One of the most common problems for which parents seek professional help is their child having trouble falling asleep and getting enough sleep. Young children often wake up during the night or get up too early in the morning. Hare are some tips for helping your child fall asleep and get enough sleep:
Important! If your child is cranky, irritated and gets too little sleep, please visit your pediatrician.
Your child is waking up too early in the morning
Use thicker curtains on the windows in your child’s room so it’ll be darker in the morning. Place some soft and not too noisy toys in the crib or close to the crib, so your child will be able to quietly play with them until the other members of your family wake up. Make sure that you play with your child in the afternoon or early evening so he/she will be more tired in the evening and easily fall asleep.
Children who get up really early in the morning, usually have a really long nap the day. Usually if the child is more than one year old, the day nap should last 1-2 hours and no more than 3 hours. Of course babies under 6 months need longer naps. So make sure that your child isn’t sleeping too much during the day.
If your child just likes to wake up early, be patient. When he/she starts going to kindergarten or school, usually he/she will sleep more during the night.
Your child is waking up during the night
If you always carry your child in your hands and sing him/her to sleep, when he/she wakes up during the night, it’ll be more difficult for him/her to fall asleep by his/her own. When you enter your child’s room when he/she woke up during the night, don’t turn on the lights and don’t pick up your child right away, just go to the crib and talk to him/her with a soft voice.
Try to find out what causes your child to wake up during the night? Is he/she teething, has an upset tummy or has a cold? Maybe the diaper is full or your child is feeling cold. You have to understand that your child waking up during the night is something normal especially if your child is under one year old and you need to solve the problem without feeling angry.
Sometimes your little one needs to know that you’re there for him/her. Go to your child, kiss him/her, talk to him/her softly and leave quietly.
Your child is never tired
You will help your child to go to bed at an appropriate time if establish a daily routine. Make sure that you tuck in your child every day at the same time.
Don’t let your child to get too excited before going to bed and make sure that he/she is fed and changed. Place his/her favorite soft toys in the crib so your child will be able to play with them before falling asleep.
If your child is napping too much during the day, make sure that you keep him/her happy and occupied during the day so you’ll make the day naps shorter. Keep in mind that your child will be especially sleepy after eating lunch, so if it’s too obvious that your child is tired, let him/her have a short day nap.
Provide interesting daily physical activities so your child won’t be bored and won’t be taking long naps during the day.
Your child is afraid of monsters
You should never laugh off or ignore the fear of your child. Instead you should provide weak light source so your child won’t be afraid of the dark. Also make sure that you move around in the next room so your child will be able to hear that you’re nearby.
Leave your child’s favorite soft toys in his crib and before going to bed, tell him/her a pleasant short story or evoke a pleasant or funny memories like going to the beach or a funny thing that your pet does
You should never yell to your child especially not in his/her room, because it will only create an aversion to the room and your child won’t look at the room like a safe place to be. Show your little one a lot of love during the day so he/she will feel safe at night.
Extra tips on how to help your child fall asleep
Here are a few tips that will help you establish healthy sleep habits so your little one will have a comfortable and good nights’ sleep.
- Make a simple routine before bedtime, like dinner, taking a relaxing bath and going to bed.
- Give him/her time to calm down. If your little one is cranky and noisy after you place him/her in the crib, don’t go immediately into his/her room, but also don’t leave your child to cry for too long.
- Some children can fall asleep faster if everything is quiet, and some children like to hear normal noises in the house, because that way they’re reassured that you are near.
- Make sure that your child isn’t hungry, wet or gassy before going to bed.