Did you know that up to about one third of children have sleeping problems? Even kids who are good sleepers can occasionally have sleep problems. As a parent, it can be very frustrating for you if your child cannot sleep. You need to sleep yourself in order to have the energy do everything again the next day. Maybe you are making some of these mistakes that is why you are having problems getting your child to sleep. Check these out.
Not having a routine
What do you usually do before sleep time? You probably give your baby a bath then read a book or play a lullaby. If you are not doing this then you are not preparing your child to sleep. Like adults, you can’t just tell a child to go from on to off. It does not work that way. You need to have a bedtime ritual to relax him and prepare him for a deep sleep. Do this ritual everyday and your child, even if he’s a baby or a school age child, will recognize the sleep cues and will calm his body down by instinct.
Going to bed too late
Some parents think that if they burn all their child’s energy until the wee hours of the night then they will sleep for a solid 8 hours without bothering them. Some parents just wait until their kids fall asleep on their own on the couch, in front of the TV, etc. then just put them to bed. This is actually a wrong practice as it creates overfatigue in children. When they reach this stage, it becomes harder for them to fall asleep and stay asleep. They will also get up earlier the next day. Newborn babies should be put to sleep early, at regular hours every night. Never train your child to sleep late. Also, kids need more than just 8 hours of sleep. Depending on their age, they need at least 10 hours of good, uninterrupted sleep every day.
Rocking, swinging or using the stroller to put your child to sleep is actually not good for him. It’s good to soothe your child if he is acting up or cranky but as soon as he falls asleep, you better stop the motion. This is because kids who are constantly moved while sleeping don’t get into a deep sleep which is what they need. It’s like an adult sleeping on a flying airplane. That’s how it is for kids if you constantly put them into motion while sleeping.
Not setting sleep guidelines
Older kids usually get scared of the dark so they wake up in the middle of the night and crawl into their parents’ bed. Most parents allow this practice until they get frustrated because the same thing happens every night. They tuck their kid into bed then go to bed themselves. Then the child gets up and they tuck him again in bed then he wakes up again and finally the frustrated parent allows him to sleep in the bed with them. You need to set some rules about where he should sleep.
It’s actually better if you stayed with him a little longer in his room than letting him go to your room. You can also leave the door open or turn on a night light. You can have an extra mattress in his room and lie down until he falls asleep just to make him feel safe. You can stay with him when he is sick or there’s a storm.
Not providing a proper sleeping environment
Babies need almost total darkness to be able to fall into a deep sleep. You should avoid crib mobiles that are sparkly and colourful. You should avoid lights except for bigger kids who need a night light. Don’t overstimulate your child by putting a TV or computer in the room. Don’t let them fall asleep while the TV is on. Avoid distractions so that your child can have a good night’s sleep.