Image by Jenna Norman
You're finally settling back into a routine after the holiday hustle and bustle, but your little one isn't sleeping well. What gives?
Often babies and toddlers regress during times of activity when sleep rules are likely to be bent. If your child seems out of sorts, fret not. In 3-5 nights you can have him or her sleeping well again.
Below are suggestions for noting your child's sleepy cues, re-establishing good sleeping habits, and getting back on track. These can be used before nighttime sleep or naps.
Be sure to watch for your baby's signs of tiredness. A baby who is physiologically primed to fall asleep will go down easily and is more likely to stay asleep for an appropriate amount of time.
Early Signs of Tiredness
- rubbing eyes or nose
- red eye brows
- stiffness or arching body
- fussing, whining, crying
- seeking comfort sucking or feeding
- gaze avert
Later Signs of Tiredness
Consistency is the name of the game. Consider incorporating these elements of an effective sleep routine:
- Begin a consistent and regular sleep routine involving low lights, quiet voices, and simple play. This can be a bath, a massage, or simply reading quietly in your child's room. While you're doing this, please be sure to take some slow deep breaths yourself. Your ability to feel calm and present will help your little one relax his or her central nervous system.
- If your child is at an age where he or she understands your words well, you can also begin to talk about the sleep routine. For example, "first we are going to take a bath, and then we are going to read some books, and then it is night-night time."
- Be sure to re-establish the sleep routine in a way that has your child going into his or her crib drowsy but awake so he or she learns to self soothe. Remember that bedtime is determined based on your child's nap wake-up time and usually falls between 6-8pm.
- Be consistent! More than anything else, this will be important to re-establishing sleep. Over the holidays, your little one got used to late nights, lots of visitors, and festive events. This is often associated with later bedtimes and falling asleep in the car seat or someone's arms. Once this happens, babies begin to rely on those methods of falling asleep. Now that you are re-establishing a healthy sleep routine, it is important to be calm and consistent to help your child self soothe his or her way to a solid nap or good night's sleep.
This new routine can take 3-5 nights before seeing results. Stay with it. And remember your little one knows how to sleep and can do it again!