Snooze Crew by Robert Ito


LA MAGAZINE, June, 2007

Sleep Consultants Jennifer Waldburger and Jill Spivack will have your toddler out in no time.

BABY WON’T SLEEP? Back in the day, there was Goodnight Moon, a nip of brandy in the formula, and little else. Now there are sleep consultants who will coach you and your child when naps and bedtimes become fully pitched battles. Jennifer Waldburger and Jill Spivack, cofounders of Sleepy Planet, have helped the kids of thousands of clients. College best friends and the resident sleep experts on, the two were practicing psychotherapists before launching their company in 1999. Last month they released The Sleepeasy Solution ( Health Communications, $15) for those who can’t afford their $395-per-session-rate.


Spell out the perfect sleep routine.

A typical one might be a bath, putting on a diaper and pj’s, breast-feeding or a bottle, and then maybe a story. You can sing a little song, maybe say good night to all the stuffed animals or to the moon through the window. Parents can do whatever they want, as long as it’s low key. No videos, no beeping, blinking toys, no tossing the baby in the air. Just doing the same routine every night helps make your child sleepy. Then you can hand over your consistent, predictable routine to Grandma or a baby-sitter, and they’ll get same results.


It’s Friday night and we didn’t get baby home till nine. How important is a steady bedtime?
We strongly advocate an early bedtime for kids, usually between 7 and 8 p.m. If you nudge it back by even half an hour, that can make all the difference in a child being o overtired that they won’t be able to settle themselves into sleep easily or stay asleep through the night.


What if my child is scared of the dark?

When kids are between two and a half and three years old, their imagination grows quite a bit, so a shadow on the wall can become a big scary monster. We had a client who had and old heater that made these grumbling sounds, and her daughter was terrified of it. We gave it a name, Grover the Grumbler, and Mom made a big smiley face to go on top of it. Tell them the truth. Monsters are pretend, and you are safe in your home. If you’ll feel better, Mommy will leave the door open and the light on, but monsters aren’t real.