If you have a little one yourself, you of all people will know that sometimes getting them off to sleep can be an exhausting ordeal. That’s why we have put together this list of tips, that have been tried and tested. We hope this will allow you and your child to get the best night’s sleep possible.
Sleep is important for everyone! It is key for the brain to stay healthy, especially during early development.
The sleep-wake cycle is regulated by light and dark and these rhythms take time to develop, resulting in the irregular sleep schedules of newborns. These begin to develop at about six weeks, and by three to six months most infants have a regular sleep-wake cycle. Did you know that, on average, a child will spend 40 percent of his or her childhood asleep?! Click here to learn more about the different stages of sleep.
A healthy sleeping routine can have a wide range of positive effects on the body. Sleep is especially important for children as it directly impacts mental and physical development.
If your little one seems to be significantly hyperactive towards bedtime, consider looking at their diet to see if they are consuming too many sugary sweets. Although not considered a stimulant, eating a diet high in sugar and refined carbohydrate can have an effect on their sleeping patterns.
We all love naps, but if your child is having trouble getting to sleep at night, cutting nap-time down during the day will help. Power naps for adults and babies are important, for those moments when you just cannot keep your eyes open. This does not mean stop-napping all day, we would recommend stop nap-time at 2:00pm. This will give them enough energy until their bedtime.
Keeping your toddler active throughout the day will promote better sleep in the evening. These do not have to be strenuous activities, even something like a walk round the park will do.
- Mini Golf
- Cycling round the park
- Being creative
Every person is different when it comes to places in the house where they fall asleep the best. You will have to adapt as your child grows older and his/her sleeping preferences change. You may find that they fall asleep faster when they are alone, with the television on low in the background/other room or simply using something such as a night-light.
The best advice here would be to try out a series of different locations and ask them. Kids love nothing more than sharing their thoughts with you!
Ensuring that your child is comfortable and supported whilst in bed is extremely important. This is essential to ensure that they are having a restful night’s sleep. Using a memory foam pillow suitable for your child’s age, is a great way to ensure that s/he is comfortable and properly supported. The memory foam conforms to the natural hollows in your child’s neck and back. Depending on the age of your child, being aware of flat head syndrome and understanding how to prevent this is important.
One thing to keep in mind, as memory foam is heat sensitive, without the right cover (for example a bamboo cover), you may find that your child is getting overheated which will result in a disrupted night’s sleep.
Find the best pillow for your child.
Children love routines and day-to-day activities such as playtime, bath-time and bedtime. This helps them to be more receptive to falliing and staying asleep.
Begin bedtime activities around the same time every night. Give nightly baths, read a story before bed, establish a calm and soothing routine. Eventually your child will adapt to the routine and start to get ready for bedtime.
If you notice that your toddler is not going to sleep at bedtime, consider taking about 20 minutes beforehand to simply unwind. This gives the child enough time to calm down. After some time, they will become accustomed to this routine and will understand that it is almost time to go to sleep.
Let him/her sit in your arms or baby swing them for 20 minutes to help comfort them.
Although it’s easier said than done, keeping the room in which your child sleeps clean is a great way to create a peaceful environment. During the day when your child is not in their bedroom, open the windows for at least 30-45 minutes. If it’s a cold day, make sure that the room is not too cold before bedtime.
When cleaning their beds and toys, using chemical-free cleaners is a great way to ensure that they will not be harmed in anyway (Always read the bottles before using any of these items).
You’ll notice a big change once your baby is ready to get on more solid foods. Just a little cereal in their milk can make them sleep better at night.
Some parents use cereal in evening feeds and notice that the kids sleep much better. Introducing something such as cereal in their milk in the evening, or some form of a snack an hour or two before bed (low in sugar) typically helps to get them off to sleep.
How your diet impacts your sleep.
Removing sound sources from inside and around the bedroom areas helps to ensure that your child will not be disturbed. This would include things such as turning the television down at night time while the baby is sleeping. If you live in a city and there are always loud noises outside, consider investing in a baby sound soother. These sounds will help promote sleep and aid in blocking out unwanted sounds.
*This information should not be taken as medical advice. If you believe that there is something wrong with your child’s sleeping routine, seek advice from your local GP.