Establishing a consistent sleep routine isn’t always easy, especially if your child has a hard time establishing healthy sleep routines on their own. It isn’t an uncommon problem–many parents struggle to know how to help their children sleep well. This can be incredibly frustrating for both parents and their little ones.
Helping your child establish a healthy sleep routine will give them better naptimes and bedtimes; below are some of our favorite tips for how to do this!
How To Help Your Child Establish Healthy Sleep Routines
Come Up With Your Own Sleepy-Time Wind-Down Routine
One reason your child may be having a hard time falling asleep is that they don’t have any transition time between their active daytime routine into their sleepy times. Having some kind of wind-down time is a great way to transition into naptime or bedtime.
Your wind-down routine should include some calm one-on-one activities. These could be reading some books, coloring quietly, or depending on the time of day it could include cleaning up toys from the day, brushing their teeth, or having a quick bedtime snack.
When you start having a consistent sleepy-time routine, your child will start to switch their mindset when it comes to going down for a nap or bed. The winding-down time will help their bodies and minds prep for lying down and falling asleep.
Turn On Some Lullabies or a Sound Machine
Babies and toddlers respond really well to soothing sounds. In fact, it can be easier to help an infant sleep when there is some other noise in the room because they lived in a very noisy environment in the womb for 9 months, and a lack of noise could actually be unsettling and not peaceful for a tiny baby.
Having some quiet music or soothing white noise gives kids something to focus on when they are laying in bed, and it will help soothe their quieted minds so they can fall asleep more easily.
Dim the Lights or Use a Nightlight
Make sure the room your child is sleeping in doesn’t have bright light shining in fom a window or lamp. A small nightlight might be helpful for calming toddlers afraid of the dark, but too much light will keep them awake and not allow their brain’s circadian rhythms to work properly, throwing them further off from developing healthy sleep routines.
Offer Some Soothing Reassurances As They Fall Asleep
Sometimes babies and toddlers feel nervous at the prospect of being alone after falling asleep, so a little soothing reassurance as they fall asleep can go a long way.
This could be gently rubbing or patting their back or stroking their nose with your finger can make a child feel safe and relaxed because they know you are right there with them as they fall asleep. According to Infant Massage USA, a gentle massage at bedtime or naptime can increase a child’s melatonin levels and improve their sleep cycle, while also growing the bond between the child and their parent or caregiver.
Once the child is big enough and it isn’t a safety hazard, a special blanket or stuffed animal can also go a long way in making them feel comfortable enough to doze off for a good sleep.
These are some of the most helpful things that you can do when it comes to helping your child establish healthy sleep routines. What are some things you have done that work well for you?