Trying to get a child to sleep is something most parents have experienced at one time or the other. Sleep is very important in a child’s life. According to research, children need longer hours of rest compared to adults, so one would naturally expect that this process will happen rather easily for them all the time but this is not always the case.
Trying to get your child to sleep could most times leave you exhausted, that you end up sleeping before the child does. Outside of the health benefits of sleep in a child’s life, this process is also important to parents as it allows them to have time for themselves which they rarely have when the child is awake and always seeking their attention.
When I had my child, each day, I used to look forward to the time when he would sleep, because if l wasn’t breastfeeding him, I was trying to stop him from crying or doing things for him. My day began after he had slept. I found this routine very tiring but there was nothing I could do about it. I only had the permission to sleep or have ‘me’ time each day after he had long dozed off.
This posed a big problem for me and got me seeking tricks to get him to sleep. Here are some tips that experience gained from my dealings with my child have taught me.
1. Play Calm Songs At Bedtime
To calm your child down and get him in the mood to sleep, cool songs work like magic. All you need to do is play them when your child is in bed and ensure that distractions are minimized. Before long, your child will be fast asleep.
2. Sing Lullabies
Singing calm songs to your child has a similar effect as playing cool songs at bedtime. The child may even respond faster to your voice because it is one that he is familiar with and will feel safe going to sleep knowing that you are close by.
3. Make Your Child Trust That You Will Be Close By
Children get scared easily. Shadows, weird noises or faces can easily put them off. They will therefore not want to be alone especially when they are sleeping. Getting them to sleep will require you to make them trust that you will be there to protect them. You don’t have to be there as they sleep, what you need do is pretend you will be there, and after they are fast asleep you can leave.
4. Read Bedtime Stories
After ensuring that your child is properly tucked in bed and comfortable, you can then proceed to read bedtime stories that set the child in the mood for sleep by inducing dreams.
5. Provide A Comfortable Environment
To make a child sleep as at when due, the child’s bedroom must be well arranged, and very comfortable. Also, the room light should be dim and it is usually best to shut out every form of noise and possible distractions.
6. Make It A Routine For Your Child To Sleep At A Particular Time
Children get used to routines easily. If you want your child to start sleeping at a particular time, simply make sure that an hour before that time, the child has a warm bath, gets dressed in pajamas, brushes the teeth and eats a light meal and make sure you do same, the idea is for the child to think you are also going to sleep alongside him or her. After doing the aforementioned activities, you can turn off the light and leave a dimly lit lamp, then make sure your child is properly tucked in the well-dressed bed. However, for these activities to become a routine to the child, you must be consistent.
7. Make Your Child Feel Safe
For your child to transition to sleep easily, it is first of all important for you to make the child feel safe. This could be done by holding your child close to you and reassuring him or her of your love.
8. Turn Off Electronic Gadgets
Gadgets like television, computers, mobile phones, and games can easily distract a child. It is important that these gadgets are turned off and kept away from your child before bedtime to avoid distractions.
9. Avoid Caffeinated Beverages
Caffeine-containing beverages are known to cause increased alertness and difficulty initiating sleep. It is not advisable to give your child caffeinated beverages before bedtime as this may make it difficult to put the child to sleep.
10. Ensure Your Child Has Dinner Early
It is best to have dinner early and you must ensure that it is a light meal, so your child doesn’t feel uneasy at bedtime.