You are excited as a new parent, always imagining how fun it will be to have a baby at home. Your joy starts to wean off as you realised that your sleep patterns and quality of sleep are now compromised because your child does not seem to sleep well.
Are you having trouble getting your child to sleep on time at night? Or having your child waking up in the middle of the night which prevents you from getting quality sleep?
Here are some tips that might help you with getting your kids to bed on time and sleeping through the night.
- Establish a consistent and relaxing bedtime routine that lasts between 20 and 30 minutes and ends in your child's bedroom. Avoid scary stories, screen time or sweet snacks before bedtime as these tend to over-stimulate the child’s brain and he will have difficulty unwinding. Create a sense of calmness by reading a favourite book every night or humming a favourite tune. These will help your child to relax, making it easier for him to go to bed.
- Set a time limit. Stay for perhaps five minutes or so, then kiss your child and reassure them you will be right back to check on her. Young children may have difficulty understanding the concept of time. We can set the time limit by using concrete items e.g. after 2 stories and 2 songs or use a timer,
- Discuss the sleeping plan well ahead of time. Each night, remind your child that soon mommy won’t be lying down with her at night, but mommy will check on her as she falls asleep. This way she can be prepared for the change.
- Set small milestones. It will be unrealistic to expect a child who wakes up frequently to transit immediately to not waking up in the night at all. Prepare yourself by focusing on reducing the frequency of waking up. At every stage, it is good to affirm your child. Eventually, this will work towards a longer stretch of sleep without disturbance.
- Set up a reward system. For every night your child goes to bed on time and sleeps through the night, or achieves a small milestone, she gets a sticker. Children do need positive affirmation and at times, a tangible affirmation may seem more visible.
- Set up a conducive environment. Some children are afraid of total darkness or cannot relate to the fact that the parents are still nearby but in a different bedroom. If your child is afraid of the dark, install a nice night lamp to assure him. Using a baby monitor, and demonstrating to the child that you are just a call away.
Remember, there is no one age that this will be right for every child. Some may be ready at age 2, some at age 8.