What can you do to alleviate sleep problems with your child?
Here are a few ideas:
- Teach your baby the difference between night and day. Establishing bedtime rituals early in your child’s life can help you avoid sleep problems down the line. A warm bath, a loving cuddle, and a kiss good night can be part of your child’s bedtime routine long past infancy. It’s best, however, if you put your baby in his bed relaxed, but not asleep, so he learns to fall asleep on his own. Then, if he wakes in the night, he’ll be able to fall back asleep without your help.
- Enjoy quiet time before bed with your toddler. Reading bedtime stories to a sleepy 2-year-old can be a very pleasant way to end a busy day for both of you. You’re probably familiar with classics such as Good Night Moon by Margaret Wise Brown, but are you aware of Going to Sleep on the Farm by Wendy Cheyette Lewison? It’s the story of a father and son winding down at the end of the day. Or how about How Many Kisses Good Night ? It’s a short book by Jean Monrad that shows a mother and toddler daughter getting ready for bed.
- Talk to your preschooler before tucking her in. Kids appreciate a sympathetic ear just the way grownups do. Spend a few minutes really listening to your preschooler before bed and you may be surprised at how complicated her life really is! If she has trouble falling asleep, you may want to play calming music. Guided imagery recordings especially for kids, such as Jim Weiss’ Good Night: Story Visualizations with Sleepytime Music , may also help your child make the transition from day to night.
It’s always a good idea to discuss any concerns you may have about your child’s sleep habits with your pediatrician or nurse practitioner. He or she can rule out any medical problems and can also address any developmental concerns you may have.