Nothing is more soothing than watching babies sleep soundly, but is this perfect picture as simple as it looks?
There are two key points to focus on to develop a set of healthy sleeping habits for your child. Firstly, there’s the significance of a firm, and consistent bedtime routine – also known as the holy grail of sleep – and secondly, the power of a good nap schedule at home or at their daycare center.
According to the American Thoracic Society, the recommended sleeping hours for children change between the ages of three months, 12 months, two years, and five years. Newborns and three-month-old babies typically get 16 to 18 hours of sleep per day; while babies between four months and 12 months need 12-16 hours. Moreover, children between one and two years sleep for about 11-14 hours, and three to five-year-olds need 10-13 hours of sleep every day.
1. The bed is for sleeping: Create a Bedtime Routine
Many parents fall into the trap of laying their children awake in bed during the daytime while they attend to other chores. Therefore, children resist sleeping when placed into their cribs at night.
A good way to establish a solid bedtime routine is by creating a sleep hygiene checklist that covers everything from bathing, teeth brushing, fixating a time for bed, and even adjusting to dimmer lights, according to Sleep Foundation.
Start creating a cool, calming ambiance for your child to fall asleep in. You can try out a short reading session or play meditation music as part of the winding down process. Always check the room and the baby’s temperature before bed. Look out for visible signs such as damp hair, sweat, flushed cheeks, or heat rashes.
The room should be suitable for a lightly-dressed adult or baby. Make sure to deny any over-stimulating activities such as TVs, iPads, or smartphones before bed.
If you are sharing your baby’s bedroom with other siblings, separating their bedtime is a must. Grant your baby at least half an hour to settle and sleep before the other child goes to bed.
Since toddlers need around one to two hours of sleep during the day. Messing with the timing and the duration of the nap can cause sleep problems at nighttime, such as difficulties in falling asleep or settling in bed. It is vital to schedule their nap time early enough so that they can be ready for bed by 7:30 p.m. at max. It is important to keep track of their nap time and have supervision over them while they sleep.
Most preschoolers, on the other hand, stop factoring naps into their daily schedules. However, a one-hour nap still has an array of benefits, like learning how to relax and having better focus throughout the day.
Monitoring when the child wakes up, even if it is as irritating as dawn or sunrise, and accustoming their bedtime accordingly is an absolute must. It’s seemingly an easy process, but if you cannot balance this equation and the baby gets too little sleep, rest assured the two of you will have a grumpy day.
3. Snacking right before bed is not a good idea
Many pediatric and health books argue that meals with rich complex carbohydrates or tryptophan intake will keep your child full for longer, thus, sleep better. Also, incorporating ingredients such as chickpeas, bananas, seafood, nutmeg, and cinnamon in meals can help children sleep deeper.
Yet, snacking less than 30 minutes before bedtime does no good to your child. It can introduce sleep problems, and tooth decay. Finally, be mindful of food and drinks that are high in caffeine – they can disturb the sleeping schedule as well.
4. Nutrition and physical activity are essential
Combining excellent nutrition and exercise will guarantee your child a good night’s sleep. There are numerous guides and ways to provide your child with healthy meals, whether at home or in their daycare centers. At the same time, exerting the right amount of physical activity and play will consume up the child’s energy during the day, therefore, helping them fall asleep quickly.
This article is designed to help you establish and develop healthy sleep habits for your child. It will help you understand the importance of a firm, consistent bedtime routine and the power of a good nap schedule at home or at the daycare center.