If your little one’s not sleeping well, the first place to look for the problem is at bedtime. A well-crafted, consistent bedtime routine is the foundation for great sleep skills, but what’s the secret to crafting one that works? I’ve got three great tips for you in today’s video to help you do just that!
Now, bedtime is a special time of the day isn’t it, people? We all secretly are looking forward to that little bit of space in the evening where our kids are in bed and it’s now me time. So I’m going to give you some tips here today that’s going to really streamline this process, make it a little bit easier for you to tuck those kids in at an appropriate hour and get yourself some you time.
So the biggest mistake I see parents make is that somewhere in the bedtime process, their child falls asleep. No most people have picked up tidbits along the way thus far where they know they need a bedtime routine. So routines are really key in triggering your body and your brain that it’s time to transition into night. So they’re very, very important. In fact, if you think about it you also have a bedtime routine that you do every single night usually in the same order that helps cue your body that it’s time to transition.
So most people start their routines out with a bath and then move into jammies and maybe you do a little massage or you have a story together. If you’ve got a young baby, most people are including a feed in their bedtime routine. And I encourage that, absolutely. I wanna make sure that tummies are nice and full so that babies can make it as long as they possibly can through the night without needing more. But he mistake people make is often that they feed their baby to sleep. Either on the breast or on the bottle, they’re both basically the same prop association.
So if you don’t yet what a prop is, it’s basically anything your child thinks she needs in order for sleep to come. So she gets on the bottle or on the breast and that’s her cue that it’s both time to eat and start falling asleep. The only problem with this though is that somewhere in the night she’s going to have a wake up and think to herself okay I’m awake, I need you to come back in and do all the things you did when I fell asleep at bedtime. Which usually means feed me again.
Now I’m not saying that there aren’t babies who legitimately need nighttime feeds, so don’t get all up in arms about that. But if you’ve got a child who is roughly the six month age range and up and good weight and healthy and no concerns, then there’s a pretty good chance that they don’t really need the calories. But they think they need it because it’s the prop. So I would encourage you– that’s always step one if you’re about to start any changes to your child’s sleep habits, is to look at bedtime. If you see any prop dependency there with feeding to sleep that’s where you’re going to need to start the process. Keeping baby awake through the feed and then into the crib awake. So that is hands down the biggest bedtime mistake anyone is making.
A couple other little ones that can contribute to a rocky start to the night. Would be too much screen time right before bed or too much light source. So we know that light plays a significant role in cuing our melatonin levels. So melatonin is that sleepy hormone that gets us nice and relaxed and ready for bed. And if there’s too much light, it’s going to impact that melatonin and sometimes suppress it so much so that falling asleep becomes very challenging. So my advice is at least an hour before your child’s bedtime, you’re going to want to turn off screens you’re going to want to turn off any unnecessary lighting in the house, you’re going to want to make sure that your child has got some nice heavy blackout blinds on their windows so that it’s nice and dark and we can get that melatonin cooking through.
One other little mistake that people make is that they often put too many gadgets in the crib. My advice is, and this is the same advice I would give any adult who is having sleep challenges, is that you really cue your brain and your body that when you go to this specific place it’s for sleep and sleep only. So you don’t work in bed, you don’t watch TV in bed, you just train your body that sleep happens there. And so the same is true for kids. I really want them to understand that that crib means sleepy time. It’s not playtime. It’s not play with all these toys that are attached to the side of the crib. It’s not stare up intently at a mobile as it rolls around and plays music. And even if it looks like your child is kind of enjoying that and relaxing a little bit, it’s very stimulating to the brain. All that color and movement and activity is actually winding your child up when you want to be winding them down.
So have a look at those top three mistakes and see which ones you need to tinker with a little bit to get your child sleeping well. Thanks for watching, sleep well!
If your baby, infant or toddler is having trouble sleeping through the night, help is just a click away! The Sleep Sense Program has helped over 57,00 parents to get their kids sleeping 11-12 hours through the night AND taking long, restful naps during the day. If you’re ready to get started today – I’m looking forward to helping you!