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Sept. 12, 2022

Episode 64: Sleep Baby Sleep with Becca Campbell

In this episode, DJ talks with pediatric sleep consultant, Becca Campbell about that precious commodity and foundation our children need to ensure health and wellness and being well rested… sleep! Tune in to hear how this mom gets her two elementary aged daughters to sleep 11 hours every single night! Curious about how she makes that happen? She has helped 1000s of families resolve exhausting sleep habits and she can help you too by listening to this episode.

Becca Campbell, M.A.T., is a certified pediatric sleep consultant and the CEO and founder of Little Z’s Sleep ( and The Sleep Sorority. She has guided tens of thousands of families through the exhausting world of newborn, baby, and toddler sleep and is trusted by pediatric clinics and medical specialists across the country. Becca is also the host of the #3 globally-ranked pediatric podcast, Little Z's Sleep Podcast, and her expertise has been featured in outlets like Parents magazine, NBC news, yahoo!Life, and Toddler Purgatory. As a CEO, wife, and mother of two, she understands the importance of restful, restorative sleep, so she’s dedicated to helping families make sleep a thing.

• [4:56] Becca discusses how sleep is the foundation of health and wellbeing.
• [7:54] “When you sleep, your appetite is regulated. When you sleep, your hormones, your emotions are regulated… sleep touches every part of your life.”
• [14:08] Becca talks about consolidated sleep and the importance of getting through all the sleep cycles so our bodies can get the actual rest and the reprieve it needs for the brain to function properly.
• [15:43] “75% of a child’s growth hormones that their body is going to be secreting are going to happen at nighttime.”

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Becca Campbell


DJ Stutz  0:13  
We think you should know that Imperfect Heroes podcast is a production of Little Hearts Academy USA. 

You're listening to Episode 64 of Imperfect Heroes, Insights Into Parenting, the perfect podcast for imperfect parents looking to find joy in their experience of raising children in an imperfect world. And I'm your host DJ Stutz. Becca Campbell, is a mom of two elementary aged daughters who sleep 11 hours every single night. Yep, I said 11 hours. And she now spends every evening after dinner with her husband and her business partner, Chad, and enjoys going on monthly date nights. Her mornings are calm as well. Curious about how she makes that happen. There's so much to learn. So let's get started.

If you enjoy this episode, I would love for you to let our guests know. Just scroll down to the bottom of our podcast page if you're listening on Apple podcasts, and just click on that fifth star. By adding a few short words about the episode, you let my guests know what you think of their message. And it really helps our podcast to grow. Taking time to give the podcast a five star rating and a review helps to expand the podcast and it makes it easier to find. And then we are able to help more families sleep training. Is it good or bad for kids? Well, both opinions are out there. But here's my thought when I'm helping to coach a parent on how to help their child through some difficult behaviors. The first question I ask is, how much sleep are they getting? I believe that sleep is one of the foundational pieces of the kiddo puzzle. And so imagine my excitement. When I found our guest today, Rebecca Campbell of Little Z's. Rebecca shares that before she began her counseling journey that has now helped 1000s of families resolve exhausting sleep habits. She was an elementary teacher. And then she had her first daughter. And it's no exaggeration to say that everything changed. You guys know all about that. And so she sat down a Google and started searching for answers. And this led her to discovering sleep consultants that could actually help. And she ended up working with one of those sleep consultants who helped guide her through a plan and answered her questions along the way. And now, since 2015, it has become her turn to do this every day for families just like you. Let's listen. 

Hey, everyone, I'm so glad you chose to spend this time with Imperfect Heroes. And today I am talking with Becca Campbell. And she's a pediatric sleep therapist. And so I have all kinds of questions for you. So Becca, why don't you talk to us a little bit about what you got going on and what you do?

Becca Campbell  3:38  
Yes, so I am owner of Little Z's Sleep Consulting, where I help make sleep help easy, which is really the foundation of everything that we do. It's our filter for creating everything. Because once upon a time, I thought sleep is the most impossible thing and why won't my baby just close your eyes and go to sleep. I've always valued sleep. I've always loved sleep. And so when I had our first daughter that was ripped away from me, and I felt like I couldn't do anything to help her which makes you feel obviously helpless mixed with all of the emotions of being a postpartum new mom many ways. And she really began my journey of trying to figure out what the heck is going on. Then I found out there was such thing as sleep consultants who can help you and I worked with one it was life changing within three nights. She's sleeping all night long. And I'm like, This is what I want to do. I want to help other people realize that your kid can sleep very capable of sleeping, we just need to equip them and help them get there. So little z sleep started in 2016 or 2015 Actually, and 2015 and since then, I've transitioned from helping families just in a one on one capacity and now we offer online courses for children ages zero to five years old and really beyond that just to really make sure that we all have the foundation of sleep which is the foundation of your health and wellness in place so that you can be happy, healthy and well rested.

