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I envy people who can sleep soundly. Nay, I envy people who can sleep in general.  Better yet – no, I really dislike them them.  

I feel this way because Tall Dad and I haven’t had a normal night of sleep in nearly three years.  

Yup.  Three long years. Why, you ask?  


Between my two pregnancies, my son Rhys who refuses to sleep at all cost, and a newborn baby of only five precious months old, I can safely say that House Larsen has been struggling mightily in the zzz’s department. But, given the hot commodity that sleep has become, I have learned some tips over the years that help lessen the sleep strangle in my house.  Here are my top 6 favorite tricks of the trade….

The key is to create a routine, and stick to your plan (like Hagrid says, “stick to your ticket Harry”)

1. Fresh air during awake time –

Get outdoors as much as you can. I feel like the more fresh air my toddler has, the better he sleeps. I once read it in a book, one of the billion sleep books that I own, that you need to get kids outside in between each sleep cycle.  So we do! 

Something about all the smells, sights, sounds, sunlight, and even the feel of the air on their little lungs sends their brain into over drive, and essentially wires them to go to sleep.  This happens because of the sensory overload they experience while in the open, and their brain needs to process and categorize everything they’ve seen and experienced.  It’s almost like hitting the restart button on your computer to help make it run a little more efficiently next time.

2. Quality foods for snack and lunch – 
I always get in fruit/veggies, and protein, plus other healthy items. 

If I pack a snack or on the go lunch for lunch at the park, I’m generally grabbing prepackaged food items, like the Horizon® ‘s milk boxes and their Super Squeeze Fruit Pouches. 

My little lad’s favorite milk flavor right now is chocolate, and I’m cool giving it to him every once in a while because they have 8 grams of protein per milk box, have no high fructose corn syrup, and are flavored with organic cocoa. You can easily find them at Walmart, and they pack a lot of goodness into those little boxes. 

Horizon® ‘s packaging right now is filled with Peanuts characters, like Snoopy and Charlie Brown, because they are helping promote the upcoming new movie which comes out November 6th (you can see the trailer for it here.) It looks super cute  – and I’m thrilled that my favorite comic is coming out with another movie. I adore the seasonal movies, but this one sure does look awesome. 

My son loves the super squeeze fruit pouches, and I do too because they are made of real fruit and organic milk, and also have 5 grams of protein – as well as a great deal of calcium! 

You can learn more about Horizon Products by visiting their website | Facebook | Twitter

I digress…
But no matter what, fill up their little tummies as best as you can, so that they do not wake up from their nap or sleep hungry. 
3.  Read books – 

Yes, I know this can sometimes be difficult to fit in. Goodness, how many times can I read “Where’s Spot?” or “Goodnight Moon”  I get it.  But, reading books is good on multiple levels – it helps your kid understand different pictures, sounds, words, and visual media. But, also, if you do this every time before they go to bed, it sets the precedent that this is the BEGINNING of the bedtime sequence.  

Will it work immediately? No, of course not.  But, over time it’s their Pavlovian cue that bed is near.

4. Create a sleep worth environment – 
Make it dark in the room with a good amount of white noise, and a tad bit on the cooler side.  Did you know that the perfect temperature level for a baby and toddler to sleep in is actually 63 degrees?  Think about it – can you sleep when it’s hot and stuffy in your room? Why would a toddler?
5. Bribery – 

Okay, I know that I shouldn’t be admitting this, but I’m an honest blogger. 

There are some days, which are very long and often begin with my stubbing my toe (or the equivalent of it) but you just know its going to be a rough day. During those days, my toddler likes to put up a fight for his nap. 

After I finish doing steps 1-4, and after all of my patience is drained and my infant daughter is crying because she just wants to go to sleep as well, I bribe my kid.  I bribe my son by telling him that if he sleeps, when he wakes up he can help me make cookies, or watch some of his favorite TV show. And if he does sleep, I give him what I agreed upon. I don’t beat myself up, but instead feel like we made a fair trade.

6. Cry Uncle

Then there are those days when naps just won’t happen. Fresh air, full tummies, books, music, and fantastic routines just didn’t work. 


Because somedays my kids just aren’t tired.  Think about it, sometimes you’re not tired either. You toss and turn in bed and can’t fall asleep either.  

So, if I realize its just going to be a no-nap day, I change my attitude and try to make the best of the day that is left! I often pack another small snack or a Horizon Super Squeeze, place both kiddos in the double stroller, and head out to the park. Because even if a nap was missed, I still want my routine to work for sleep at night – and that starts with fresh air and a full belly!

What tips do you have for making sure your children are sleepy and have full bellies before sleep?

Talk soon friends,

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