleepwear 9/22/10, shown below).

I normally read to her as she falls asleep. It takes 5-8 minutes. The agreement is I read while she "rests her eyes and her voice".

We are getting to the point, slowly but surely, where Elena will be physically able to do all the bedtime preparations by herself--getting dressed, brushing teeth, climbing into bed, getting under the covers. We are also working on being self-sufficient in toileting while barefoot--Elena is independent when wearing her shoes and braces, but lacks stability without them, so she needs some help.

In the past, when E has woken up at night (normally needing to use the bathroom, but sometimes just wakes up)--we have read to her to get her to go back to sleep. Depending on how awake she is, it could take 40 minutes, sometimes longer. Our psychologist said to start using the Ferber method during the night wakings, with the hope of eventually putting her to bed without reading her to sleep. She warned us that Elena would resist the change.

The first middle-of-the-night Ferberizing lasted 40 minutes. I'd come in, say "What is happening, Elena?" and she would say something like "I can't go back to sleep" or "will you please read to me". Saying "no" to the "please" was hard. I actually didn't say "no"...the plan was "we are going to try our Plan tonight. I love you, I know you can do this, I know you can go back to sleep." We are NOT to say that we will be "back in XX minutes". We come back if she is still crying/screaming in 3 minutes, 5 minutes, and then every 10 minutes thereafter.

The second night was 8 minutes. Third night she slept through; 4th night was 15 minutes. Overall, the change has resulted in us being up for less time than we were up reading her to sleep! I certainly didn't think that would happen, that fast. It's been 4 weeks now (at least), and now E mostly sleeps through the night. When she does get up, it's normally less than 8 minutes, and she falls asleep without us there in the room. It's GREAT.

Next, we'll be trying to put her to bed without staying in the room. We're not ready to do that yet, but it's coming.


Mo said...

There is something about this picture of E that I just love!!!!!!!!

Kat said...

I love the picture too! :)