When you have a young child, getting them to sleep well can be one of the biggest challenges. As they tend to go through phases during their growth, it can often seem like just when you have found a strategy that seems to work, suddenly everything changes and you are back to square one in the battle to get them soundly sleeping when it is best for them!
It is natural for children to sometimes have trouble sleeping, or to have changing sleep patterns as they grow up. It is rarely something to worry about, and usually the bad phases pass with time (just as the good ones sadly do!). However, if you are not getting enough alone time in the evening because your child keeps waking up, or your child is tired and irritable, then there are some things you can check and try to help them sleep better. Here are some things to look at:
It is important to keep the room where your child sleeps warm and cosy. You do want to be able to easily control how warm the room is, for example with radiators by Warm Rooms. What is also important, however, is keeping the room cool enough during warmer months, and making sure it is well ventilated so it doesn’t get stuffy. As people fall asleep, their body temperature drops, and this is an important part of getting quality sleep (for adults as well as children). Being too warm then, can lead to poor sleep. If you don’t have air conditioning, a ceiling fan can be a good idea, and ensure you can open a window safely in your child’s room (you can fit a mesh mosquito net on the window to keep bugs out). If it gets extremely hot, you can also consider portable air conditioning units which are much cheaper than having full AC installed.
If your child is at the age when night time accidents are still a regular occurrence, then keeping them dry and comfortable is important. Use night time nappies that will draw moisture away from their skin and won’t leak as they wriggle around in the night.
Even if your child is afraid of the dark, too much light will have an impact on their ability to sleep. This is partly because all people naturally sleep best in the dark, but also because if they can see all their toys and other things in the room they can be stimulated and not want to sleep. Use the dimmest night light you can, and try and wean them off of using one at all if they are not seriously afraid.
Kids often don’t really want to go to bed because they feel they are missing out. Make sure bedtime is always a relaxing experience, where they feel they get plenty of attention and affection. Read stories, give them a relaxing bath, and try and make bedtime a time they will actually look forward to. Never let them know you secretly can’t wait for them to fall asleep so you can catch up on your favourite shows in peace!
With any luck, some of these suggestions will help you encourage your child to sleep better, every night!