When your child can not sleep well at night, it usually becomes a problem for the whole family. Some children sleep more than 10-11 hours a day, but some do not like sleeping and stay awake till midnight. Therefore, an individual approach is needed for every child when creating his sleep strategy and developing good sleep habits. It is necessary to take into account such details as his age, type, health, situation in the family and many other factors. However, it is possible to name several universal rules for making the child’s sleep more comfortable and effective.
• Remember that sleep can hardly be commanded, that is why all you can do is create the right environment and stimulate your child’s bedtime mood.
• Make your child go to sleep and wake up in the morning at the same time every day.
• In the evening before going to bed, give him some time (from 10 to 30 minutes) to get ready for going to sleep or develop a sort of bedtime ritual for your child (reading a bedtime story or listening to some calm bedtime music).
• Create a proper sleep environment for your child.
• Control the hours your child spends in bed. Check out sleep patterns of your child and do not allow him to stay in bed for more hours than he actually needs for normal activities.
• Watch what your child is doing before going to sleep. Do not allow him to jump or run and try to divert his attention on doing something calm.
• Keeping the lights dim before going to bed also stimulates you child’s bedtime mood. At that, do not forget to use bright lights in the morning and during the day.
• Never use the television or other communication media while sleep training your child.
• Talk to your child before he falls asleep. You must be the last for your child to see before he falls asleep.
• Help your child to learn falling asleep himself. For this, help him to develop positive associations when falling asleep.
• Sending to bed must never be a punishment or threat for your child. Your child has to develop only positive feelings about going to bed and learn to enjoy the bedtime.
• Do not allow your child to watch movies or programs, as well as to play PC games that are not appropriate for his age.
• Do not allow your baby or toddler to fall asleep nestled in your arms with the bottle of meal.
• If your baby cries at night, come near and comfort him but do not pick him up. This way he will not develop a habit of crying in order to gain your full attention.
• If it is possible, do not let your child sleep in your bed. This habit is very hard to break and in the future it can bring to unwanted consequences.
• Do not give your child any drink or food (including, first of all, chocolate and carbonated drinks) with caffeine before he goes to sleep. Also, try to avoid giving him medicines that stimulate physical activity.
If your child slept very well all night, he will be active and full of joy all day long. But keep in mind that not every child who does not sleep long enough at night can feel discomfort or lack of sleep during the day. You must also remember that in many situations the child’s problems with sleep are not the fault of his parents. Sometimes these problems are serious, but sometimes they are not. If you child has continuous difficulties with sleep, talk to your pediatrician or sleep specialist.