9 Tips to Maintain Your Child’s Sleep Routine
A consistent sleep routine is important for a healthy, well-rested child. You’ll want to set a routine as early as possible (when your child is old enough – not until they are at least four months old) and stick to it. Of course, kids are always looking for ways to stay up later and life always throws a curveball at our plans. Here are some tips that might help you stick to your routine.
1. Maintain that bedtime
Don’t deviate from the set bedtime, even on the weekends or holidays. Your kids might ask to stay up later if nothing important is happening the next day, but that’s a recipe for disaster. One late night and late morning could take a whole week to get back on track. This goes for summer vacation too! It’s OK to lull baby to sleep after four months, but try to put him down to sleep while he’s still awake so he gets used to falling asleep alone.
2. Turn off all the electronics
If bedtime is 8 PM, ideally kids should be lying in bed with their eyes closed at that time. Electronics running in the room will just distract them from falling asleep. If they’re allowed to fall asleep to the TV, it could be hours after their bedtime that they finally do.
3. The bed is for sleeping
People tend to make unconscious associations with the things and places in their life. We create patterns in our brain that relate to the things we do in a particular area. For example, your kids will have a harder time falling asleep in bed if they often use that space for other non-sleeping activities, like playing and reading. Try to limit the bed to sleeping only.
4. Create a soothing routine
A consistent routine is the best way to put your baby in the mood to fall asleep. Have one hour of quiet time before bed to calm things down. Keep the lights dim, offer a warm bath, and read a few books before bed. By sticking with the pattern, your child will recognize that sleep is coming.
5. Watch for sleep cues
The goal is to put baby down to sleep before they become overtired. An overtired baby has a harder time falling asleep. There is a misconception that keeping a baby awake will make them sleep longer at night. This isn’t true. A well-rested baby sleeper easier.
6. Create an ideal sleep environment
You’ll want to make your child’s room conducive to sleep. Keep the room between 65 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure the room is dark, even if you have to use black out curtains. A white noise machine would also help (or a simple fan running). Never keep anything in the crib – no bumpers, blankets, stuffed animals, bedding or pillows; just a dressed or swaddled baby and tight-fitting sheet.
Use a swaddle to recreate the womb’s environment and make baby feel secure and calm. The swaddle also helps baby with a startle reflex. However, once baby begins to roll over, swaddling is no longer safe. Use a transition swaddle like the Zipadee-Zip to make baby feel enclosed and secure, but giving them the freedom to move around.
8. Keep good sleep habits yourself
The best way to teach your kids anything is to set an example. If you value good sleep habits for your kids, show them you’re serious by following the rules yourself. The details might change (like the time you go to bed), but stick to the policies.
9. Reward good behavior
The best way to encourage any behavior is to reward it. When your child stays in bed and goes to sleep like you expect, be sure to praise him or her the next morning. You could even go so far as to create a sleep chart that tracks their progress so they have something to visualize and work toward.
Guest Blog by Stephanie Parker from Sleepingbaby.com, inventor of the Zipadee-Zip
The motto for Sleeping Baby, makers of the Zipadee-Zip, is: “Inspiring Dreams One Night at A time,” and that, in a nutshell, is how it all started…with one little dream that has since become the Parker family’s reality. When Brett and Stephanie Parker’s daughter, Charlotte, was born, the feeling that welled up inside of them was indescribable; they never realized until first looking into those baby blues of hers that they were even capable of that kind of love.
When it was time to transition baby from swaddling, the Parkers tried every sleep sack on the market and every swaddle weaning trick they could find for nearly two weeks and nothing worked to get baby Charlotte to fall and stay asleep.
Stephanie became determined to restore sleep and sanity to their household and set out to find a solution that would soothe Charlotte’s startle reflex and provide her the cozy womb-like environment she loved so much but still give her the freedom to roll over and wiggle around in her crib safely. Out of sheer desperation and exhaustion, the Zipadee-Zip was born. The first Zipadee-Zip(R) Stephanie put together on her little sewing machine worked like magic!
To date tens of thousands of Zipadee-Zips have been sold and all from word-of-mouth marketing. It is so rewarding for the Parkers to see other parents and babies getting the sleep they both need and deserve!
For more information, visit sleepingbaby.com.
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