Tips to help your child get a good sleep
How to Improve Your Toddler's Sleeping Habits
Toddlers are active and busy practically the whole day long. To cope with the developmental challenges they face and to achieve sound health, they need a regular sleeping pattern. But convincing them to go to sleep can be a big challenge at times. Aside from the difficulty of getting them settled in bed, they may experience disruptions after finally dozing off. Luckily, there are many things you can try to encourage good sleeping habits in your toddler.
Setting a Routine
Get your toddler into a regular daily routine.It's a good idea to stick to a daily routine, as this will help your child to adjust to a certain pattern and will make implementing a strict bedtime a lot easier.
- A well-timed lunch followed by an afternoon nap, fixed and regular study hours, evening games and a timely dinner will make the life of your children much more systematic and meaningful. This complete list of activities should end up in a firm bedtime and a peaceful sleep.
- This discipline in terms of routine will help your toddler to sleep soundly while also enjoying all the moments of health and happiness while they are awake.
Spend some time with your toddler outdoors.Create a schedule of regular evening outdoor activities. Take your child out for a healthy walk, make him/her learn swimming in the kid’s swimming pool, instill in them the desire to learn new outdoor activities and games.
- Spending too much time inside watching TV or playing games on their play station will not only cause weakness and less agility, but will also prevent the toddler from getting a good night's, because staring at screens will make them too stimulated to sleep.
Establish a consistent bedtime routine.Like your daily activity plan, it is also important to institute a bedtime routine.
- Activities such as drinking a warm glass of milk, brushing teeth, having a warm bath or reading a bedtime story and topping it off with a simple prayer, creates a peaceful transition from waking to sleep.
- Also,if you can maintain a consistent bedtime routine, your child’s wake up and bedtime schedule will become regular thanks to their body’s biological clock.
Be mindful of your child’s food intake before bedtime.The food that we give our children does not just affect their health, but also contributes to a restful sleep.
- Proper timing of the meals along with the healthiness of the food is very important, not only for the health of the kids but also for a sound and quiet sleep. Avoid giving your child sweets or anything with high sugar content just before you plan to bring them to bed. Remember that when sugar spikes, it will lead to difficulty in sleeping as the child will experience a sugar rush and become full of energy.
- A balanced diet and timely consumption of the evening meal is highly recommended. Make sure the child is getting plenty of vegetables and fruits, along with healthy proteins and carbohydrates.
Think and work as a team.You, as parents, have to understand the sleep requirements of toddlers aside from their other needs in life. You must take into account the amount of time they require for sleep in order to get up and feel rested in the morning.
- You must work as a team to support each other with the purpose of creating a quiet environment that's conducing for your child going to sleep at a reasonable hour. Remember, your toddler will always follow your example.
- It is not realistic to expect him to sleep soundly while you are watching a famous TV show or enjoying a newly released blockbuster movie. The toddler is bound to resist the need to sleep as his mind will be consistently hovering over what is happening outside his room.
Don't get into the habit of staying with your toddler until he falls asleep.Minimize your presence by leaving the room before the toddler dozes off, but don’t lie in the child’s bed or interact with the kid. Move farther away from the bed each night as the toddler falls asleep to gradually reduce dependence on you.
- Establish a sense of security by reassuring the toddler of another presence in the room such as a nearby goldfish a night light, or a favorite teddy bear.
- Keep your promise as when you commit to come back to the room in a while to check on the toddler. Allot longer intervals, starting with a 5-10 minute waiting period.
Be firm with your toddler.If your toddler sneaks out of the room, accompany him or her back without much interaction. Being firm is important.
- Give the toddler a "bedtime pass" that will allow them to leave their room just once a night to ask for anything they need or. For some, the pass can be a replacement for crying or calling out to get attention.
- Reward good behavior, such as giving the child his favorite cereal or picking a favorite outfit the following morning, and ignore the undesirable ones like crying or slipping out of the room.
Creating a Calm Environment
Avoid visiting guests late at night.We all like to socialize and move around for various gatherings and dinners. Notwithstanding the importance of these gatherings and visits, parents must ensure that they head back to their homes in time for bedtime.
