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Friday, February 24, 2012

Sticker Chart Success!

We have been SOOO lucky in the sleep department!!!  Jackson has more than his fair share of early wake-up stints, BUT since he was three months old, he has gone to bed consistently without too much intervention on our part.  I had gotten really used to that, however, and forgot how lucky we were when Jackson started taking forever to fall asleep at naptime and bedtime!  This included getting out of bed numerous times.  He got a cold right around the end of January, and it threw him for a loop!  Sheesh!  It was just a cold, but he was SO off!  He started waking up crazy early, in the middle of the night, and then taking forever to go to sleep at sleep times.  Once I knew he was healthy again, I decided to fix this new habit.  I know it is totally normal for toddlers to go through the loooong list of stall techniques, but we had totally skipped that, even with the transition to the Big Boy Bed, and I saw no reason to back-track.  I did a little research online, and came across an idea for Sleep Rules.  

I made a poster to hang by Jackson's bedroom, and listed the rules.
Jackson's Sleep Rules
#1: Stay in bed!
#2: Close your eyes!
#3: Stay very quiet!
#4: Go to sleep!
I attached a sticker chart so he could collect a sticker after each successful sleep.  I made a REALLY big deal about this when I showed it to him, and he was PUMPED about the "Toy Story" stickers, so he was ready to go!  It made a HUGE difference right away!  He didn't get out of bed once the first three sleep attempts.  Then it sort of transitioned to I would go in once, remind him that he wouldn't get a sticker if he didn't go right to sleep, and that was the end of it!  To me, a large part of parenting is understanding MY goal.  It wasn't super important to me to have Jackson actually stay in bed right away.  I just wanted to get away from the 45 minute routine after laying him down.  Going in once while I'm already upstairs doing something I'd do anyways is fine with me.  So, I consider the whole experiment a success :)

After Jackson got 10 stickers (five days worth of naps and bedtimes--Monday-Friday), I took him to Target to choose a new car!  He picked out a really cool pink Hot Wheels :)  I chose 10 because I figured that was enough days to really establish a new routine, it wasn't too many days where he would feel like he was never getting his reward, and had it end at a time where I knew our schedule would allow us to go right away to reward him!  

Jackson memorized the sleep rules almost right away, and still likes to repeat them before I lay him down :)

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