Sleep is precious. You know this all too well if you are a parent with little ones. As parents we do everything we can to help our children fall asleep, stay asleep, get good quality sleep and ensure that they sleeping safely. Whether you are a first time mom with a newborn or a mom of a 3-year-old with every excuse in the book as to why he can’t go to sleep, these simple sleep tips can help your family create healthy sleep habits for your kids.
This post is written by me on behalf of Secure Beginnings. All opinions are entirely my own.
1. Set a Bedtime Routine
Children thrive with structure in their lives. Establishing a simple bedtime routine from an early age helps your baby learn to recognize when it’s time to wind down and sleep for the night. There is something comforting about having the same expected routine every night. You can keep it simple or make it as involved as you prefer. For my infants I would dress them in pajamas, nurse them, read a book, sing a song while cuddling them, and then lay them down for the night in their zippered swaddler. As my son grew older we replaced nursing with eating a nutritious bedtime snack such as oatmeal, a banana and glass of milk to keep him full until morning. It’s important to be clear and firm about what is allowed and not allowed at bedtime. My son knows that we read only 2 books and then we sing a few songs. After we say goodnight getting out of bed is not allowed. Having the same routine helps him know what’s expected, and that he can’t get away with multiple requests for new things every night for the sake of delaying bedtime.
2. Create a Safe Environment
I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to ensure your children are sleeping safely. This checklist from Secure Beginnings is a great place to start in creating a safe sleeping area for your children by taking precautions to help reduce the risk of SIDS.
Secure Beginnings is a company dedicated to sleep safety. Their innovative SafeSleep Breath-Through Crib Mattress allows your baby to breathe and receive fresh air even if they have rolled face down in the middle of the night!
This completely breath-through crib mattress design allows air to flow right through the mattress making it breathable and preventing an infant from over-heating which can also be a risk for SIDS. These mattresses fit any standard size crib and are available in mini sizes which fit mini cribs or pack ‘n plays. It’s easy to create a safe sleeping environment even when you are away from home.
I love that the entire mattress sleeping surface is also machine washable! The sleeping surface can be removed from the wood frame and extra surfaces may be purchased which makes for convenient bed changes in the middle of the night when accidents happen.
Secure Beginnings offers several different colors to choose from, making it easy to find a sleeping surface that matches your crib style and nursery decor. The SafeSleep Breathe-Through Crib Mattress was designed through scientific testing to offer kids a safe sleeping space and give parents peace of mind. To order one for yourself or learn more visit securebeginnings.com.
3. Create a Calm Environment
Choose decor that is calm and soothing for your child’s room. Keep toys and clutter to a minimum. If possible have a play room elsewhere and reserve your child’s bedroom for sleeping and quiet time. If toys must be kept in the child’s room, make sure it’s clean and (somewhat) orderly before tucking them into bed so that distractions are kept to a minimum. Clean up time could even be part of the bedtime routine! You can also install room darkening curtains, provide a small CD player with soothing music, and plug in a subtle night light for a comforting glow in your child’s room.
4. Be Active During the Day
I see a huge difference in my 3-year-old son’s behavior and sleep based on how active we were that day. Get outside and let them run off steam. Children are made to MOVE! Find creative ways to let them burn energy. Go for walks, dance to some music, get a mini trampoline, have a play date at the park. Also, limit screen time which makes for a more sedentary life style. There have been many studies done showing the negative effect screens have on our sleep patterns so avoid screen time right before bed. I know from experience that bedtime is more of a struggle on the days we’ve spent too much time inside with little activity.
Image Credit: Secure Beginnings
5. Keep Temperatures Cool
It’s been proven that people sleep better when temperatures are cooler. From what I’ve read it seems that ideal temperatures for sleeping (even for little ones) are between 65-70 degrees. Use a fan to create gentle air circulation and be careful not to over bundle! A room thermometer is a great tool for monitoring your child’s room temperature. The airy breathe-through design of Secure Beginning’s crib mattresses will also help your child stay cool all night long especially on hot summer nights.
More Resources for Sleep Tips
If you are really struggling with a child who has been sleeping poorly for some time you may need to reach out to a sleep consultant for help. There are many great resources out there. The Baby Sleep Site has some helpful free articles, sample sleep schedules and resources that were helpful to me in creating sleep routines and figuring out how much sleep my child should be getting at a given age. You can also find helpful sleep tips and safety advice by following Secure Beginning’s blog and Sleepwellbaby.ca offers a free 15 minute phone consultation for those who need some help from an expert!
Your family will benefit from being proactive to set your little ones up for a good night’s sleep. Create a soothing sleep environment, enforce bedtime routines, and make sure kids get the physical activity they need to help ease bedtime struggles. Choosing high quality products such as the Secure Beginnings Completely Breath-Through Crib Mattress will give you a greater peace of mind (which leads to better sleep for you too!) knowing your babies are sleeping as safely as possible.
What sleep tips do you have that help your child sleep better?
Karen and her husband of 7 years have one active but very sweet toddler boy and a happy baby girl. She loves being mommy, spending quality time with friends and family, traveling and trying new things.