DJ Stutz  5:03  
Well, and you mentioned it, but it's key what

Becca Campbell  5:07  
I was doing. And then by the time I second came along, they're 18 months apart. I had an 18 month old and a newborn, but it was like, Oh, I know what to do. I know what her routine is. I know how to do this. And very different than Oh, well, you know, you already had one kid, you should probably know some of the ropes. This time I actually knew about sleep, and I know what she should be getting. I knew how to do these things. I've been teaching people what to do. So it does make from the beginning, there are so many good domino effects that happen when you can start from the day one, okay, let's start a bedtime routine. Okay, you're only awake for about 45 minutes. Now it's time to go down for a nap. And just knowing as your child grows and changes, a lot changes and a lot of sleep changes. And when you can just stay on top of that, and help them shift through those patterns and changes. It makes everybody so much happier. And especially I love to tell parents, like hey, your kid is probably cute and adorable and lovely. But I'm really here for you. Because if Mom, Dad caregivers, if you're not well rested, then everything else, nothing else matters. So that's definitely for me. It's really all about that mom, who I was that mom who wasn't getting any rest. And just the difference that that makes it does sound cheesy to say all sleep is life changing. Because when you have sleep, you don't think that that's the truth. But when you don't have it, it is life changing. So definitely a big thing.

DJ Stutz  6:30  
Absolutely it is. And I know I'm a sleeper. And my kids, they took naps, all of them, at least through kindergarten. And then I had one daughter that had to have a nap after school through the end of first grade. And so that was just a big help for me too. And then having them sleep through the night. And so what as a parent, being able to get that sleep, Does that have an effect on things like postpartum depression or just your psychological state? How does that work? Yeah, so

Becca Campbell  7:14  
I love there's a quote by Dr. Matthew West, who wrote the book, why we sleep and he's a pioneer right now in the sleep education that sleep awareness. And he talks about how about 5060 years ago, people really thought that when you slept, your body just shuts down. That's just kind of what they thought it was like, Oh, I guess you've kind of been come up to those two, just brains dead, nothing's going on. Then they started to realize, oh, actually, your brain is more active when you're sleeping, which seems not quite normal that we think of like sleep easier, just done. So they started to recognize as they started to study sleep that, Wow, your brain is super active. Oh, wow. When you sleep, all of these things start to happen. When you sleep, your appetite is regulated. When you sleep, your your hormones, your emotions are regulated. And even just listing these things. If you are a tired parent, I don't even have to convince you that you do feel on edge, you do feel like you are disinterested in the world around you. For a child broken sleep goes into they don't know that their emotions are not regulated. But you can tell because they're on edge. Every little thing sets them off. They're grouchy. They're like a bear. I always say that, like they're bear throughout the day. They're just difficult throughout the day. And what we know now about sleep that Dr. West talks about is that we now realize that there is absolutely no part of the human body and being that is unaffected by Sleep, sleep touches every part of your life. And so I love you could just do a quick Google search and be like what are the effects of sleep deprivation and there's sharks out there that literally point to every single part of your body that we now know that you're at a lower risk for diabetes, you're at a lower risk for heart disease just for sleeping through the night and getting solid sleep and getting the sleep that we need. And it's just one thing after the next and what I love to tell children really toddlers, preschoolers and school age is that is what I tell my own girls. I tell them listen, like when you sleep, your body is growing because your body at nighttime. When you get that consolidated rest your body secretes 75% of the growth hormones. And so sleep is vitally important to our babies and our toddlers and our children as they grow properly. And so for children and adults, definitely, we all need sleep, there's not nothing that's going to be impacted by that for the postpartum mom. studies now show that if she can get six hours of uninterrupted sleep at nighttime, she's significantly at a lower risk to develop postpartum depression. That sounds like a lot six hours that this is why we need to utilize our village around us to help us throughout the day and throughout the night so we can get as much sleep as possible, but it is something that we all need. It's not something that we get lucky if we get it or Oh, I wish that will happen one day is something. This is our catchphrase that Little Caesars that I always say sleep is a thing, it's a thing right in front of you you can have it's not a fanciful unicorn, it is something we can all be a part of. And that's our desires to help spread that awareness.

DJ Stutz  10:21  
You've said a couple of things that have really keyed some interest in me. So if a new mom needs to get six hours of sleep, but their baby needs to eat every three hours or whatever, because they're really new, how do you work that

Becca Campbell  10:36  
so in those newborn stages, where the throughout the daytime, it will likely yes, be about every two to three hours, that's definitely something you're going to want to stay on top of. As soon as it gets to be the evening time, it's the bedtime routine, we normally want to Okay, let's get the baby out. And just give me a few minutes, right, give me a few minutes to scroll my phone, and then I'll go eat some dinner. And then I'll just go talk to my partner and, and I get that you want to be yourself for a few minutes. But in those early weeks, if you can get to sleep, the moment that the baby's asleep, and try to get the longest stretches at nighttime, because at nighttime, they're not always going to wake up every two to three hours. Maybe in the early days, that might be a thing. But if it's something where you are able to as soon as the baby goes to sleep for bedtime, you go immediately go to sleep, if you can take shifts with the partner, if you are able to get a night nanny, or you are able to get a family member or friend to come help you and you've either done some pumping, or some hand expressing and you can still offer breast milk, if you're doing formula, they can offer that feed as well. But if we can ask the people around us to help us for a few hours during that nighttime, that's gonna make a world of a difference. If you need to split up the night and say, okay, Partner A, you take this and then Mom, I'm going to take this, the second half, if we can divide and conquer, that's obviously going to be the best for everybody. And it's hard as the newborn mom to ask for that help. But you're going to need to ask for that help. And we really want to educate those moms that asking for help is definitely hard, you're in your hormonal state of feeling like you need to do it all. But you need to release some of that control. And so the way we teach it is if you can get that baby to sleep, and in those early weeks, you get to sleep yourself, if you can offer someone else to feed the baby for a few hours. And then okay, maybe that's it 2am Now it's your ship, if you've gotten those six hours, we want to do whatever we can to try to help that situation.

