Sleep is especially important for babies and toddlers, as it directly impacts mental and physical development. Though for many parents, ensuring their child gets enough sleep can be a difficult and daunting task.
About 60% of babies wake at least once during the night, and require an adult to settle them back to sleep. About 1 in 10 babies will also cry at least 3-4 times a night, resulting in a restless night for both parents and child.
Not to panic - these behaviours are completely normal! Thankfully, there are ways to ease your little ones into a sleep cycle in their early months and years. Read on for our best tips...
Set a routine
Much like adults, establishing a nightly routine can let your baby know that it’s time for bed. Activities like giving them a bath, changing their clothes, as well as reading a story can assist your baby in identifying trends and behaviours that occur before going to sleep.
If your baby is still restless despite having a regular routine, swaddling may be an effective, soothing technique. Remember, it’s important to put your baby to bed while awake and drowsy, rather than fully asleep.
Sleep close, but separate
As previously mentioned, babies can be naturally restless in their early months. To make this process easier for both parents and child, studies recommend that a baby and its parents should sleep in the same room for at least six months.
However, your baby should sleep in a separate cot or crib and not in the same bed as you. These measures not only help prevent separation anxiety, but also breed independence for your little ones.
Though we rely on screens and technology for many things in our daily lives, they can negatively impact your baby’s ability to adapt to their surroundings, and even their sleep pattern.
Exposing your baby to electronic devices too close to bedtime may disrupt their body clock and melatonin levels, resulting in a more frequently disrupted sleep than what is considered normal. As such, removing all screens from your bedroom is highly recommended.
As an alternative, the Sleep Health Foundation suggests that reading a book under low lamplight is a great alternative source of entertainment before bed, and won’t impact sleep patterns like electronic devices.
Keen to learn more sleep tips for kids? Read more here.
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