Updated: Nov 18, 2021
Want to know how to help your little one achieve healthy, sound sleep at any age? Laying those sleep foundations is the trick!
We know, we know you’ve heard it before, but I promise these 4 fundamentals tips are what you need to help your little one begin to sleep solidly so everyone in the household is well rested and ready to tackle the never ending ‘to do’ list. So here we go, the 4 things you need in place for solid sleep are:
𝟏. A Consistent 𝐑𝐨𝐮𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐞: Waking up 15 minutes late for work can set your day into a tailspin. This feeling of chaos and stress is how our little ones feel when there is no predictable routine established.
Routines do not need to be rigid. A young child’s brain is still undergoing major development, especially the part of the brain that is able to plan ahead and make predictions about the future. A routine helps kids practice making these simple predictions, as well as understand concepts such as “before and after.” A regular schedule fosters responsibility and independence because they have done the same activities many times before in the same environment.
This is particularly helpful in the future for potty training, transitioning to school, ect. because your child will have an established sense of independence and will adjust when new challenges arise.
This may seem overwhelming but even the smallest routine can make a big difference. Here are a few examples:
1. Make feeding times predictable, every 3-4 hours during the day for our infants and establish feeding times for our toddlers, which will also help reduce picky eating from happening in the future!
2. Have a bedtime routine, even if it's singing a song or reading a book.
3. Talk to your toddler, especially those over 3, about any changes that may be occurring to their typical schedule so they can be prepared. Children do need to learn how to be flexible and deal with minor changes and talking with them is the best way to help learn this skill.
𝟐. Maintaining Proper 𝐖𝐚𝐤𝐞 𝐖𝐢𝐧𝐝𝐨𝐰𝐬: One of the key elements to being successful with your little one's sleep is knowing their wake windows, especially when traveling! Wake windows is the term we use to describe the time between naps, from wake up to back to sleep, that your little one should be awake and engaged in order to fill up their little tired tank and get good sleep!
Remember how we talked about flexible routines? Wake windows are the same, as it is a RANGE of awake time that your little one needs throughout the day. Your little one will fluctuate within this range of time but will eventually become consistent with how much time they need between naps as they age.
Babies move quickly from the tired to overtired stage so knowing your baby's sleepy cues is also important! Check out today's stories to learn more about sleepy cues and how to help your little one get solid naps throughout the day, even on vacation!
𝟑. 𝐏𝐫𝐚𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐜𝐞 𝐏𝐮𝐭𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐒𝐞𝐥𝐟 𝐭𝐨 𝐒𝐥𝐞𝐞𝐩: When referring to 'training' it merely means teaching the appropriate skill or type of behavior to an individual. If the word training sounds a bit extreme, we can also think of it as 𝙘𝙤𝙖𝙘𝙝𝙞𝙣𝙜, 𝙩𝙚𝙖𝙘𝙝𝙞𝙣𝙜, 𝙤𝙧 𝙝𝙚𝙡𝙥𝙞𝙣𝙜 your little ones on the right path to peaceful sleeping.
Our little ones begin to learn from the moment they are born and 𝙮𝙤𝙪, the parents of this precious bundle, take on the responsibility of teaching these new skills on a daily basis. We practice skills such as rolling over, crawling, using a sippy cup, going to the potty and riding a bike, 𝙗𝙪𝙩 𝙬𝙚'𝙧𝙚 𝙤𝙛𝙩𝙚𝙣 𝙣𝙤𝙩 𝙩𝙤𝙡𝙙 𝙩𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙨𝙡𝙚𝙚𝙥 𝙞𝙨 𝙤𝙣𝙚 𝙤𝙛 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙢𝙤𝙨𝙩 𝙞𝙢𝙥𝙤𝙧𝙩𝙖𝙣𝙩 𝙩𝙖𝙨𝙠 𝙬𝙚 𝙣𝙚𝙚𝙙 𝙩𝙤 𝙝𝙚𝙡𝙥 𝙤𝙪𝙧 𝙡𝙞𝙩𝙩𝙡𝙚 𝙤𝙣𝙚𝙨 𝙡𝙚𝙖𝙧𝙣 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙪𝙣𝙙𝙚𝙧𝙨𝙩𝙖𝙣𝙙. Being able to instill good sleep habits from a young age will only make for a happier child and family.
𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐢𝐬 𝐬𝐥𝐞𝐞𝐩 𝐭𝐫𝐚𝐢𝐧𝐢𝐧𝐠?
True #sleeptraining does not emerge until 4-6 months when a true schedule becomes more natural for a baby. One of the 𝗯𝗶𝗴𝗴𝗲𝘀𝘁 𝗺𝗶𝘀𝘂𝗻𝗱𝗲𝗿𝘀𝘁𝗮𝗻𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴𝘀 about sleep training is there is a one size fits all method or approach for sleep training but this isn't true as EVERY child is completely different in their needs. As a certified sleep consultant one of my main goals is to help you understand your child's needs and how to coach them to being a peaceful sleeper using a method that works for your family.
The majority of babies will only become more demanding and reliant on you helping them sleep as they get older, but the good news is it's never too late to start laying proper sleep foundations. Age appropriate schedules, techniques and consistency are all apart of helping any child no matter their age.
𝟒. 𝐂𝐨𝐧𝐧𝐞𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐒𝐥𝐞𝐞𝐩 𝐂𝐲𝐜𝐥𝐞𝐬: This is a big one! Babies have shorter sleep cycles than adults and they move from light sleep to deep sleep every 45-60 minutes, and this is often where we see wake-ups happening. There are many methods on how to help your little one connect their sleep cycles, but they all have a universal theme: allowing your little one 5-7 minutes before intervening in order to see if they are able to self soothe and return to sleep. This pause before going to your child when they suddenly wake, allows your little one the chance to practice connecting their sleep cycles so it becomes easier and easier!
Do you find yourself questioning if you have the proper sleep foundations in place for your little one? If so, schedule a free discovery call with me to see if hiring a sleep consult is the right choice for your family!
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