DJ Stutz  12:29  
That's such a great idea. And that's something you can do while you're pregnant, getting it set up. That's one less thing to be stressed about as you're coming close to birth. And as you're trying to make those plans. And I know that for me, as a mom, I would be happy to be there. If you know that lift within a reasonable amount of area or take some time off work to go and be there for my daughter, I also know that my girls would do that for each other, happily more than happily. And sometimes you don't have the family dynamics where you can really ask for that. Which is so sad. But ask. Anyway, sometimes maybe that's the thing that heals the relationship was when you do service for someone, but try and get maybe some friends or people you know at church. And then if you are the friend of a pregnant mom, or you know somebody, and you can say, Hey, let this be my baby gift to you. I will come on, like Monday and Thursday nights. And I'll take care of the baby. Give them a bottle with express milk or whatever. And I'm gonna let you get that sleep. I think oftentimes when we think of helping will go and think we're going to help during the day. So mom can take a nap is there a difference between helping during the day and then helping in the night?

Becca Campbell  14:08  
So it's really a big benefit for Consolidated sleep. Because you know we having a night of broken sleep is horrible. It there's nothing you can sink into bed you're like I just want to sleep until morning. You know, it's not like oh, I wish I could happen. I would definitely want moms to get as much consolidated nighttime sleep a nap. Yes, if you can also sneak in an app go for it. We're not going to deprive you or deny you of that. But it definitely is a big deal to get that consolidated nighttime sleep there throughout your sleep. You're cycling through sleep stages. And there are so many benefits that come through completing those cycles and not breaking those cycles. And so for our bodies to get the actual rest the reprieve that your body needs your brain to function properly. We need to have that consolidated nighttime sleep and So that's where I'm gonna lean heavily into as well. I think a lot of times we lean on the daytime naps, because we're getting broken sleep at nighttime. And again, you are tired, you had a baby, you have a newborn, you can have the daytime sleep as well. But if we can really focus on those nighttime, that's going to be key. That's great.

DJ Stutz  15:16  
And then another thing, that kind of kid a thought for me is you were talking about how that's when they're growing hormones kick in. And so we're giving our kids the best chance for normal growth. If we can get them to sleep as early as we can in their life, to get them to get that consolidated sleep, is that right is the day you understand you.

Becca Campbell  15:43  
Right? When we sleep at nighttime, again, for a child 75% of their growth hormones that their body is going to be secreting are going to happen at nighttime. And so that's the importance of having proper amounts of sleep. Newborns excluded, because they will wake up throughout the night time. Little Z's What we teach is starting from four months old, really all the way to preschool, we're looking at 11 to 12 hours of nighttime sleep now for those maybe young babies between four to six months, they still might have a nighttime feed, that's perfectly okay. But especially our toddlers are especially our preschoolers who they're running around, they're learning new developments, they're going to daycare or they're at the sitter or they're with you all day, we want to be able to make sure that they are getting adequate hours of sleep, we always kind of look at Babies like Well, of course, they're gonna go to bed at seven, they're a baby. So it is your toddler, your bed, probably at seven as well. Probably more so than the baby sometimes. And so for toddlers and preschoolers, sometimes we think like, oh, well, they're growing up. So that means a later bedtime. Absolutely not toddlers and preschoolers still need 10 to 12 hours of sleep. This there's a big asterisk on whether they're napping or not, but they still need that 10 to 12 hours of sleep in a 24 hour cycle. So that's where I really want to help educate a family is whether they need that nap or whether they need to have that at nighttime. But that's what I love to kind of all air quote trick, you know, kids and be like, Oh, isn't that so cool, you're gonna get such a good night's sleep. And that's when you're going to grow. And that's really cool for a kid because every kid wants to grow big and strong. So that's definitely my my sneaky way of talking to you about that.

DJ Stutz  17:15  
I just actually did an episode with a lady who wrote a book, The growing bed. And that's a great story about a little boy who wanted to grow and to be able to reach things and go on a ride or whatever. And she said, yeah, you can do all those things, as soon as you grow, but you need to stay in your growing bed. So mom and dad's bed is not a growing bed. Yeah, bad is in here. That doesn't mean that you can't come in if you have a nightmare or whatever. But then we're gonna get everyone calmed down. And then we want to go back to our growing bed, so that you can get bigger and do all of these grown up things. Yeah, and I just love the book. So maybe those are was some of the tricks then that you're talking to your kiddo. But let's go then back to like around the four to six months. What are some things that you can do to help your child actually get that sleep?

