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Sleep like a baby!

2020-10-21 00:00:00

Written by Amber Simons

A baby’s life revolves largely around their primary needs; eating, drinking, pooping, peeing, and sleeping. When these go smoothly, a child will automatically feel well. After all, it is easier to play when you have a filled tummy, a clean diaper, and are well rested. Only then will a child also develop further.
However, getting a good night’s sleep can be easier said than done. And it makes it even more difficult if your child cannot speak yet, and thus cannot clarify what might be wrong. So we have listed some tips to help your child find their natural sleeping rhythm!

  • Sleep signals
    Learning to recognise your child’s sleeping signals will allow you to respond to them better. Yawning is perhaps the most well-known sleep signal. Crying or whining is often also a clear sign. Rubbing their eyes, or having no colour in their face are easy to spot as well. But have you ever noticed red cheeks and/or ears? Or the over alertness of your child? Other children might fiddle with their ears, or turn and look away.

  • Sleep hygiene
    All the little rules of behaviour that we can apply to sleep better, are called sleep hygiene. For example, make sure it is dark in the evening. This can be done, for instance, by turning down the lights, turning off the TV, or closing the curtains. During the day however, it is better not to make your child’s bedroom too dark, which is better for the habituation of the natural rhythm of day and night. It is also important that your child’s bedroom is well ventilated and has the right temperature, that is
    16-18° Celsius.

  • Sleep cycle
    Young children have a 50 to 60 minute long sleep cycle, whereas adults have a 90 to 100 minute sleep cycle. As such, it is completely normal for children to wake up more often.
    Let your child get used to sleeping with sounds around them. This way your child will be less likely to wake up from every sound. If they do wake up, don’t get your child out of bed right away. It may be that your child has just completed a sleep cycle and therefore sleeps a little lighter or wakes up in between. Your child might continue to sleep, because they did not get enough sleep yet.

  • Putting your child to bed
    By putting your child to his or her own bed in a quiet room, even if they are still awake, they will become used to the regularity and the room, and they will fall asleep more easily. Your child will feel secure by getting used to the room and the rhythm. If your child is able to fall asleep on their own, instead of having to be rocked to sleep, they are not dependent on an adult. This ultimately contributes to your child’s independence, autonomy, and self-confidence as well. It is therefore preferable not to let your child to sleep on your lap, in their playpen, or in a bouncing seat.

  • Routine
    It is also important to have set bedtimes, so that your child knows when it is time to go to sleep. A fixed rhythm also ensures that the body automatically produces the sleep hormone melatonin at the right times. Make sure that your child can recognize the rhythm by following a recognizable routine. This can be done, for example, by always reading a book first, preferably the same book every time. Or always listen to some quiet music. Be sure to keep a fixed order in your routine.

  • Play outside
    Let your child play outside every day! This way they will get enough daylight. The vitamins in it we need to properly grow up. This also makes your child move more, which is important for their health of course, but it also ensures that they fall asleep faster and sleep deeper.

  • Sleeping during daytime
    It is often thought that keeping a child awake throughout the day will ensure that they sleep better at night. However, studies have shown the opposite to be true. It is more difficult for an overly tired child to indulge in sleep. And once your child has fallen asleep, they will typically wake up more often because they have to process more impressions of the day. Therefore, try to adapt and stick to your child’s natural sleep rhythm during the day and let them wake up by themselves.

  • Do not carry your child again
    If a tired child is picked up, comforted, and carried, they will often become alert again. They will make eye contact, or smile. This may make it seem as though they are not yet tired, but your baby is really just responding to the stimuli around them. If a child is not put to bed at that time, they will become accustomed to overactive behaviour. This will make it even harder for them to fall asleep and it will decrease the length of their naps. So put your child to bed when you notice the first sleeping signals, even if they seem less tired shortly after.

  • Sleeping in
    It might be tempting to forget about bedtimes or to let your child sleep in on weekends and during holidays. You are, after all, not committed to anything, you have fun things to do and it is just great to be together! To ensure that your child’s sleep rhythm is not completely disrupted by this, try to maintain a maximum difference of 1.5 hours with the times your child normally goes to sleep or wakes up.

Got curious about how we at CompaNanny work with regard to sleeping? Request a tour at one of our locations!


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