If you ask me, what are the two biggest challenges in raising a child in the initial years it would be feeding and establishing a sleep routine for me. Feeding has been a far bigger task than establishing a sleep routine. I learned my lessons on parenting when it came to sleep routines long before Li'l General was born. Had seen enough friends struggle with their babies and toddlers who stayed up until well past midnight night after night.

Consciously, I got Li'l General into the habit of being in bed by 9:00 p.m. every night ever since he was 12 weeks old - as soon as his colic state relaxed. With the exception of maybe one or two nights in all these two years, he has gone to bed by 9:00 p.m. every night to be up by 6:30 a.m. every morning. I've always been a early to bed, early to rise person and appreciate the benefits of this practice in the long run.

Night time sleep routine hasn't been so much of a problem as his day time naps. When day naps are altered, every thing else goes for a toss. It's a vicious circle - not enough sleep leads to a cranky child which in turn adversely interferes with eating pattern. Until about we was eight months old, he napped once in two hours. When he turned a year old, his number of naps reduced to three and he napped once in three hours - once in the morning, once in the afternoon and then early evening. The challenging of all these was the time between 14 months and 20 months when he took two naps - one mid morning around 11:00 a.m and another around 4:00 p.m. which meant there wasn't a minute of rest for me in the afternoons.

I'm the most happiest now that it has been over 3 months since LG got into the pattern of one nap lasting three hours every afternoon. Getting into this routine takes a while because stopping the morning nap and shifting it by two hours is a little difficult. Some days before he got into the routine when he was highly sleepy, I've had to distract him or take him to the park so as to keep him awake for a little while more. With one long nap, during the day, a toddler of 24 months gets about 12 hours of sleep a day and it also means he sleeps once every six hours. He is up by 6:30 a.m and naps next around noon. Wakes up at 3:00 p.m. and goes to bed between 8:30 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. The biggest driver in all this for me has been to creating an environment that means it is sleep-time: drawn curtains and sounds to the minimum even if it meant muting cell phones. A well rested child is a happy kid!