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Top tips for better sleep for your child

Top tips for better sleep for your child

 

Scientists agree that good sleep is important for healthy growth, so follow our all-day guide to better sleep.

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Daytime ‘do’s

  • Get physical: Your child may sleep better if she’s exercised her mind and body so make time for daily activity and stimulation, such as ‘tummy time’.
  • Know your nap times: Try to set regular times for daytime naps and bear these in mind when you’re planning your day together.
  • Keep it calm: Where your child sleeps should be a dedicated relaxation zone with a quiet atmosphere and low-level lighting. Banish distracting TVs, laptops, and tablets.
  • Hang in there: As your child grows older, try to keep her awake a little bit longer. Instead of a nap just an hour before bedtime, give her a bath and massage, or read her a story.
     

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Better bedtimes

  •  Time it right: Start to put your child to sleep at the same time every night. Experts have found that putting your little one to bed at the same time every evening can increase her chances of getting enough sleep.
  • Offer milk: As she gets a little older and is able to sleep five to six hours at night, you may stop giving her milk just before bedtime. This may help her to sleep for the next several hours. Extra-absorbent diapers can also be a useful way to maximize sleep. 
  • Set a routine: Follow your own pre-sleep pattern with tips from our Bedtime Routine Checklist.
  • Separate sleep: Your child needs to learn to sleep alone, so put her to bed in her own bed rather than letting her share with you.
  • Share a room: Room-sharing makes feeding more effective as there is minimum delay when your child wants to feed. Being close to your child also helps with reducing stress because you are probably getting more sleep, more connected to your little one, and that can help make you feel closer.
  • Settle into sleep: Put your little one down when she is sleepy but still awake. Once she knows the routine, she will start to fall asleep on her own. Let her learn how to settle herself once she is in her crib.
  • Clean bed: For safe sleeping, only your child belongs. Do not give your child a pillow, blankets, quilt, sheepskin, stuffed toys, or anything that can cause her to suffocate. Cover the mattress with a tight-fitting sheet.
  • Keep her comfortable: Check your little one sleeping area isn’t too hot or too cold. In general, your child should be dressed in one more layer of clothing than you’re wearing.
     

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Get it right at night

  • Take your time: Give your child a chance to resettle or ‘self soothe’ before you rush in and you’ll help reduce the number of times she wakes up in the future. That’s good news for both of you!
  • Put the hugs on hold: If you’re checking on your infant, don’t automatically pick her up. Instead, rub her gently or sing a lullaby. Reassure her that you are there for her without rewarding every cry with a cuddle.
  • Think before you feed: You might assume that your little one is hungry every time she wakes up at night, but she when is able to go five to six hours between feeds, she could just be looking for comfort. Feeding your little one every time she wakes will actually make her nights less settled.
  • Stick with her own bed: If you do need to feed or change your child at night, don’t be tempted to bring her into bed with you afterwards. Always put her back in her own bed so she gets used to falling back asleep on her own.
     

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Sources
https://healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/sleep/Pages/Back-to-Sleep-Tummy-toPlay.aspx (Accessed December 29 2016)
https://healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/sleep/Pages/Preventing-SIDS.aspx (Accessed December 29 2016)
https://healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/sleep/Pages/A-Parents-Guide-to-SafeSleep.aspx (Accessed December 29 2016)

Last revised: December 2016
 

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