Sleep training infants and toddlers can be a daunting task, but with patience and consistency, parents can achieve sweet dreams. The following are some secrets to successful sleep training for achieving sweet dreams.
Establish a Bedtime Routine
Creating a consistent bedtime routine helps babies and toddlers understand when it’s time for sleep. This can include activities such as having dinner, bathing, and dressing for bed, reading stories and singing songs. A calming massage or back rub can also help relax them before winding down for the night. Having a consistent bedtime routine helps set the expectation that it’s time for sleep and helps them relax for an easier transition.
Set Up a Comforting Sleep Environment
Making sure their sleep environment is comfortable and inviting is important for helping babies and toddlers relax, as well as aiding in good sleep. Ensure their crib or bed is comfortable and safe, and that the temperature is cool and comfortable. Soft sheets, blankets, and stuffed animals can help them feel secure and can be a reminder of home if they become distressed. Consider having a nightlight in the room to provide a gentle light in the dark.
Adjust the Bedtime to Suit Your Child
Getting your child to bed at the same time each night is important for consistency, but some children need more sleep than others. Toddlers between 1-3 years old need 12-14 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period, and infants need 14-17 hours. It’s important to adjust the bedtime to suit your child’s individual needs, as well as their nap schedule during the day.
Monitor the Progress of Sleep Training
It’s normal for children to need a few weeks to adjust to sleep training, so it’s important to monitor the progress and adjust accordingly. Use a sleep journal to track how long it takes your child to fall asleep and how many times they wake up during the night. This will provide a better understanding of progress and give you the advantage of adapting the sleep training plan to better suit your child’s needs.
Respond to Crying with Calmness
It’s common for babies and toddlers to cry during sleep training, and responding with calmness is key. When your child cries, it’s important to provide comfort and reassurance, such as providing a hug or patting them on the back. It’s also important to remain consistent with sleep training even when your child is crying.
Create a Positive Sleep Association
Creating positive sleep associations can help children relax and signal to them that it’s time to sleep. Consider using the same calming music or white noise that’s played when they go to sleep, or even the same pajamas each night. These positive sleep associations can help signal to your child that it’s time to relax and it’s ok to go to sleep.
Achieving sweet dreams with sleep training takes patience and consistency, but is well worth the effort. Establishing a bedtime routine, creating a comforting sleep environment, and establishing positive sleep associations can help parents sleep train their children and achieve sweet dreams.