Wondering how to establish and maintain healthy sleep habits for your baby or older child? Here are a few tips from Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant Corey Wilbur, M.S., founder of Let There Be Sleep! LLC.
- Stick to a regular daytime and bedtime sleep schedule as much as possible, even on the weekends. Studies indicate that a regular sleep schedule maintains the timing of the body’s internal clock and can help your children fall asleep and wake up more easily.
- A consistent bedtime routine is important. Many parents like to use the “4 Bs”: bath, brush, book, bed. Make the routine simple so it can be used anywhere and by anyone caring for your children.
- To prevent sleep disruptions, help your child wind down about half an hour before bedtime with stories and quiet activities. This includes turning off all screens at least one hour before bedtime.
- Keep your child’s sleep space cool, quiet and comfortable. Dim lights in the entire house prior to bedtime, and use white noise or soft music.
- Make their bedroom a calm space—even somewhat boring! You don’t want the room to be overly stimulating with bright colors, patterns and lights. Remove toys, games and stuffed animals that make noise, have flashing lights, etc.
- From age 18 months it is safe to offer your child a security object such as a stuffed animal or small blanket. Encouraging your toddler to cuddle up to a favorite lovey can help him/her self-sooth and feel secure at night.
- Include time for exercise and fresh air every day. It can help children feel more awake and focused during the day and have an easier time falling and staying asleep at night.
- Don’t put your baby to bed with anything other than water. A bottle or cup with milk, formula or juice can lead to tooth decay.
- Avoid overscheduling. Children need time to wind down in the late afternoon and evening in order to get a good night’s sleep.
To find out more about Let There Be Sleep, visit www.lettherebesleep.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (516) 570-7445.