Becca Campbell  18:24  
Yeah, so from the beginning, really, from like, let's say zero to six months old, the biggest thing that I want parents to do is feed their baby awake, not for sleep. Food is not for sleep. Food is for nourishment. And so when we you can start that from literally the beginning of their life, teaching them that when we breastfeed or bottle feed, your eyes are awake, your brain and your stomach are connected. This is the analogy that I give parents, sometimes when you are eating breakfast, or a snack or whatever meal of the day is and maybe you've got the TV on, or maybe you're scrolling your phone, and you're sitting there watching something and you're mindlessly eating your lunch. All of a sudden you look down you're like wait a minute, where'd my food go? But your brain was engaged in the phone, your brain was engaged in the movie or the show, whatever you're watching it wasn't engaged with analyzing how much is left on your plate. Wasn't that tasty? Ooh, that was a good bite. You're not thinking about those things. You're thinking about the entertainment you're watching. And so when your child is sleeping on the food that's being processed, they're not thinking about, Oh, my belly is full now. Oh, that was delicious. It's thinking about okay, so the sucking reflex that I'm doing helps put me to sleep. So then parents are always surprised. Well, why is my kid waking up five, six times a night to eat well, because they truly believe that they have to just suck to sleep. And so we want that child to know that you always need to be awake and alert for food because food is for nourishment, not for sleep. That

DJ Stutz  19:51  
is an I've never heard that strategy before. Wow, that is interesting. So We have fed them and then we're going to play with them right after they eat or

Becca Campbell  20:06  
depending on the daytime so or day or nighttime. So during the daytime, I love to follow, I loosely advise that we follow it eat play sleepy play sleep was popularized by the Babywise program, which is you've got to be careful this as an aside, you really do need to be careful about where you're getting your parenting philosophies from, because it may work for you, or it may stress you out. And so especially for in this zero to six month parenting range, just be careful of what you were consuming, and how it's making you feel if you feel on edge and stressed out and like you're failing all the time, it might be the information you're consuming. If you're feeling empowered, if you're feeling like this is helpful, then that's maybe something good that your philosophy is aligning with. And every parent's going to be different. So when I talk about the eat, play sleep during the day, yes, we're going to, you know, wake up from our nap, we're going to eat our food, we're going to play for a little bit, and we're gonna go back down for a nap. And some people that works really well. And that's their rhythm that they like to keep. And so during the day, we're going to cycle through eating, playing, sleeping, eating, playing, sleeping until it's bedtime. And then we go through our bedtime routine. And now it's nighttime and then during the nighttime if they do if and when they do wake for a feed, that feed is awake and alert, but then we're going on right back to sleep. And so then we get back into that crib or into the bassinet. So during the day, eat, play, sleep is a great thing to aim towards. It's not going to happen all the time, but it's a great thing to aim towards. And then for the nighttime, we want to advocate for that consolidated sleep.

DJ Stutz  21:32  
I love that you said it's not going to happen all the time. I think sometimes parents are so hard on themselves and that I didn't get it comes to have five kids your way calm or the one, especially with those first maybe second kids, you are you want everything right? You want this, and you can be really hard on yourself. So I love that you said that. Thank you so much for that. And then so like does having a warm bath before we put them down? Are those kind of routines really helpful or not?

Becca Campbell  22:13  
Oh, for sure. So bedtime routine is the core like if people know little z's. For one thing, it's likely bedtime routine. I teach this all the time that that type of routines are incredibly important for everyone, you know, we have our own, you don't maybe label it as that but you do the likely the same steps every night before you go to bed. And our body knows that it's time. So from the beginning for babies having a bath or a wipe down something that sensation with water. Water is so different from the rest of the day. They're not playing in water during the day. So the moment that their body gets in that bath, or they feel the warm washcloth or they're kicking their legs in the sink. Okay, now we're getting ready for bed, it starts to send that cue of getting ready for sleep or getting ready for bed bath. I've heard people say, Oh, I like to do it in the middle of the day, or I do it you know, at another time of day not for bedtime. There's actually a reason it's popular or it's good for bedtime. Yes, it sends the cue. But also our bodies when we get into bed and we go to our body gets ready to fall asleep, our body actually drops its core temperature ever so slightly, not a whole lot, just a little bit. And so when you take a warm bath or a warm shower and you get out of the water or the warm water and your skin hits that cooler, you're kind of like, you get a little chill. And that actually helps the process of your body like Okay, actually Alright, so we're going to start getting ready for sleep. So it's actually very helpful cue No, it does not mean that bath time has to be like, Everybody calm down and don't rile the child up and don't have fun. Like bathtime is supposed to be fun giggles play and all that good stuff. But starting your routine from the moment that they're born with, okay, it's nighttime, it's bedtime routine. A bath is the first step is definitely a great option.

DJ Stutz  23:55  
That is really so interesting. And I think if you're doing that, eat play sleep routine. It's okay for the bath to be play. thing for sure. Is that comes right before the sleep Correct?