- Late night parties, functions and other family events badly affect the toddler's routine and disturbs their sleeping patterns. The adults must ensure that all such visits or gatherings finish up early in the night so that the kids (along with other family members of course) can get to sleep at their normal time.
- It's important to be aware that disrupting your child's sleeping patterns not only affects the mood of the kids but also lowers their performance capabilities.
Create a peaceful environment at home.The most important thing the parents must focus on is to ensure a peaceful, friendly and comforting environment at home.
- A child who is stressed due to any quarrels between the parents will sleep poorly or and be more inclined to have bad dreams than a child who is surrounded by a happy, loving environment.
Set up the mood to sleep.There are a few regular tasks like brushing the teeth, praying, taking a warm bath and reading a book, etc. which kids have to do before they sleep.
- Parents must start these tasks with their kids about an hour before they get the young ones to settle down in their beds. These activities set the mood for sleep
Create a cozy room.Set up your child’s room to be as comfortable as possible. Remember that a bedroom should be quiet, with proper ventilation and dark at night.
- Do not place a television in the room. Do not fall into the habit of allowing your child to watch television to fall asleep. This will only disrupt their sleep and possible cause nightmares.
- Another thing that you need to keep in mind is not to stuff the room with your child’s favorite toys. You can give them a blanket, stuffed toy or teddy bear that they consider, but too many toys can be distracting. The room should always have a positive and soothing feel.
Using Touch or Lullaby Therapy
Consider using touch and lullaby therapy.Aside from reading your child a story to get them to sleep, you may also want to consider touch or lullaby therapy.
- Massage has been a favorite therapy due to its healing and balancing powers. Studies show that it also helps promote a regular sleeping pattern.
- But before you engage on this, here are some tips on how it should be done.
First, you must ask your child’s permission.Be prepared, as toddlers love to say “no!” It will help if you give the kid a choice such as asking if he or she wants her legs or back (or any other body part) massaged.
- Toddlers like the feeling of being in-charge so they have to be involved in receiving the message rather than just having the massage done to them.
Consider a little rough-housing.You may involve Dad by incorporating some tumbling and wrestling games. But these shouldn’t be too wild if your intention is to put the tot to sleep. Although they aren’t massage in the strict sense, they still provide opportunity for touch and physical closeness.
Give the massage during story time.Story time before going to sleep is an ideal time to give the massage. You may be creative by involving the characters in the massage process.
- For instance, if a dog is walking in the story, you may walk your fingers over the toddler’s body.
- Think of different finger movements for the various action words found in the story.
Use long, firm massage strokes.Generally, it is best to use smooth, long, slow movements and to repeat every stroke used a few times. Firm pressure is also said to be more calming than light stroke.
- Use natural oil like those from grape seed or sweet almond. Gel, lotion or cream are options as well.
- The duration of the massage may be from 20 seconds to 20 minutes. This will depend on your toddler’s personality and mood at that time.
- Allow your child to massage you too. Let him or her think of his or her own techniques as this may be a way of expressing love to you.
Use some specific massage techniques.The following techniques are also suggested for the different body parts :
- Have the toddler’s thigh wrapped in your hand, then slide your hand going to the ankle. Repeat it with your other hand, one hand following the other, following a smooth rhythm.
- Using your thumbs with firm pressure, rub the sole of the foot, from heel to toes. Rub each toe, identifying each toe as “This Little Piggy…" Roll the kid’s leg between the palms of your hands.
- With flat hands, do paddling strokes on the tummy from the rib line to the hips. With flat fingertips, make clockwise circles on the tummy.
- Lay your hands on the chest, then stroke in an outward movement and back to your starting point, as if drawing a heart on the child’s chest.
- For the back, use the same movements as on the chest. With your hands across the back, stroke in opposite directions.
Sing your toddler a lullaby.Lullabies around the world follow a similar tempo, one that matches the tempo of a human heartbeat. Love is nurtured and communicated when a lullaby is sung, hummed or played. It provides comfort to children and makes young toddlers feel secure when going to sleep.
- Patience and consistency are your keys to a successful and effective bedtime routine. Remember that habits, especially for the toddlers, are developed over time and not overnight.
Video: A Good Night's Slumber: Tips for Healthy Sleep Habits in Children | UCLAMDCHAT Webinars
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