Babies either sleep lots or seem to not sleep at all. It is really tiring in that first year, and even then you may not get a proper pattern each night. However, you can help your child settle at night and sleep without getting up during the middle of it. Here are some tips.
Create a Soothing Bedtime Routine
Babies like routines, so you need to create one for them. This can adapt as your baby gets older but the best options when still breast or bottle feeding is to give her a bath and then her milk. Try reading a story while she’s getting her milk or shortly after and then put her down to sleep. Try to avoid letting her fall asleep in your arms.
Countdown to Bedtime
As your child gets older, she doesn’t want to suddenly hear that it’s bedtime. A countdown is beneficial so she starts to wind down herself and get ready for a full night’s sleep.
You could start this countdown from 30 minutes before your routine starts or an hour, depending on the age. Stick to the usual time to start the routine and the countdown will soon start to become normal for her.
She will try to push her bedtime back, but this negotiating doesn’t help you. In fact, it shows that she can do this all the time and will eventually get to stay up in the middle of the night.
Never let yourself get pulled into pushing the clock back, even if it is just five minutes. Set a time and stick to that time. She’ll get used to it eventually.
Give Her Something to Look Forward To
Children sleep better when they know there is something happening the next day. It doesn’t need to be something big like a trip out. It could be a story, a craft to do or something after school that they always love doing.
You can use that as a condition to go to sleep and take it away if they do mess around for hours on end.
Let Them Cry
It’s difficult hearing your little one cry, but depending on the age it is important. When they’re just a few months old, they’re crying for a reason and need you.
But when they get to one, two and even five years old, they’re crying for attention and know that it will eventually break you. They will tire themselves out and probably climb into bed realising that their tantrums aren’t getting them their own way.
Kisses, Cuddles and Smiles
No matter how annoying they’ve been trying to go to bed, you need to leave the room after giving kisses and cuddles. Have a smile on your face and tell your child you love her.
The second time she comes out, give her another kiss and say it’s bedtime while putting her back down and then leave again. After that, don’t say or do anything except put her back in the bed and leave the room.