Becca Campbell  24:10  
Exactly. Yep.

DJ Stutz  24:11  
Nice. Very nice. Okay, so we're gonna start moving along, and the kids are getting maybe a little older. Many, many parents that I coach that I work with, and they'll say, they just won't go to bed. They were up until like midnight, just trying to get this kid to sleep. And we're having so many behavior issues and I'm trying to make that connection and they really are shocked when I tell them your child needs 1112 hours of sleep at night. How am I supposed to do that? They just won't go. Do you have some ideas or suggestions on what we can do for those guys?

Becca Campbell  24:58  
Yes, and likely everything that I teach for toddler and preschool sleep is parent coaching. And you probably can already guess that. So something that I realized a little later in my coaching with parents was I remember having this aha moment I was in I used to do in homes, and I went to this local family's home and the child was four and a half. And the dad was a lawyer, I forget what the mom did. But the dad made it very clear to me that he was a lawyer, and this is his thing. And it was time to get the little girl to bed. And she said, But I went goldfish. And I'm still I'm standing right there. And I had just talked about the we're gonna go do this routine, I've laid out the routine showed her the cards, okay, here's your visual cues. We're going to do this checklist together. This we're going to do, but she looked at our gold fish, and he's like, okay, you can have some gold fish. And all of a sudden, I was like, oh, there's no boundaries here. There's no boundaries at all. There's no this this little one rules the roost. And sure enough, as I watched everything, there were no boundaries, the word no was never said. And so this aha moment happened when I was like, Oh, my goodness, you're never going to get your child to sleep, you're never going to get them to stay in their bed or sleep at night. If there are no boundaries during the day, you can't all of a sudden, the sun goes down. Now you're supposed to listen to me. And so realistically, the very first thing that I want parents to think of is, if you want to make changes in your child's sleep, I'm so happy, we can definitely help you do that. But my online course my program or anything is not going to work. Or if there's no structure, if your child's never heard the word, no, this is going to be a disaster. And so really, what you need to do is have a conversation with your partner with yourself with your family on what boundaries do we have in place, and you start to put those in place on Okay, let's start some routines. Let's start some scheduled start some responsibility. Now we can talk about, okay, let's start a bedtime routine. Because in the bedtime routine, there's no TV, there's no phone, there's no YouTube, there's none of that. And if your child always hears Yes, yes, yes to those things, your structure is going to fall apart, because you're not even sure what to do in this situation. So I know it seems like that's the cop out answer, well won't work for you if you don't have boundaries. But you know what I mean, if there's no boundaries, there's no chance that you can really do anything with sleep and sleep training, which gets a bad rap for many reasons. Sleep training for a toddler, and a preschooler is all about giving your child the confidence that they are fully capable of doing a routine, getting into their bed, closing their eyes and going to sleep all night. But if there's no structure, if they rule the roost, they actually have zero confidence in themselves to do that. They're depending on you to help them do everything, right. And so it really starts with that conversation. And then we can spill into Alright, let's start a bedtime routine. All right, let's make sure that you know, you stay in your bed all night long. And then everything kind of ripples from that. But I always like to say that, especially on this type of podcast, because it's like, well, there's no chance really, I mean, I could be dismal about it. But that's where the line is.

DJ Stutz  28:05  
Yes. I could jump up and down right now and move my arms and say, Yeah, we're finally saying it and talking about it. Because that is key and your children don't learn confidence when they don't have boundaries and that they are capable of this. This is my safe place. I can't go into the haunted forest. Right? Although there might be some unicorns in there. But Baltimore may be there too. And I can't go. So I love what you're saying and that it's all connected with that whole child experience, where we're looking at the whole child the whole day, and how we are working through that. So thank you so much for saying that. Now, let me ask you some questions about napping during the day. So coming from my background with early childhood, I do know that childcare facilities that have an all day program are required to have a set napping time for children until they hit kindergarten. So maybe your system or the school that you take your kids to has a private kindergarten time that napping requirement will then leave at that point. But if they are in pre kindergarten, and I mean from birth to starting kindergarten, they're required to have a napping time. It's going to vary from age. But if you're looking at three, four and five year olds, depends on what state you're working in. As to how long that needs to be. It could be anywhere from one to two hours, but then you get parents who say please Don't make my child's sleep. They won't sleep at night, if they have that nap helped me out with that.

