Most parents wait for their baby in heavy anticipation before they are born. It is all about baby showers, baby shopping, listening to it kick in the belly and making the best nursery ever.
When the bundle of joy arrives, it is all smiles and celebration. The first weeks all the baby will do is sleep or they might have colic problems but will eventually fall asleep and sleep for hours.
Now, wait till they are toddlers. Your toddler is discovering the world around them and he doesn’t want to spend his time sleeping unless he is very tired.
However, bedtime doesn’t have to be a huge fight with your toddler. There are effective ways that you can get your little one to sleep soundly and without any fuss. They are as follows:
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#1 Set-up A No-fuss Bedtime Routine
Think of a great routine and follow it strictly every day. It could be an evening bath to mark the day’s end. You can even skip the soap and simply use warm water which effectively induces drowsiness.
The bath could be followed by some gentle reading, then gentle singing, one last feeding and finally the shut-eye. You can think of many routines which you and your baby are going to enjoy.
With a routine, your baby will get the cue of when it is time to go to bed and after a couple of days, there will be less fuss during bedtime.
#2 Make Bedtime Fun
It is normal for your baby to resist bedtime because they want to do whatever they feel like. Make bedtime a time for fun activities. You could sing together to your favorite toddler tunes.
You can play peekaboo, dramatically read to the baby, and make funny faces and so on. Make sure your baby is also active; you can have them turning the pages of the picture book for example.
You can let them do the singing if they know how or you can let them bath themselves, or crawl with them on the floor before you bath them.
Make bedtimes as fun as you can so that the baby can associate bedtime with fun and always look forward to it.
#3 Make Bedtime Earlier
Early bedtimes do not lead to earlier mornings. Babies and toddlers wake up less during the night when they sleep earlier.
The earlier the bedtimes the faster the baby will get to sleep and sleep deeply. Make bedtime to be between 7.30 and 8.00 pm.
This will allow your baby to sleep for around 10hours which us very healthy for them. Make sure that you feed him properly before you get him to bed early. This is to avoid hunger pangs during the night.
#4 Use Light Strategically
Light is a great way of communication for your child. Darkness triggers the brain to release melatonin a very important sleep hormone.
This is why you should keep your baby’s days bright and his nights dark to help him associate darkness with sleep and light with awakeness.
He will know when it is time to sleep as soon as you turn the lights off. During the daytime, allow a lot of light into the house by drawing curtains and letting the sunshine in.
You can also take him outside to show him that daytime is the time for a lot of activity. You can allow daytime naps but make sure they are in a well-lit room unless they have trouble falling asleep during daytime naps.
To induce nighttime sleepiness, think about installing dimmers on the lights in your baby’s room. Set the mood for sleep by lowering the lights during the evening.
It’s okay to use a night-light in your baby’s room but make sure you choose a small and dim one that stays cool to the touch.
In case your baby wakes up during the night, it is advisable not to turn on the lights and never to carry him into a brightly lit room.
The shift from dark to light lets him know that it is time to awake. The best thing to do in this case is soothing hi back to sleep in his dark or very dimly lit bedroom.
In case your child is prompted to wake up by early morning sunlight, you should consider installing room –darkening shades to help your child sleep longer.
#5 Take your baby to bed when he is drowsy, not asleep.
This can be a bit challenging especially if you are a breastfeeding mom. However, it is important to master the timing to allow both you and your baby to rest easier.
If your baby is one of those who drift off on their own, they are more likely to soothe themselves to sleep. But still, always put your baby to bed when he is quieting down, that moment just before she nods off.
You can begin by creating a sleepiness scale from 1 to 10 when your baby is as young as 6 to 8 weeks old. (Keep in mind that 1 is wide awake while 10mis out cold.)
You could wait until your child hits 7 or 8 of the scale and then put them down to sleep.
#6 Try and never look at your baby in the eye when they are drowsy
Most babies are easily stimulated and when you meet their gaze this is the cue for them that it is playtime. When you make eye contact with your sleepy baby, you are telling them that it is time for playtime.
Eye contact is very powerful and when you do it when your baby is drowsy, she will less likely want to fall asleep.
If you want your baby to sleep, keep it low key, avoid eye contact and avoid speaking in high and excited tones. Keep your gaze on his belly instead of his eyes. This will soothe her to sleep.
When you follow these tips, you will help establish healthy sleep habits for your baby. Begin as earl yes the first month of birth.
Just remember, that as desperate as you might be for some solid shut-eye. Your baby will not be ready for formal sleep training until she is at least 4months old.
Be patient as you exercise the above strategies and don’t try too hard lest you make your baby too agitated and uncomfortable.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article !