Although sleep is a natural process, good sleep habits must be developed; the alternative makes for a frustrated and exhausted family! Sleep is also critical for children to learn and to control their emotions.
The following tips may help your family encourage regular, quality sleep:
- Know how many hours of sleep the American Academy of Pediatrics (www.healthychildren.org) recommends for your baby according to his/her age in months. Make sure you adjust accordingly if your baby was born prematurely.
- If you’re interested in putting your baby on a sleep schedule, try to match the schedule to your baby’s natural sleeping pattern as closely as possible. To do this, keep a diary for 24-48 hours, tracking when your baby sleeps and wakes. This will help you figure out which nap and bedtimes times work best for your baby and for your family.
- Consistency is key. Make sure that everyone that cares for your baby is on board BEFORE you begin your sleep schedule. Consistency creates predictability and helps babies feel safe and secure.
- Depending on your baby’s age when you begin putting him/her to sleep at a specified time, their initial reactions will differ. Soon these will dissipate as they acclimate to their new schedule.
- Routines help babies transition before bedtime. Whether it’s singing a couple of special songs, rocking in a caregiver’s arms or telling all of their stuffed animals goodnight, quiet rituals before each nap or bedtime help your little one begin to relax before going to bed.
Click here to read about establishing healthy sleeping habits for your baby from Raising Arizona Kids magazine.