Becca Campbell  30:07  
Yes. So it is truly the most frustrating topic of conversation. Because a child, three years old and older, may not need a nap. Right? My kiddos actually stopped napping. I always like to say that, really, the Lord was testing me my skills and my abilities. And at two years and four months old, both of my daughters dropped their nap, which was pretty young. But I did all the things. And so when it comes to daycare, for babies, kind of the roller coaster ride is that your baby, just, I hate to say it, but they're gonna have short naps, because it's bright, it's loud. It's just the nature of it, then you get to the toddler, right when they get to do the one nap. And it's like, yeah, who they clearly know the lights are off their sound machines on, they finally have a good nap. And then they hit about three to three and a half to four. And that child really needs 11 to 12 hours of sleep, but in a 24 hour cycle. And so it's common that the daycare or the school will provide a two hour nap, which means that now your child maybe needs like nine hours of sleep at night, maybe 10 hours of sleep at night. And so for that parent who they have that nap time, in the middle of the day, I tried to educate on two different ways. If the child is taking a deep nap in the middle of the day, then that's totally fine. You know what, let's count this as a gift that you weren't able to spend time with your child during the day. Now, instead of a seven or 730 bedtime, we're probably looking at like an eight or 830 bedtime. So because of that, go have dinner, have some connection time, go out and play together, enjoy the little extra hour that you have, do your bedtime routine and get them to bed. But just know that because they napped likely yes, they will need less a little less sleep at nighttime. But probably the most frustrating part of the daycare nap is truly when the child is like not that that's they're not sleeping anymore. But they're forced to lay there on the mat. Right. And then because the child no longer needs this naptime, a working family may not be getting home and still between five or 6pm. Right. But a toddler who is now no longer napping actually needs to go to bed by six or 630. Because they're so tired, there's a long time to be awake for them. And that for my job, it's the most heartbreaking thing to be like I know. But for right now for maybe a month or so you need to get home immediately put your child to bed because that's what's best for them. And it's this like frustrating tension of whether they are napping or they're not napping, and what that means for that family but I always asked parents to have a conversation with the daycare provider. With the school, I've been able to work with lots of wonderful daycares who've been flexible with us one of my favorite tips. If your child is having a very long nap, they are maxing out but two hours and they're not falling asleep till 10pm. Because they're just wide awake in their bed. Ask the daycare. If your child can be the last one in line to go potty a lot of times they'll go potty before naptime. Yeah, so ask them like, can you go last? Like can my child be the last one to go to the potty? That way? They're the last one to lay down on their mat. And then could you wake my child up first. So maybe this means that they are getting an hour and a half nap instead of a two hour nap, which is a big deal, like a difference of half an hour is a big thing for a kid. Or I actually have had success with daycares who say yes to could you wake my child up after an hour. And there have been a few daycares that said yes, that's fine, because they're required to offer the nap, but maybe not against state by state. But you know, the child could wake up and color or do something on their mat or something like that. So don't ever think that just because like that's the rule, that's what it is like talk to your daycare provider that a lot of the times they are willing to work with you. But there is that tension of nap is teetering on non existence at that age anymore.

DJ Stutz  33:55  
And I think it too helps to know what the rules are as you go in. So you might have some where the state really only requires an hour, but the program offers too. Because that's when that teacher eats their lunch. That's when they have the time to do their lesson planning. You know what I mean? It's not like Elementary where you can send them off to music and library and art. And so you have that time, they say for lesson planning, but oftentimes they plan meetings for that time.

Becca Campbell  34:32  
Oh, as a former teacher, I know that. So you

DJ Stutz  34:35  
know, yes, I'm there. But with the childcare, they don't have that opportunity. And so they'll use that. But if you know the rules going in and you can Google it, childcare, napping requirements for Michigan or wherever you are, you can find it and then you are armed with not College as you go in. I also like that you offered some suggestions that the parents can use as they go in, so that they're not just coming with the problem. They also have some potential compromises or alternatives that you can do. Yeah, no. Then I have another question. Yeah. So many questions. So what about the kid that just won't wake up from that nap, I spent a couple of years working at a community college, as one of the administrators for their child development labs, we were working with the Early Childhood Education Department. This is where they came to do some of their that students would come to do some of their observations and work and blah, blah, blah. And we had a couple of kids that we'd have the lights on and music's going, and there's movement all around them. And that little guy or gal is just dead to the world is now telling us something or

Becca Campbell  36:08  
I think sometimes it's definitely personalities, I think about some of us are easier to stir than others. Some of us sleep through a thunderstorm and it's right over our house. I definitely think that there's differences in your kind of sleep personality. And I have had parents tell me that when the baby wakes up from a nap, the baby's instantly crying, or when the toddler finally emerges from their nap after being shaken awake. They're instantly like, oh, I wanted to keep sleeping. It's like, No, you you slept the entire time. And even on my own team, we have a lot of our sleep consultants on our team. Some of them their kids sleep 13 to 14 hours a night. And I'm like, that's crazy. I mean ever happened. But there's different personalities and different types of kids. And so in a situation where a baby wakes up crying, I always tell those parents like that is not your baby's saying that they hate sleep and that they hate you for putting him in the crib. Like because that's instantly what we take it as like, oh adorable. I can't believe I made you take him out. For these toddlers who are not waking up from their nap. They could be extremely deep, heavy sleepers, right? Where that is just happening for them. We also don't know, are they not getting sleep at nighttime, and now they're like, finally sleeping during the daytime. So this is something to then evaluate for a child who's three year old and up when parents tell me that their child is really, really miserable to be around after naptime because it's grouchy. And the whole rest of the afternoon is shot until bedtime, then I'll still have dropped the nap. Don't really need it anymore. After three years old, you don't really need to have that nap, you can have more nighttime sleep. And so if that's the case, you know, save yourself some frustration every single afternoon and just cut the nap. To have some quiet time is a little different. They have some quiet time, they have some time together, do something fun, and let's get him to bed early to compensate for No nap time. So that's kind of my go to answer for those grouchy toddlers who have a really hard time waking up.

