Sleep problems in babies and little children often cause the parents to suffer from sleep deprivation. We have listed below some of the most effective tips to help your baby or toddler, and ultimately yourselves sleep better.
- Let them learn to sleep alone
By the time your baby is 3 months old, you should leave them in the crib alone. Let them be drowsy, but still awake, and then leave the room so they could learn to fall asleep their own. That way, if the baby wakes up in the middle of the night, they will be able to return to sleep without your help.
- Associate the bed with sleep
Even though babies often fall asleep in their stroller, the car seat, or anywhere else, the most of their sleep time should be spent in their crib so that they could make an association with the bed and sleep. Also, it would be best if the baby went to sleep around the same time every day. If these tips are followed, the baby can associate both the time and place with their pleasant dreaming.
- No feeding before bedtime
Along the lines of the advice mentioned above, associating events and places that occur around bedtime can help the baby fall asleep more easily when they’re present. That means that you don’t want your baby to associate something that will not usually be present in the middle of the night (in case they wake up) because the lack of the associated object will make it harder to fall asleep again. Therefore, you shouldn’t feed the baby before bedtime, since it will be harder for them to fall back asleep during the night when they’re not supposed to be fed.
- Tolerate noise
There is no need to check your baby after every sound they make during the night. Even if they start crying, you should give them a chance to work it out and calm down on their own. Of course, this does not apply to newborns, but around the time of 4 months, your baby should be ready to start learning some autonomy this way.
- Limit daytime naps
As your kids begin to mature, they have more energy and need less time to rest. Between the 15th and 18th month, most kids transition from two to one daily nap. This helps them fall asleep at night, since they are not still well-rested from their earlier nap. Otherwise, they would have trouble sleeping due to being fully energised and not feeling tired.
- No late napping
If your toddler naps in the evening, they will not feel as tired at night which could cause problems falling asleep. Some experts suggest that a nap should not start after 2pm, unless, of course, in situations when it’s unavoidable.
- Don’t rush moving them from the crib to the bed
Although many parents may feel the need to exchange their child’s crib for a big kid-bed as soon as they turn 2, it is probably the best to wait about a year more, unless the child is climbing out of their crib regularly. When you take away the crib, you are most likely taking them away from what they have finally adjusted to. Even more so, the crib has its boundaries set so that the baby won’t fall out.
- Gradually lower the excitement
A few hours before bedtime should be a calm and relaxing time for the child with not much activity and excitement. If the kid is highly active before bedtime, they will have a harder time calming down to fall asleep. Try spending evenings doing something relaxing with your child, such as playing quiet games, reading, singing songs or talking about their day.