As a new parent, putting our babies to sleep can beone of the most difficult (if not tricky) things that we have to deal with. Asif we have a choice, but we don’t, as we know how important sleep is (ingeneral) and most especially, how important having enough sleep to thedevelopment of our child is. Before we discuss the cues and tips on how to putour baby to sleep, let’s see how muchsleep they need for optimum development.
Below are some general guidelines as to how many hours ofsleep the average child requires at various ages. Of course, every child isdifferent — some need up to two hours more or less sleep than others.
Keep in mind that most children need lots of sleep. Often, says sleep expert Jodi Mindell, author of Sleeping Through the Night, if a child has poor sleep habits or refuses to go to bed before 11 at night, his parents will think that he just doesn’t need a lot of sleep. That’s probably not true — in fact, it’s likely that such a child is actually sleep-deprived. To see whether your child falls into that camp, ask yourself these questions:
Does your child fall asleep almost every time he’s ina car?
Do you have to wake your child almost every morning?
Does your child seem cranky, irritable, or overtiredduring the day?
On some nights, does your child seem to crash much earlierthan his usual bedtime?
if you answered “yes” to any of these, your childmay be getting less sleep than he needs. To change this pattern, you’ll need tohelp him develop good sleep habits and set an appropriate bedtime. “Thenhe’ll get all the sleep he needs to be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed,”Mindell says.
Sothe big question is, how do we develop this sleeping habit?
Babies may not be able to establish their own sleeping andwaking patterns, especially in going to sleep. You can help your baby sleep byrecognizing signs of sleep readiness, teaching him/her to fall asleep on his/herown, and providing the right environment for comfortable and safe sleep.
Whatare the signs of sleep readiness?
Your baby may show signs of being ready for sleep when yousee the following signs:
Howcan you help your baby fall asleep?
Although it is surprising, not all babies know how to putthemselves to sleep. When it is time for bed, many parents want to rock orbreastfeed a baby to help him/her fall asleep. Establishing a routine like thisat bedtime is a good idea. However, be sure that the baby does not fall asleepin your arms. This may become a pattern and the baby may begin to expect to bein your arms in order to fall asleep. When the baby briefly awakens during asleep cycle, he/she may not be able to go back to sleep on his own.
Most experts recommend allowing a baby to become sleepy inyour arms, then placing him/her in the bed while still awake. This way the babylearns how to go to sleep on his own. Playing soft music while your baby is gettingsleepy is also a good way to help establish a bedtime routine.
Or you can follow these six simplesteps!
1. Time your baby’s sleep right
2. Tell your baby it’s time to sleep
3. Cue your baby it’s time to sleep
4. Soothe your baby, but NOT to sleep
5. Watch for drowsy, but awake
6. Lay your baby down to sleep
Alwaysremember, kids who get a good night’s sleep tend to be in a better mood andbetter behaved during the day. The same can probably be said of their mums.Whatever tips we use, developing good sleeping habits can be beneficial for usand for our little ones.
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