Having a good sleep can be extremely beneficial to all of us, but if our child is not sleeping then nor are we. This can lead to everyone being tired and grumpy and is not nice. It is to be expected that babies will not sleep through the night but as they get older, some children struggle with this and it can put a strain on the whole family. It can sometimes feel like you have tried everything, but it is worth checking out the tips below to see whether there is anything that you can try that might help.
Have a Good Routine – We hear a lot about routine but it does make a difference. Getting up and going to bed at the same time every day, whether a weekday or weekend can really help us. It is also good to get some light in the morning, whether going out for a walk or just popping your head out of the window as it helps reset our circadian rhythms and get our body ready for the day and knowing when it is the right time to sleep.
No Electronics an Hour Before Bed – The blue light from electronics is thought to interfere with our natural sleep response and keep us awake or give us a lower quality sleep. This means that many recommend switching off electronics an hour before bed. This can be really hard but having a blue light filter can help although putting them down and reading a book instead could be even better.
Have a Bath Before Bed – Having a bath can help the body to relax and give you time away from those electronics. If it is part of a routine, it can also help your body know that it is time for sleeping.
Try Lavender – Lavender is thought to help with relaxation and sleep. Having some in the bath water could help and they are sprays you can use on a pillow too. There are mixed feelings as to whether this works but it could be worth a try if you have tried lots of other things that do not work.
Make Sure they are Tired – You will need to make sure that children are tired to help them sleep. Getting physical and mental exercise can make a big difference. However, if they get overtired it can then be hard for them to sleep as well, so you need to find a balance. This is not easy and you will have to experiment to see what works.
Restrict Afternoon Naps – Children will need naps at a young age but try to encourage them to be early in the day. Take children out in the car or their pushchair after lunch and they are likely to go to sleep and then they will not be napping so close to bedtime. If they show signs of napping later try to distract them by playing games with them so they do not nap.
Try Music or Meditation – It can sometimes help to soothe children to sleep by playing them meditation or music. It is worth trying a few different things to see what works. Do be careful though as if you use a mobile device to play them on, the child may pick it up and start playing on it. It could be better to use a CD player if you have one.
Make Sure they are Warm or Cool Enough – It is not always easy for children to know whether they are too hot or cold and if they are not a good temperature, it could make it hard for them to sleep. Make sure their bedroom is not too hot and that they have the right amount of covers on the bed. If they are not settling check their skin to see if they seem too hot or cold and adjust the covers. If it is very hot, it could be worth trying a fan in their room, although the noise may make it harder to sleep.
Make Sure they Feel Comforted – It is important that the children feel safe and comforted in bed. It can sometimes help if they have a favourite toy to cuddle. Some might prefer a pillow or something similar. Some will only feel comforted if a parent is in the room as they go off to sleep. This can be tricky as you do want them to eventually sleep without anyone in the room but if they go to sleep more easily this way it can help them to get much needed rest and could mean that you will be able to settle to bed more quickly yourself as well. You could even nap in their room – even pretending to be asleep might send them some sleepy vibes! A nightlight might also be a good option, whether in their room or in the hallway outside.