Having trouble getting your child to sleep at night? You’re not alone. We’ve gathered expert advice for getting your child into good sleep habits. Keep reading to learn more!
Create a Soothing Bedtime Ritual
A regular bedtime ritual will help your child prepare mentally and physically for sleep. Repeat the same things in the same order every night so your child knows what’s coming next. For example, quiet playtime, a bath, teeth brushing and pajamas, followed by reading in bed. Then it’s time for kisses and cuddles, saying goodnight and turning off the lights.
Always the Same Sleeping Hours
Be consistent with where and when your child goes to bed. Going to bed at the same place and time, even on weekends, can help your child feel safe and relaxed. If bedtime has been delayed, you can resume the bedtime ritual and start it gradually earlier.
Keep Your Baby’s Room Cool, Quiet and Dark
Try to keep the temperature between 16 and 20 degrees Celsius and make sure the room is well ventilated. Blackout curtains can be especially helpful in the summer. A dark room makes it easier for your child to fall asleep at night and you are more likely to get a good night’s sleep! Also read these recommendations if your child has special needs.
Say No to TVs, Computers and Smartphones
Turn off all screens at least an hour before bedtime. Light from TVs, computers and phones interferes with your body’s production of melatonin, a hormone that tells us when it’s time to sleep. An hour without screens before bedtime allows everyone to relax and prepare for sleep.
Stay Calm When Facing Nightmares
Nightmares and night terrors are more common during the preschool years. If your child wakes up from a nightmare, you can reassure them that it was just a dream and help them calm down and go back to sleep.
Give Your Child Something to Cuddle
A blanket or comforter can help your child feel safe and secure when they are alone in a dark room. Some children even like to sleep with a parent’s or relative’s shirt on because the smell reassures them.
Choose the Right Bed
It’s important that your child’s bones and muscles are properly supported as they grow. If your child has had a growth spurt, you may need to upgrade the bed and mattress. If you let your child help you choose a new bed, he or she may enjoy sleeping in it more!
Create a Comfortable Sleeping Space
Clean sheets, an airy comforter and comfortable pillows will make your bed a more comfortable place to sleep. But don’t let the kids jump into bed. It’s bad for the mattress and it’s a sign that beds are for playing, not sleeping…
Choose the Right Evening Meal
A small evening meal can keep your child up all night, but some treats can keep him climbing the walls long after the lights go out. Avoid sugary treats and caffeinated drinks, such as tea and cola, if you want to make bedtime easy. Yogurt, a banana smoothie, oatmeal or a glass of milk are good choices for a quiet evening.
Introduce Changes Gradually
It can take up to two weeks for a new behaviour to become a habit. If you are making changes, you need to be consistent, patient and take it slow. For example, if you want your child to go to bed earlier, the Sleep Council recommends moving bedtime forward by only 5 to 15 minutes per week.
Last but not least, remember that your child is an individual. What works for one child may not work for another. But by being calm, consistent and creating security, you will go far. How about you? Do you have any other tips for a child to sleep better? Leave them in the comments below.