8.18.2017

sleep coupons | a method to the madness of getting my kids to sleep through the night

sleep.  an ongoing issue in my house for the last four years.  the twins have never really slept that great.. so then Baker came along and was sleeping through the night at 6 weeks and would go down like clock work at 7PM and not wake until well past 9AM once she hit a year old. I was floored by how well she slept because I thought all kids just sucked it up in the sleep department.  
as we approach year five with the twins things have progressively gotten worse and most recently its just been plain terrible.  no other words to describe it and I have never been so tired IN MY LIFE. an infant waking me a couple times at night is one thing but couple that with two other kids up and down for hours every night and I'm basically running on fumes.
I've been searching for ideas and ways to work through this stage with them, and much to my surprise its not just my kids going through this. a lot of other mamas have the same issues surrounding sleep and going to bed and staying in bed.
phew. 
 a couple weeks ago I had mentioned to a friend about these struggles and it happened that she had recently brought it up to her pediatrician and he mentioned that with his older kids he does sleep coupons.
SLEEP COUPONS?! 
collecting sleep coupons for getting in bed at night and staying all night will earn them one coupon and they can "spend" it however they please.

the method.
the biggest part about this method is offering the kids a real explanation about what to expect. allowing the girls to have control over their sleep habits with a reward has proven to be really beneficial! I roped Baker into this because she wants nothing more than to be included with the "big girls" and while I don't know if she will truly understand "saving" her coupons for something 'bigger' she has totally kept up with the concept since we started this about a week ago.
they each get a coupon before going to bed at night and they are allowed to keep the coupon as long as they go to bed without a fight and stay in bed all night. if they wake at all for something other than to use the bathroom (or they are puking.. I'll give them that. but only if they wake their dad first.) they have to hand over their coupon in the morning. I don't take the coupon away at night in the moment mainly because I don't want to cause a FREAK OUT fit.  so I wait to deal with that consequence in the morning. 
NIGHT #1:: on the first night Jolie woke just twice (normally its about 4+ times) and in the morning I talked her through her waking up and why I was going to be taking the coupon.  since it was the first night and a brand new concept, gave them a trial pass, but explained that if she woke me up the next night I would indeed take the coupon away.
NIGHT #2::  Parker fought me quite a bit about going to bed but after a gentle reminder that she was going to lose her coupon if she didn't settle down + lay down she chilled out pretty quick.  AND no one made a single peep all night!!  normally it takes at least an hour or longer for bedtime, but not this time.
NIGHT #3:: no fight at bedtime!  they got into bed after putting their coupon in their little box on their dresser and talked about what they were saving their coupons for.
it was SO CUTE how excited they were.
Jolie is saving her coupons for a Doc McStuffin's toy and Parker has her heart set on a tiger's blood flavored sno cone.
NIGHT #4:: HORRIBLE.  it was raining off and on and we are not a fan at all about the rain and thunder over here.. but Jolie had me up about 6 times and Parker just once.  the next morning I told the girls to go get their sleep coupons off their dresser and turn them in to me since they didn't sleep through the night. they handed them over and I told them that we would try again that night.
the reward.
2 coupons :: 30 minutes of iPad time
3 coupons :: ice cream or sno cone
6 coupons :: nail salon for a mani and a pedi with mama
9 coupons :: trip to target to pick out a toy of their choice 
12 coupons :: movie date night + pop corn and candy

I had my girl Sarah, creative brain at CKFireboots, put together the perfect little coupon for us to use- complete with unique personalization + darling little figure on the front.  I designed them with the girls' favorite colors in mind and dressed in cute little pajamas.  you can find the custom listing for these sleep coupons HERE!
I downloaded the PDF and sent them over to office max or something of the like to be printed and laminated so they will hold up well with use.

AND, before I forget, Sarah so graciously offered my readers a discount!
use code MASSEY10 for 10% off your entire purchase.
(btw: everything in her shop is ridiculously affordable with or without the discount code!)

I'm really excited for the girls and for this random trial and error with the sleep coupons.  we haven't spent any coupons YET, but when we do I think it is going to really drive home the point of this method with the girls.
as always, I want to hear from other mamas about their experiences with sleep! send me all the tips and tricks:)

7 comments:

Laura Darling said...

What a great idea! I'm glad you're having success with it!

Candace said...

My oldest child slept horribly. I once stayed on the couch to interfere with him getting up and coming to our room. I took him back to
bed 27 times!!!! Once he turned 5 he wanted an IPAD. We needed up doing a sticker chart. 30 nights of not getting up earned him his IPAD. The.best.money.I've.ever.spent.
Once he received it, we told him if he got up for things other than you mentioned, the IPAD was headed back to the store! Good luck mama! You got this!

Leslie said...

This is brilliant. I can't wait to try it! Thank you so much I've been looking for ideas for how to get my 3 year old twin daughters to stay in their beds. I feel like this could really work!

Angie N said...

What a great idea! One question though: When you lose a coupon for getting out of bed, do you lose ALL the coupons earned, or just the one for that night?

Amber Massey said...

Hey Angie- just the one for that night. Not penalizing them for their 'hard work' the nights before!

Becoming Who We Are Meant To Be said...

Question: do you have a CD player in their room to let them listen to age-appropriate audiobooks? As a child, I frequently fell asleep listening to stories, and I loved it. I plan to do the same with my own toddler once she's a bit older (she's an amazing sleeper like Baker). Anyways, just a thought. Sounds like you may have hopefully found a solution that works for you, so I hope it keeps up!

Leslie said...

Hi! Checking back in! THIS HAS BEEN AMAZING! I modified it for my girls.. my oldest is 4.5 and my twins just turned 3. At 6 sleep coupons they are able to go to Target to get a toy. To give you context, last week before we tried this Nora (my twin) came in our room 3 times, Ruby (other twin) came in 2 times, and Piper (oldest) came in once. It is like this most nights. We tried the sleep coupons, NO ONE CAME IN. Tonight is night #6 and the girls are so excited to go to Target. We will keep this up until it becomes a habit. Thank you so much for sharing!!

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