DJ Stutz  37:59  
Right. And I think I, too, was lucky enough when my kids were little. They didn't go to childcare. They stayed home with me. And stuff. They were sleeping extra long. I just let them sleep. Yeah. And then we just made whatever adjustments that we needed to the rest of the day. And I know you work with up to five, is that right? Correct. But once kids do start kindergarten, how how much of a change in the amount of sleep they need. Certainly, it's a gradual thing. It's not like, oh, they only need eight hours now. When they've need right and the 12 before,

Becca Campbell  38:43  
right. So I just my youngest just graduated from kindergarten. And if there is one thing that I know, especially because this podcast will be coming out in the back to school time. One thing I know about kindergarteners is that kindergarten wipes them out. My daughter was in preschool from eight to two every day. So it wasn't like she wasn't used to being in school, but that she went to public elementary, and that was from again, eight to 230 30 minutes longer than a preschool. She was exhausted. And I could tell because every single afternoon at about four or 430 She would kind of just like get a little glazy eyed. And then about five o'clock, her temper would flare and she would be grouchy. She would be short tempered. Kindergarten is a huge deal. It's you know, likely a brand new place a brand new facility, it's likely more kids in their classroom than it was before. It's the obviously a new teacher. There's a lot of learning a new skills, a lot of learning the system and the new place and that takes a lot out of a child. I am not exaggerating when I say from September when my youngest started kindergarten all the way up to the spring. Reading, we were putting her to bed at 645 because she was done. And my tell tale for her is that she needs 11 to 11 and a half hours of sleep. I know that for her, and when I would push her because I think, oh, you know what she's okay, like it's been five months of an early bedtime, likely she's adjusted. Now, when I would start to push her to seven or 715, she would start to wake up at five 530. And for children who are waking up early in the morning, one of the biggest reasons is because they are overtired. We think that when you're overtired, you're so tired, you're gonna crash, you're gonna sleep 15 hours, right? That's not the case at all. For children. If children are overtired, they're not going to be able to settle into sleep, they're not going to get the full amount of sleep. And so the best gift that you can give your kindergartener is putting them to bed early, they've had a lot going on that day, they need to go to sleep, they need their brains need to process need to get that rest, get that growth, and then be up ready to go the next morning, likely 11 hours later. So it's definitely an important thing to get them to bed.

DJ Stutz  41:05  
Absolutely. And let me just say that there's physical exhaustion, they've been out swimming, great afternoon activity, if you weren't happy lately, that night, or running around, they're playing soccer, they're doing whatever, there's that physical exhaustion thing. But there's also a mental exhaustion that takes place. And that's the exhaustion as you know, someone who taught kindergarten for many, many years, there's a mental exhaustion that takes place because now we're requiring so much more mentally from our kids when they enter kindergarten. It's not what it used to be. And I have actually issues that us pushing it too early on our kids just for whatever reason. But I think that's the biggest reason that our kindergarteners will all of a sudden be so exhausted, after it's the mental exhaustion that's taking place. All right, here's some more questions for you. This is not your first child. And so they have an older sibling. And maybe it's significantly older. Maybe this is your third, fourth, fifth, I have a brother with eight kids. And so you've got schedules for these older kids, that they have soccer practice and piano lessons, or karate or whatever is going on at church activities. It could be a ton of different things. And so you are not home at the right time for your little one to get to bed. Do you have any ideas for that?

Becca Campbell  42:53  
Yes, this is definitely something that occurs often especially with like you said, church Wednesday night activities or VBS going until 830. Right? I think there are special circumstances where it's okay, right in the summertime, where maybe there's like a VBS going on, it's too late. Okay, we can handle that for a week. It's one week out of the year, it's okay. But if it really is something where you have a lot of little ones, and you've got a lot of different schedules, and it's like, well, actually, you know, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday nights, you know, they're not gonna be able to go to sleep until 830. Then I really got to ask that we've got to drop some balls or you need to get some assistance in some way. Is there is is your child who has soccer practice? Is there someone nearby who can run carpool, or maybe you can drop them off, but someone else can pick them up so that you can be home to put your little one to bed. It's not worth sacrificing the other kiddos bedtimes and their need for sleep to be able to run all the errands and do all the things I would absolutely want to utilize the power of carpool the power of the other partner the power of a babysitter. One of my favorite things is that when you do have a child who knows how to sleep, well, you know, you can put them in their crib, they're going to fall asleep within 10 minutes and they're going to sleep all night long. Great. The cheapest babysitter you can get someone in your neighborhood to come watch the monitor because you know they're not going to wake up. So okay, can I put my kid to sleep? You watch the monitor. I'm gonna go run carpool pickup this time. So what can we do to outsource some of the help and what can we do to make sure that we can still get those bedtimes I'm okay with once, maybe twice, but that's like almost making me cringe a little bit once a week having a later bedtime. But when we get to more frequently, I want people to remember it takes 24 hours for a child to get back on sometimes up to 48 depending on the intensity of the day, but it takes 24 hours for them to be getting back on track back onto their normal rhythm. And it's just not worth having like one night or two nights and then now that's really the whole week you're recovering and then you gotta relax. It's Washington repeat the next week. So see if we can get some help see if we can get some assistance to make that time happen.

