We’re very excited to welcome to our newest blog category, Little Ones. Sponsored by the team at Kids & Co, this monthly blog will focus on the early years – and helping us as parents get through things like potty training, bringing home a new baby, transitioning back to work and more.
With three young children of my own, a good night’s sleep seems like an elusive far off memory! One of the top questions we get from our parents is how can we get our young children to sleep well. With a good night’s sleep we all have better days; more energy and smiling faces. Here are 8 tips on how to get your children to sleep from our partners at Wholeplay!
1. Allow young children to self-soothe. Generally speaking, it is easier to do this when parents give children the opportunity to self-soothe as early as possible. That means beginning when children are infants!
2. Put young children to sleep sleepy, but awake. Again this has to do with teaching them how to self-soothe as soon as they appear ready. Although young children may desperately want their parents present while they fall asleep, it actually leads to more disrupted sleep in the long run.
3. Set up a consistent bedtime routine involving relaxing, low stimulation activities. This may include a small snack, bath time, brushing teeth, story time and bed. This process will begin to relax your child and allow them to wind down from the days activities, preparing their body for rest.
4. During bedtime, avoid having toys or electronics accessible to your child. This includes having the television on. Watching television close to bedtime is associated with bedtime resistance, difficulty falling asleep, and anxiety around sleep, and poor-inadequate sleep, which leads to mood swings, behaviour problems and an inability to concentrate in school.
5. When using any formal sleep training method, be consistent in carrying it out. Sleep problems can be made worse if the sleep training method being used is not used consistently. For this reason, it is important to select a sleep training method that parents feel comfortable with before implementing it.
6. Do not allow young children to nap “on the go” on a regular basis. Make sure naps occur at consistent times throughout the day and occur in a quiet, sleep-inducing environment. Create a stress-free sleep environment for your young child. When parents become stressed out about their young children’s sleep, young children pick up on it, which in turn, interferes with their ability to sleep.
7. Don’t change your child’s sleep routine unless/until it stops working. When/if it stops working is may be a sign that your child has outgrown the particular sleep approach that you’re using and is ready for an approach that is less intrusive. Again, the older a child is, the less intervention they need from their parents.
8. Know your child and follow her sleep cues. Every child is unique and therefore requires her own set of strategies for getting to sleep. For example, some kids require little to no stimulation while others need stimulation in order to feel sleepy. Some kids need a lot of proximity to their caregivers while others may be disrupted by proximity to their caregivers.
Written by Tasha Richard, Kids & Co Director of Marketing and Operations for Eastern Canada. Kids and Company provides a nurturing and educational early learning environment for children to play, discover and grow. Come check out one of our 5 locations in Halifax or visit us online at kidsandcompany.com