As parents, we are always obsessing with how much (or how little) sleep our children are getting. Bedtime can sometimes be a battle, starting from very early on in the child’s life. There are a few things you can do right from birth to create the perfect sleep environment. As your child gets older, there are little things you can do to ensure their bedtime routine goes positively (most of the time). Over the past 19 months, we have worked really hard at creating a positive sleep time routine. Today we’re going to share some of those tips with you!
Start with Creating the Right Sleep Environment
Keep It Dark
Blackout curtains will be your best friend during nap time, and during the months where the sun is still out at bedtime. If you are going to invest in one good quality item for your infant or toddler’s nursery, let it be blackout curtains. As infants, your child is used to the dark comfort of the womb. As they grow into toddlers, the sun will be a signal to them that it is time to play! Being able to have the ability to block out the sun will help make sleep time less of a battle.
If your child wakes up at all throughout the night, I encourage you NOT to turn the lights on. Light signals to your child’s mind to wake up, and that is not what you want. If light is needed for a change or a feed, try using a nightlight to help control a minimal amount of light.
Keep It Comfortable
Experts say that it is best to keep the bedroom around 65 degrees. Warmer temperatures can contribute to restlessness and frequent nighttime wake-ups. A cooler temperature allows for a better quality sleep. Try leaving a window open, or placing a little fan in your child’s room.
Additionally, consider placing a humidifier in their room if your home doesn’t already have one. This will prevent the room from becoming too dry. It also helps keep skin moisturized and can help stuffy noses.
Keep Toys Out of the Bedroom
Keeping toys out of the bedroom allows your child to associate their room with sleeping rather than playing. I know that this is not feasible for all families. But I encourage you try to make it work where possible. We have a few quiet activities in our toddlers room, but a majority of his playing happens in our family room. We want him to think of his room a quiet, calm, and restful space. But if space is a challenge, you can always try keeping loud, noisy and over-stimulating toys out of reach during sleep times.
Use Sleep Aids
I know some people are against using sleep aids such as white noise or a special lovey or blanket. My personal opinion is that they do more good than harm. But when in doubt – talk to your doctor! White noise helps drown out any background noise coming from the house, which will be useful if you regularly stay up past 7pm. Using a lovey can help your child feel secure and provide comfort. I think that they are an amazing way for your child to learn to self-soothe. Just make sure that you have backups!
Avoid Using the Bedroom as Punishment
You want to avoid sending your child to their bedroom as a means of punishment. We want to help our children view their bedroom as a positive and comforting space. By telling your child to “go to their room” when they are in trouble, they will begin to associate their bedroom with the negative feelings that come with punishments. One alternative is to create a separate quiet space in your home for your little one in the event they need a break. Or reframing the term punishment as a need for a break or quiet space.
Choosing the Right Bed
Crib, bassinet, floor bed – it’s ultimately up to your family. Some work better than others, depending on the child and depending on the family. When your child is under a year, they should only be sleeping with a fitted sleep and a sleep sack. If one style bed is not working, consider changing it up.
Creating the Right Routine
Positive Sleep Routine
Children crave routine. It really helps them when they know what to expect next and can help reduce tantrums. Some things that help us:
- Have a bath! Due to Camdyn’s eczema we cannot bathe him daily, but on bath days we start bedtime routine 15 minutes than normal
- Quiet activities in our room & get the scurries out! Before bed we always do some quiet activities to help our little ones body prepare for bedtime – go for a walk, do some puzzles. Sometimes he needs to run laps in his bedroom to get the last little bit of energy out. If it’s one of the days we don’t do anything discourage it, but we also don’t engage in it.
- Pick our pj’s – this has been Camdyn’s job since he was about 7 months old and something he really loves doing.
- Read a book (or 3). If we are going to have some resistance at bedtime – it’s usually here. Camdyn really loves reading, and sometimes 3 books is not enough. I always warn Camdyn how many books we have left, and once we’ve finished the final one, I let him choose a few books to take to bed.
- Sing a song. We’ve been singing the same bedtime song to Camdyn since he was a few months old. A song is a great way to transition into bedtime.
- Let them know who to expect in the morning / when you will see them next. This helps build trust with your child, and can help alleviate separation anxiety.
I hope these tips help you create a positive sleep environment and routine for your child! Have any tips that you want to share? Let us know down below! Until next time – XX
Positive Sleep. Positive Sleep