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James and Ola Jordan's tough night with baby Ella - watch

Catch up on the former Strictly dancers' latest column

Sophie Hamilton

Anyone who's ever tried to get a toddler to sleep will know it's not that simple and former Strictly dancers James and Ola Jordan know exactly how this feels.

The couple are parents to little girl, Ella, 16 months, but unfortunately Ella doesn’t like sleep quite as much as her parents do!

The pair can be up several times a night with Ella's night-time wakings and she's often awake at four or five am for the day, as we see in the exclusive video below.

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WATCH: Ola and James try to tire out Ella's for a good night's sleep

In their weekly HELLO! parenting column, James and Ola told us how they are exhausted from the lack of sleep and were determined to get some shut-eye by wearing Ella out. Cue a shopping trip, soft play, several trips up and down the stairs and some energetic bed bouncing.

Read about Ella's busy day and night below…

Mission: Wear Ella out!

Most of the time, a tired baby is a sleeping baby, so Ola and James planned an action-packed day to wear out little Ella. First up was a shopping trip to Bluewater and a run around the soft play.

James reveals: "When we got there she wouldn't walk, but then we encouraged her and we did about three loops of Bluewater. She got a lot of steps in yesterday!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by James Jordan (@jamesjordan1978)

"She liked the soft play so much she was screaming when we left," he adds. "She was a bit nervous at the beginning with the slide but once she went down it, she was fine. She loved it."

"To be honest with you, daddy enjoyed it too – the balls and sliding and everything. He was right in there!" says Ola.

James replied: "No I was doing it for my daughter…" to which Ola laughs, "Yeah, whatever!"

The family grabbed a bite to eat together then it was home for some more playing.

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Ella goes out for lunch with mum and dad

"I reckon I must have taken her up and down those stairs at home about 10 times," says James. "Then I was chasing her around. I was going, 'Oh push your pram round'.

Then she was running on the sofa and jumping on the bed for ages – we were trying to get her to do as much as possible." Ola recalls: "We were exhausted!"

"Yes, we were in bed by 10.30 which is unusual for us," says James. "That's probably why we get so tired – because we go to bed so late. I think we need to start going to bed when she does."

The bedtime routine

In the video, we see Ola and James' calming bedtime routine with Ella – but the peace doesn't last for long as their daughter is soon standing up in her cot calling for mum and dad.

Ola tells us: "That's pretty much every night like that. I can be in her room for about an hour but she doesn't want to go down. Every time I leave the room she'll scream because I leave.

"I've got a stars projector and she wants me to put it on. I connect my phone to it so I play a quiet Twinkle Twinkle song that she loves, but it feels like she's not going to sleep because she's watching it all the time."

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Ella is finally asleep!

James adds: "We'll be downstairs and she can be literally falling asleep and you go, 'Right, she's knackered', but then it takes her an hour to fall asleep. She fights going to sleep. Even during the day when she's tired, she cries herself to sleep.

"The best way to get her to sleep is if we're driving somewhere for half an hour. She'll cry and put up a bit of a fight but she will eventually drift off. I don't want to put her in the car all the time to get her to have a sleep though."

The result!

So did Ella's action-packed day make her sleep though?

James reveals: "To be fair, last night was better than it has been because she got through to 4am, when normally it's either 12am or 2am. She went from 8.30pm till 4am which is still seven hours."

Ola says: "Yeah, but the problem with 4am is that she's not tired anymore. When she wakes up at 12am or 2am she still goes back to sleep. But at 4am she was wide awake. She was not interested in sleeping at all! She was up from 4 O'Clock."

"Jumping on our heads!" adds James. "We were like, 'Well that's it, we're getting up then.' Honestly, she's like a Duracell battery; she never runs out of energy."

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Ola and James' daughter has so much energy

Struggling the next day

So after a 4am start, how are Ola and James bearing up?

"Today, there's no question… as soon as Ella goes to be, I'm going to bed," Ola tells us. "I'm not watching any movies or anything."

James says: "We're exhausted. I feel like I need an afternoon nap. I'm playing 100 holes of golf tomorrow for charity and I'm teeing off at quarter to five in the morning, so I definitely need an early night."

And as we speak to Ola, a now-tired Ella has fallen asleep on her lap at 4pm.

Ola says: "I was struggling in the day today. I'm so jealous of her sleeping on me right now. She's literally snoring! By 6 or 7pm she'll be jumping up and down with a lot of energy. That thought exhausts me already and I have to do dinner…"

Ola has a plan of her own though. She tells James: "Do you know what happens on Friday? I'm out on Friday all day long. I'm booking myself in a hotel and I'm sleeping all day long while you babysit! [laughs]

"Yeah that's fine, I don't mind," he tells her.

Time to call a baby sleep trainer?

"I think I might have to. I did mention that to James," says Ola.

James replies: "Most of them have no children though. I don't know…"

"Yeah, but they must know what they're doing James," Ola tells him, and he says, "What works for one doesn't work for all though."

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The adorable Ella Jordan

It's clearly up for debate in the Jordan household. However, James says that despite the wakings and getting up to give Ella milk and cuddles in the night, he doesn't want to leave her to cry.

"People say you're making it more difficult for yourself, but I don't really want my baby crying that much. It makes me sad. Ok, I'm not sleeping as much as perhaps I should, but oh well."

There is one saving grace though – as yet, Ella hasn't worked out how to climb out of her cot.

James reveals: "She hasn't attempted to climb out of the cot yet which I'm surprised at because she's quite a little climber."

"But she sleeps in a baby sleeping bag, so it's quite hard," adds Ola.

Thank goodness for that! We're crossing our fingers for you both that Ella starts sleeping through soon.

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