Article written for Macaroni Kids of Mahopac, Brewster and Carmel Ny: “You asked! One of our readers submitted a question about children sleeping through the night. We found a Child Sleep Consultant, Amy Lage, to help answer your question. She has great email, telephone, and Skype consultation services you can utilize. Check out her website here.
In my sleep consulting practice, I often receive emails from potential clients who have concluded that their children are just awful sleepers. These parents are convinced that they are forever doomed with a poor sleeper and label them as though this is a personality trait that they are stuck with for life. “My child is inventive and curious,” “Mine is friendly and compassionate,” “Well, mine is outgoing and a poor sleeper.” This simply doesn’t have to be the case. Yes, for some children sleep comes more easily than for others but all children can be taught to be great sleepers. Most adults do not know that sleep is a learned skill; we all learned to sleep so long ago that we assume for our kids it should be second nature. However, one of our most important jobs as parents is to provide a foundation for a lifetime of good sleeping. It sounds like a daunting task, but if the following five key components are applied consistently any child can achieve sleeping success.
1. A Consistent Place to Sleep:
Babies and toddlers will achieve their very best sleep in their bassinet, crib, or bed, and it should be our goal for them to do the majority of their sleeping in this consistent location. This is especially important when they are overtired or learning to self soothe, but is a good practice whenever possible. As your child is becoming a more social being, he will have a harder time sleeping out and about and on the go. Sleeping at home will make sure there are no distractions. Also, babies and toddlers have better quality, more restorative sleep when they are sleeping in a stationary location. Vibrations or motion during sleep appear to force the brain to a lighter sleep state and reduce the restorative power of the nap.
2. Respect of your child’s Biological Sleep Rhythms:
Make sure your child naps at the times that are biologically appropriate for a child his age. We all have internal clocks (called circadian rhythms) that make us feel drowsy at certain times. It is easiest at these times to fall asleep and to get our lengthiest and most restorative sleep. These times change as your child grows older. If you can base your child’s nap times around these rhythms they will be able to achieve their best sleep. While it is sometimes daunting to follow a schedule, it will allow you the freedom to know exactly when your child will need to sleep and also provide your child with the sleep that he needs. If you stick closely to the schedule while building the foundations of your child’s sleep and getting them well rested, you will be able to be a bit more flexible with timing once their sleep is on track.
3. An early bedtime that is flexible according to the quality of day sleep:
Bedtime times should not be a set time on the clock (for example 7pm every night) and will instead shift from day to day based on how naps went that particular day. An extra early bedtime is a great tool for days when naps have been off and/or your child is overtired.
4. Implement a Consistent Soothing Routine:
Babies and toddlers actually crave routine in their daily schedules as it helps them know what to expect. They follow patterns and cues, so if you create a consistent soothing routine before sleep times then they will know to expect sleep to come next. Your soothing routine does not need to be anything complicated – maybe a book, and then a nice soothing song, and into bed, sleepy, but awake.
5. The ability to self soothe
Self-soothing is a skill that every child has to learn. Once your child is on the correct schedule and is falling asleep before he becomes overtired, self-soothing will come much more easily. If taught early enough it is very easy to get your baby to learn to put himself to sleep with minimal effort and little or no tears. As a child becomes older and has not learned to self soothe, it is a bit more difficult as they have come to rely on you to do this process for them. There are lots of methods for teaching your child to self soothe – some methods involve more tears but work very quickly and some have fewer tears but take a bit longer. They all accomplish the same end goal – teaching your child TO FALL asleep on their own. This is one of the best skills you can teach a child as it enables them to become well rested, independent and better able to handle the opportunities and challenges each day presents.
Every parent wants to know one additional thing: When will my child sleep through the night? All babies are different – some start sleeping through the night at 12 weeks of age and others still need a nighttime feeding until they are nine months old. Consult your pediatrician if you are unsure if your little one is ready to stop eating during the night. However, when babies are able to sleep through the night and when they actually do are often very different things. This depends mostly on you as the parent and the sleep habits you have instilled in your child. If you have consistently implemented the 5 components listed above, your child will have a strong sleep foundation in place and is likely to drop night feedings all on his own when he is biologically ready with little or no night weaning.
Amy Lage is a Family Sleep Institute certified Child Sleep Consultant. She is co-owner of Well Rested Baby. For any questions please visits the Well Rested Baby website at www.wellrestedbaby.com or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.” to read the original article visit
Creating that Healthy Foundation for Sleep – Article Written by Amy Lage of Well Rested Baby and FSI Graduate – Congrats Amy!
Speak Your Mind
You must be logged in to post a comment.