You are currently viewing Rest Easy – Getting Your Children To Sleep Well

Children who sleep well function better at school as they are more responsive to new ideas and information. Uninterrupted sleep will also boost your child’s immune system, meaning fewer sick days off from school.

As sleep is an important part of your child’s growth and development, try to encourage good sleeping habits from a young age. These include a regular bedtime, even over weekends, and a set routine. Babies and younger children will benefit from a wind-down period before they go to sleep, while older children can use the time to read or listen to stories.

Read more tips on best bedtime practice and getting your child to sleep well.

A conducive environment

One way of ensuring that your children sleep well is by creating a conducive environment.

  • The bedroom should be dark when they are sleeping, so turn off the lights. If children need some light to sleep, get a night-light and place it where it won’t create scary shadows. If the sun rises early or sets late, try using blackout curtains.
  • TVs and computers are a distraction and shouldn’t be in the bedroom. If possible, move the computer to a study area. If it has to stay in the room, try placing the computer out of sight of the bed, so children aren’t thinking about homework, or playing games, when trying to sleep. You can also try dividing the room into separate work, play and sleep areas.
  • Make sure cellphones are turned off and put away for the night.
  • Keep the bedroom quiet by limiting the amount of noise nearby.
  • The temperature in the bedroom should be relatively cool. Babies and toddlers can’t easily regulate their body temperature, so they may need a slightly warmer room to ensure they sleep well.
  • Fresh air also helps. You may want to use an air purifier or a dehumidifier if these will make the room more comfortable.
  • Choose a good mattress that is comfortable for your child. Change the linen regularly and ensure the bed gets made every day.
  • An uncluttered bedroom can help children sleep well, so have a place for toys, clothes and books and make sure everything is put away before bedtime.
  • Use calming scents, such as lavender, in the room. Soothing music, or a white noise machine, may also help.
  • When deciding on a colour scheme, opt for cool colours, such as blue, purple or green, as these will help children calm down for bedtime.

 Sleep training babies

Affinity Health, a leading provider of high-quality health coverage, shares sine tips for successful baby sleep training that every parent should consider.

Sleep training is the process of helping a baby learn to fall asleep independently and stay asleep through the night. The goal is not to force a baby to sleep but to create an environment and establish habits that encourage natural, healthy sleep patterns

Establish a consistent bedtime routine

A consistent bedtime routine is foundational for successful sleep training. This routine could involve a warm bath, a quiet storytime, or gentle lullabies. The aim is to create a series of predictable, calming activities that calm baby and prepare them for sleep. Start the routine at the same time each evening to establish a regular circadian rhythm and ensure they sleep well.

Create an ideal sleep environment

The sleep environment can significantly impact your baby’s ability to fall and stay asleep. Ensure the room is calm, quiet, and dark. The crib should be free of toys, pillows, and blankets to minimise distractions and ensure safety. Be mindful of your baby’s sleepwear. Choose comfortable, season-appropriate pyjamas to keep your baby at a comfortable temperature throughout the night.

Be patient and consistent

Sleep training is not a one-night miracle. Getting baby to sleep well involves a slow and steady process requiring patience and consistency. Remember the progress made during difficult times and stay the course.

Additional considerations
  • Responsive vs scheduled check-ins: decide if you’ll check on your baby at set intervals or based on their cues. Both approaches have merits, but the key is to provide comfort without undoing the progress of learning to self-soothe and sleep well.
  • Handling night wakings: establish a consistent approach to night wakings. Decide how you’ll respond to feedings, nappy changes, and comfort needs during the night to maintain the structure of sleep training.
  • Daytime naps: Don’t overlook the importance of daytime naps. An overtired baby may have more difficulty being able to settle and sleep well at night.
  • Parental support: sleep training can be emotionally taxing for parents. It’s essential to have a support system, whether it’s your partner, family, friends, or a parenting group. Share the responsibilities and support each other through the process.

“Remember, every baby is different, and what works for one may not work for another. Be flexible, seek support when needed, and trust your instincts as a parent. With time and dedication, successful sleep training is within reach, paving the way for restful nights and happier days,” says Murray Hewlett, CEO of Affinity Health.