DJ Stutz  45:06  
And there are places that you can go, I know when, actually, when I just had my first son, I was pregnant with my second. And we had a lot of at home moms, because you know, I'm old. And we did this coop. And we actually kept track of minutes. So you would watch other kids from the Co Op, and we had set times, and you would earn minutes that you could spend with the other moms as they were earning their minutes to be able to go out and run errands. And so there are a lot of great ideas that may be a little outside of the box that you could come up with that could really help you with that. Absolutely. Yeah. Okay. Well, if my families, my listeners, want to get a hold of you and learn more, where would they go?

Becca Campbell  46:04  
Yes, everything is housed on our website. So that's little z That's where you're going to find our sleep courses, our YouTube channel, our podcast and our blog all there for you. So little z is the landing page.

DJ Stutz  46:18  
I love it. So it's kind of everything's right there.

Becca Campbell  46:22  
Everything is all right there for you.

DJ Stutz  46:24  
So convenient. So to make it easy, yes. And no matter where you are in the country, or if that listeners in 22 countries actually right now. And so no matter where you are, we can still go to your website and sign up for some of your virtual, we can listen to your podcast, and get some great help and information. We don't have to live right where you are.

Becca Campbell  46:54  
Exactly. Now this is for anyone with a child who is not sleeping, and you are ready for help, we can help you no matter where you are.

DJ Stutz  47:02  
Great. All right. One last question. Yes. And I forgot to tell you about this.

Becca Campbell  47:10  
great surprise,

DJ Stutz  47:12  
I think you're going to do awesome. How would you define a successful parent?

Becca Campbell  47:19  
I would define a successful parent as a parent who enjoys their child and finds happiness in being with them.

DJ Stutz  47:32  
I agree. And that's my tagline. Let's find joy in parents.

Becca Campbell  47:36  
Oh, yeah, it's true. I tell my girls every night when we say goodnight, say their prayers, we sing to them. And even if I'm not feeling it, I always say, you know, you make me really happy. And I love you very much. I never heard that as a kid. And I want them to know that my happiness doesn't depend on them. But they do make me happy. So

DJ Stutz  47:55  
great answer. Great answer. I love it. Becca Campbell, thank you so much for spending this time with us. And you have just so much information, all of the contacts that I even wrote down the name of the book, why we sleep, we're going to put all of that in the show notes so that families can look that up and hopefully contact you if they're having issues. But what a wealth of information. Thank you so much. I really appreciate it.

Becca Campbell  48:24  
Oh, thank you for having me. That was fun. You bet.

DJ Stutz  48:30  
Wasn't she great? I loved that. She said, Be careful where you get your information. And that not everything works for everybody. So you may have a great source of information for one family. But that plan or that design doesn't really work for a different family. It's no reflection on the source. But it does mean that you have to be careful. And listen, and really imagine and work out is this what's right for my family. And another thing that she said that I really really liked is that the actual place to start is with having boundaries during the day. Because I believe that is another foundational piece of the kiddo puzzle. Kids have to have boundaries, and they have to be consistent. So if they don't have to listen to you during the day, why on earth would they have to listen to you during the night? It all comes together. And so if you're interested in finding Becca, and Little Z's and all that information is there in the show notes, I hope you go and check it out. 

And so during September, I am trying something new and I'm also going to do a live session on Wednesdays on Instagram. So remember, I'm still doing my Facebook LIVE every Tuesday night at seven o'clock mountain time. So the new podcast comes out on Mondays and that's going to give you a chance to learn, listen, and then you can join in on either one of the lives Tuesday at Facebook, Wednesday on Instagram. And you can share your stories and your thoughts about what that episode means for you. It's lots of fun. My handle on both Facebook and Instagram are Imperfect Heroes podcast so you can find me there. And then next week, the host of the podcast, Education on Fire, Mark Taylor is joining me all the way from England. Mark and I are talking about opportunities to bring the community in as a part of our child's education. And then what does that mean for everyone? What does that mean for the kids? What does that mean for the community? So until next time, let's find joy in parenting.

Transcribed by

Becca CampbellProfile Photo

Becca Campbell

Pediatric Sleep Consultant

Becca Campbell, M.A.T., is a certified pediatric sleep consultant and the CEO and founder of Little Z’s Sleep ( and The Sleep Sorority. She has guided tens of thousands of families through the exhausting world of newborn, baby, and toddler sleep and is trusted by pediatric clinics and medical specialists across the country. Becca is also the host of the #3 globally-ranked pediatric podcast, Little Z's Sleep Podcast, and her expertise has been featured in outlets like Parents magazine, NBC news, yahoo!Life, and Toddler Purgatory. As a CEO, wife, and mother of two, she understands the importance of restful, restorative sleep, so she’s dedicated to helping families make sleep a thing.