Essential Sleeping Tips For Infants and Children
Sometimes just a few small changes can make a world of difference when it comes to your baby's sleep. Yes, every child is different, but that doesn't mean that every child can't get a good night's sleep. Many families that I talk to struggle with the same main issues which are as follows:
1. Multiple night waking's past 6 months old.
2. Too short or too few naps.
3. Waking too early for the day.
4. Needing a sleep association to fall asleep.
Why Should My Child Have a Consistent Bed Time Routine?
Sleep Begets Sleep
As strange as it seems, the more sleep babies get, the better they tend to sleep. Babies and children up to four years old need A LOT of sleep. The better rested a child is during the day, the better he generally will sleep at night. If there are no limits and routines set during the day, it is very difficult to have them at night. Creating a consistent and reliable schedule for your child is very important.
What Time Should I Put My Child to Sleep?
Children and babies need an early bedtime. For some children, this piece is the key to suddenly getting them to sleep through the night. This also tends to help with bedtime battles and early rising. It's a win win because your baby will be asleep before he is overtired and you will get some time with your spouse. When baby's are put down too late and when they are overtired, they tend to night wake more and not sleep as soundly and can wake up very early for the day.
Why Are Bedtime Routines are Important?
Yes! Bedtime routines are essential. Children thrive on consistency and routine. Your routine should be basically the same every night, no more than 20 minutes and can include stories, songs, snuggling etc. Following a similar pattern every night will help prepare your baby for sleep. Turn your white noise on 30 minutes before you start your routine. This tells your child's body sleep time is coming.
What Are Sleep Associations/Crutches?
Sleep crutches are what a baby/child relies on in order to fall asleep. Examples would be nursing to sleep, bottle feeding to sleep, being rocked to sleep, held to sleep, patted to sleep, sleeping in the swing or stroller etc. For toddlers some sleep crutches can be when a parent lays with the child, holds the child's hand, let's the child twirl mom's hair etc. Sleep crutches become a problem because your child needs YOU in order to fall back to sleep in the middle of the night. Babies need lots of love and snuggles and this is SO important. It can become a problem when you are rocking or nursing your child all night long and you have decided that it's not working for either of you any more. The key is to have your baby or child fall asleep the same way that they will need to soothe themselves in the middle of the night. Putting your baby to bed drowsy but awake is a great start.
Why Is Sleep Training Consistency So Important?
No matter what method you use or how you decide to go about it, consistency is always key! Your baby needs to know what to expect from you and how you are going to respond to her. Sticking with your plan is the key to your success. You also have a much better chance of being successful if you are using a method that you are comfortable with and is in line with your parenting style. This makes it less likely that you will find yourself wanting to quit. Be patient. With time and consistency, results should come!
It's the most wonderful time of the year. The holidays are a time we treasure with our families. Many good memories are made and great times spent with our loved ones. Of course our little ones are in on the excitement as well. Holidays can make for many overtired babies and children. All of those missed naps, short naps and late bedtimes really take a toll on our littlest family members. There are some things that you can do to ensure that the little people in your life get in on the holiday action, but stay well rested at the same time. Here are my suggestions.
1. Make sure your children are well rested prior to the big events. Make sure they are starting the holidays with a full sleep tank. Plan to be home as much as possible and keep them on routine in the days prior.
2. Try not to overbook your family. Young children have limits. Chances are if you are tired from all of the activity, your baby is exhausted! Every year I say, "What was I thinking?" You don't have to say "yes" to every invite.
3. Go to events around your baby's schedule, as much as possible. For example, if it is an 3:00 event and you know you will be out past baby's bedtime, let your baby get a good afternoon nap in and go to the event a little late. We are always a bit late every year on Christmas Eve because I make sure my children get that afternoon nap in prior, anticipating a later than normal bedtime.
4. After the holidays plan to be home for a few days to get your baby caught up on rest and back on track. Babies and children need some downtime to rest after the festivities.
5. Enjoy yourself! If your baby misses a sleep period, it's okay. Babies who are on good routines will bounce back relatively quickly as long as you give your baby ample time to do so after the events are over. Some babies do better with this than others, depending on their temperament and how solid their normal routine is.
6. If you have to choose between a missed morning nap and a missed afternoon nap, opt for the missed afternoon nap, but be sure that your baby gets to bed at an early time. The morning nap usually sets the tone for the rest of the day.
Please enjoy the holidays as much as possible. Baby's sleep can be worked on once you return home and the holiday events are over! Happy Holidays to you and yours! May your wishes of a good night's sleep come true!