Helping your child to fall asleep and stay asleep is a challenge for most parents. Every child is different so it requires some flexibility to find the patterns that will work for your family. Experiment with a combination of these techniques as you put together your own formula for success.
If it is not always appropriate or a good time to work on your child’s sleep. This may be because
your child is too young for sleep coaching, they are teething, ill, going through a developmental
milestone, or perhaps the timing is not right for your family to start working on sleep habits.
During my 5 years as a sleep professional, I’ve gotten used to people asking me what the “secret” is to getting a baby to sleep through the night.
I use Story Massage as an approach to help toddlers get ready, relaxed and calm for bedtime, it is a practical and simple way of introducing positive touch into the bedtime routine, particularly for the wriggly child (you know if you have one) who would benefit from the release of the love hormone (oxytocin) but simply won’t sit still for full on massage techniques.
At the risk of generalising here, it’s been my experience that there’s usually one parent who handles the bulk of the nighttime responsibilities. And that parent, in a man/woman relationship, is almost always Mum. Now, before you go accusing me of sexism or stereotyping, I’d just like to point out that there’s a reason this happens
As a parent, experiencing what feels like endless unsettledness after your baby wakes up from their sleep in the night or takes short unpredictable naps in the day can be demoralising. I know all too well about those feelings of worry and not knowing how your baby’s sleep (and your own sleep) will improve. Once I got to grips with the different developmental stages and how they affect sleep, it was reassuring and helped me understand (and accept) the progress and changes my baby was going through.
We tend to work on a common belief that tantrums are bad, we try all manner of things to get our children to be ‘good’ which in its self is not wrong, but when we mistake normal childhood behaviour of exploring, learning and pushing boundaries as naughtiness or don’t appreciate that children are sometimes not in control of their off-track behaviour we miss the opportunities to help them build ways of coping with big emotions.
We also beat ourselves up thinking we must be falling in some way as parents.
As a Relax Kids Coach who works with School age children, showing them relaxation, stretching, breathing and self-esteem techniques, I get asked A LOT about Sleep! I’m not surprised as sleep problems are very common but not always identified. It is reported that about 25% to 40% of all children and young people have some kind of sleep problems during their childhood. The common scenarios are:
It's not always obvious when a child is getting tired... Here's how to recognize "sleep signs" so you can get your child to bed BEFORE they become overtired!
The following question is from Trish, who wrote:
"Help! Why can’t I recognize my three-month-old’s sleep signs? No yawing, no eye rubbing. She seems to go from quite happy to very upset in a split second and then it takes awhile to settle her down and get her to sleep."
A question I get a lot when working with families, I've been working through your suggestions for about a week now, but I'm having a really hard time keeping my baby awake through her feed at the bedtime routine. What can I do?"