7 Ways to Establish Child Sleep Habits
Sleep is crucial for people of all ages, but especially children. Establishing healthy sleep habits early on in childhood helps ensure your children feel refreshed the next day and have the energy to grow. However, getting your child to sleep can sometimes be challenging. Fortunately, there are many tips for developing sleep habits for babies and toddlers.
Tips for Healthy Pediatric Sleep Habits
The amount of sleep your children receive is vital to their well-being. To ensure they get enough sleep at night, we’ve created a list of tips you can use to help encourage your child to sleep better.
1. Implement a Routine
When a child goes to bed early one night but stays up late the next, their body and mind can get confused, making it difficult to understand when it’s time to sleep. When that cycle continues, getting your child to sleep at a reasonable time is harder. Implementing a nighttime routine can add structure to your child’s life and encourage regular sleep patterns.
Establish a nightly routine for you and your child to help them prepare for bed. Steps you could include as part of your child’s bedtime routine include:
- Bath time: While giving your kids nightly baths keeps them clean, baths can also help calm and make them sleepy.
- Alone time: Have your child lie down 10-20 minutes before sleeping so they get sleepy without distractions. Letting your children be alone while preparing to sleep encourages them to sleep without needing your presence.
2. Make Sure Your Child Is Comfortable
While you should be in control when setting the routine, ensuring your children have everything they need to stay comfortable and sleep better is essential. If they misplaced their favorite stuffed animal, it’s okay to spend time looking for it so they can cuddle securely. You can also provide a cup of water if they get thirsty. Your children’s comfort levels will help them relax while encouraging them to sleep.
After you help your children get comfortable, remind them that it’s bedtime so they can try to fall asleep. Setting and maintaining boundaries to follow the bedtime schedule is crucial to helping your children know when they need to sleep.
3. Relax Before Bedtime
Another way to encourage your child to sleep is by having quiet time and relaxing before bed. Children can unwind in different ways, including:
- Reading a book
- Listening to soft and calming music
- Practicing breathing exercises
You can do these activities with your child as another way to bond or if your child is too young to do them independently.
4. Let Your Child Sleep in Their Own Bed
Sometimes, your child might want to sleep with you in your bed. While it might be cute, repeatedly letting your children sleep with you in your bed can become a hard habit to break. Make sure your children sleep in their beds when it’s bedtime. They should get used to being in their beds and falling asleep by themselves to develop healthy sleeping patterns.
5. Wait for Your Child to Call to You
It’s normal for children to wake up in the middle of the night and go right back to sleep. Sometimes, your child might call for you but don’t really need you for anything. If your child calls for you, wait a minute or two before going to their room. Going immediately after they call could give them a sense of control. When you wait, you can see if they genuinely need anything or if they end up falling asleep again.
If your child continues to call for you, it’s perfectly fine to address their need. Stay for a little bit, then remind them to go back to sleep and leave when the time is right.
6. Keep Regular Bed and Wake-Up Times
Another part of maintaining a routine is keeping a regular sleep schedule. You can encourage healthy sleeping habits by implementing bed and wake-up times. Set your child’s bedtime to maximize the amount of sleep they can get each night. Keep the bed and wake-up times within 1-2 hours of each other every day to establish a pattern in your child’s natural clock.
7. Check for Noise and Light Distractions in Your Child’s Room
To improve your child’s sleep, ensure their room is free from too much noise or light at night. Light and noise can make it harder for children to sleep because they can become distracted and slowly become energized, delaying sleepiness.
Learn More With TLC Pediatric Therapy
Now that you know various tips for building children’s sleep habits, you can start implementing new bedtime strategies. When your child receives the proper amount of sleep they need each night, they’ll be happier and healthier.
If you have any questions about your child’s sleeping patterns or want more advice for establishing a routine, contact TLC Pediatric Therapy. We are a part of Kids SPOT’s family of companies dedicated to helping children from birth to 21 years old meet their fullest potential.