Do you have a child who has trouble sleeping? It’s one of those nightmares that haunt exhausted parents. It can be frustrating to deal with a child who just won’t sleep, day in and day out. But there are things you can do to help your child fall asleep.
Before you think of helping your child, you may need to figure out why they have sleeping issues. General strategies may not work if there is something particular troubling your baby. For instance, do they have a food allergy that makes it harder to sleep? Keeping track of what they eat to identify patterns can help you more than rocking them for an hour every night.
Babies need different amounts of sleep depending on their age. A three-year-old doesn’t need as much sleep as a six-month-old. So an afternoon nap that helps your two-year-old get enough sleep can leave your older child awake after bedtime! If there aren’t any specific issues, good sleeping habits can help your family get enough rest.
Set a Consistent Routine
Bedtime routines don’t have to be complicated. All you have to do is the same activities at roughly the same time each night. A typical routine might be to take a shower, get into pyjamas, brush teeth and read a bedtime story. Every family’s routine will be different but it’s important to have one. Babies and children fall asleep faster if you do it at the same time every day.
Pro tip: routines can help adults sleep better as well!
Boredom Versus Play Time
Very young babies can’t really tell the difference between night and day. So if they wake up in the middle of the night and you play with them, they won’t know it’s time to go back to sleep. Try not to stimulate their minds when they wake up. Feed them if they’re hungry but don’t do anything interesting. Don’t play games or talk to them. In short, make it as boring as possible so they go back to sleep.
Research has shown that using screens before bedtime can affect sleep. This is even more true for children and babies. Make sure to keep phones and any other screens out of the bedroom. Try to turn off the screens about an hour or so before bedtime. The blue light from electronic screens will prevent the body from feeling sleepy.
Even watching a video can stimulate your child’s mind into staying active and alert. That’s exactly the opposite of what we want. Reading a book, listening to music or simply snuggling together before bed will help children go to sleep.
Create a Calm and Safe Environment
Children – especially small kids – can wake up at the slightest noise. Then they find it difficult to get back to sleep. A fan running in the background can help stop random noises from waking them up. The environment in their bedroom should help them to fall asleep. That can include everything from a favorite stuffed toy to soft and comfortable sheets.
If your child has a particular fear, address their concern instead of dismissing it. Almost all kids worry about monsters sometimes. Pretend to search under the bed and in their closet or use some ‘monster spray’ to keep them away. A soft nightlight can help kids who are afraid of the dark.
Maintain the Room Temperature
Have you ever tried to sleep in a warm room? Our body temperature drops during the night which helps us to sleep. It’s kind of hard to do that if the room temperature is too high. Children respond to changes in temperature as well. The room should be cool but not cold. Keep the window open for five minutes and close it later. A blanket covering their feet can also lower body temperature, helping them to sleep.
In spite of everything you do, your child may still have difficulties getting to sleep or staying asleep. Sometimes, children naturally growth of this phase. But if issues persist, it’s best to contact your pediatrician to identify and diagnose any sleep disorders.