How to teach healthy sleep habits…03/03/2012 at 1:49 pm | Posted in Night Nanny, Sleep, Supernanny, Top Tips | 3 Comments
If you would like your little-one to sleep well during naps AND through the night, you can help them to achieve this – sooner rather than later – by teaching healthy sleep habits!
Sleep is so very important for growth and rejuvenation, as well as the physical and mental development which occurs in early childhood. It really is never too late to introduce healthy sleep habits – the key, is consistency!
1) Teach the difference between night and day.
This applies mostly to newborns, but The Nanny Tree Supernanny also helps many families whose youngster is up and raring to go before sunrise! With a newborn you can begin to introduce the differences between night and day by keeping night-feeds dark and quiet, and daytimes bright and stimulating. With an older child, you can instil that night-time is for sleeping by putting them back to bed each time they get up, until morning. You will no doubt face resistance at first, but eventually their internal body clock will fall back into a healthy rhythm… if you are consistent!
2) Become an expert at spotting your little-ones tired signs.
If your child becomes over tired they will struggle to fall and stay asleep. If you become an expert at spotting their tired signs, you can put them down for a nap before they become overtired. You will no doubt find that their ‘tired signs’ come in a regular pattern – say, every 2hrs for a 5 month old. Tired signs to look out for include rubbing their ears or eyes, being irritable or overexcited, etc. See our article on How Much Sleep does my child need?
3)Teach them how to fall asleep on their own
If you would like your little-one to be able to enjoy a full night of sleep without calling out for you every time they rouse, you will need to help them learn how to fall asleep on their own. If they need a prop to fall asleep – such as a dummy, milk, rocking, etc – they’ll have trouble getting back to sleep when they rouse during the night or a nap. We recommend the ‘pick up, put down’ method, controlled crying or a mixture of the two – depending on your parenting style. Read our article on Dealing with sleep problems.
4)Routine, routine, routine – set their internal clock:
Children thrive on familiarity. Regardless of your child’s age, keeping a regular sleep schedule will set and maintain their body’s internal clock, which will help them fall and stay asleep more easily. Stick to the same bedtime and wake-up time every day. When bedtime comes, follow the same routine so that it becomes a familiar time for your little one to wind down. A good routine might be – bath, cuddles/story, bed. Also, be consistent with nap times – you could stick to set nap times or you could be intuitive to your babies tired signs and put them down for a nap when they show signs of tiredness (for example, roughly every two hours for a 5mth old).