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Sleep is food for the brain. Just like food, air, and water, no one can go without sleep… though you may have a little one in your house who thinks they can!

Develop Healthy Sleeping Habits

Developing healthy sleep habits early on not only benefits you at the moment but sets you and your family up for long-term success for a happy and well-rested little one. If this kind of goal sounds like something your family is in need of, let’s talk about tools and helpers you can use to make it happen!

Tools & Helpers to Develop Healthy Sleeping Habits

Consistency is crucial when it comes to laying down a healthy sleep foundation–not just when promoting healthy sleep, but also for your little one. Children thrive in a consistent environment!

Here are 5 tools and helpers you can use to help your child (and your family) develop healthy sleeping habits straight out the gate:

1. Develop regular daytime and bedtime schedules.

Of course, this schedule will differ based on age. However, when a child naps at appropriate times for their age, they will have the most restorative sleep. This allows them to get through a stimulating day, which leads to a consistent bedtime and morning wake-up. In so doing, you are helping them more effectively and naturally regulate their sleep and wake schedules.

2. Create a pre-sleep routine.

It’s also important to create a pre-sleep routine for naptime and bedtime.

Before putting your child to sleep, keep the routine light and fun and moving. By establishing a routine, this will help them connect the dots and automatically cue their bodies that sleep is coming. For toddlers, include a bedtime routine chart to get them involved and build their independence.

3. Eliminate sleep props.

Sleep props include things such as feedings, pacifiers, rocking, and so on. Props prevent a child from self-soothing and transitioning between sleep cycles independently. If that’s the only way they know how to go to sleep, they will continue to need the prop in order to get back to sleep–even in the middle of the night!

4. Get your child’s room ready for sleep.

Just like you want to give them cues that sleep is coming, you also want to ensure their sleep environment is conducive to sleep.

Darkness

Children need complete darkness to fall asleep and stay asleep for long periods of time as it helps sustain their melatonin production, so start by making the room cave-like dark.

Temperature

Sleep likes cool and an ideal room temperature is 18 to 22 degrees Celsius.

Space

Keep the crib free of all items including bumper pads, loose blankets, stuffed animals, pillows, etc. Not only do you want to make the connection that the crib is for sleep and nothing else, but this also follows safe sleep practices.

Noise

Should you live on a busy street or dependent where your child’s room is off the house, even if you room-share, adding white noise as part of their sleep environment can be great for helping to muddle out background noise.

5. Give your baby time to fall asleep on their own.

Develop Healthy Sleeping Habits

Sleep is a developmental skill that requires practice, so give your little one time to fall asleep independently.

Most often, children cry upon initially going down for sleep because they are overtired, which causes them to have a much harder time falling asleep and staying asleep for long periods of time too. Lovingly reassure them that they are okay and, with confidence, leave the room. Little ones are really good at reading a parent’s emotions, so if they sense any hesitation or anxiousness from you, it can only make them freak out more. When you are confident, you can instill that confidence in them!

Start Helping Them Develop Healthy Sleeping Habits Now

When we prioritize sleep and practice healthy sleep hygiene, we empower our children to learn the value and importance of sleep. Remember: practice does not make perfect, but practice makes it permanent. So, whether starting to develop healthy sleep habits early on or at an older age, it is possible.

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Sharmayne Schmit

Struggling with sleep issues is overwhelming & I believe every family deserves to thrive.

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