Hi there, Brittney Stefanic, your Certified Sleep Sense™ Consultant, here.
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To show you how much I appreciate you AND how much I value sleep, I’d like to share with you my top five steps for getting your little one(s) to sleep better, pronto. I hope you find this education useful, and I would love to hear from you about how the implementation is going. It’s my hope that these five steps will give you the tools to teach your little one the skills they need to fall asleep easily… and stay asleep for great naps and nighttime rest!
Ready for some free sleep help?
First, I’d check out the steps below and see what you can do for naps today or bedtime tonight. Then, if you have any questions at all after giving these steps a glance, please feel free to contact me directly. And since you’re obviously concerned about your child’s sleep, I’d like to offer you a FREE 15 minute evaluation call to chat a little more about what is going on with sleep in your house. You can book that call here.
Brittney Stefanic Sleep Consulting’s Top Five Steps to Getting Your Little One(s) Sleeping Better, ASAP!
If your baby or toddler is having trouble sleeping through the night or during the day, the first thing you should know is… you’re not alone!
Studies show that up to 30% of babies have sleep problems, and that 75% of parents would like to change their babies’ sleep habits. The good news is that there are some quick and easy things you can do – starting today – to help your little one starting sleeping all through the night… and taking long, restful naps during the day!
Step 1: Choose an early bedtime.
The best time to put your baby or toddler to bed is sometime between 6 and 8 o’clock in the evening. This ensures that your child will be able to get a solid 11-13 hours of sleep during the night. (And yes… that is how much sleep children should be getting every night up until the age of about 10.)
Step 2: Put your child to sleep in the same place every time.
Whether your child has a room of their own or shares a room with parents or siblings, it’s important that you put your son or daughter to sleep in the same place every night (and for naps during the day, as much as possible.) Putting your child to bed in a familiar place lets them know they are safe and that they are in a place where sleep is expected of them.
Step 3: Create a predictable bedtime routine.
Consistency and predictability are really important to babies and toddlers. When they know what to expect when it’s time to sleep, it makes it *much* easier for them to make the transition from waking to sleeping – and that’s why creating a routine around bedtime and nap time is so important! A good example of a bedtime routine might be something like this:
- 6:30 pm Bath time
- 6:40 pm Put on PJs
- 6:45 pm Final feed while awake
- 6:55 pm Story or songs
- 7:00 pm Into crib or bed
Your bedtime routine shouldn’t take more than about 30 minutes, and it’s VERY important that the routine is the same every single night. The repetition and predictability are what let your child know that he or she will soon be expected to fall asleep. A nap time routine may look a lot like this, but it will be much shorter, and probably not include a bath!
Step 4: Put your baby to bed AWAKE!
If you’ve been rocking, nursing, or otherwise soothing your baby to sleep, this is going to seem like a tough one… but it’s actually the most important step! It’s only by letting your baby fall asleep WITHOUT your help at bedtime and nap time that he or she can learn the skills necessary to stay asleep by connecting sleep cycles.
I’m sure it sounds pretty counterintuitive at first to be prolonging the time it takes your little one to fall asleep, but you’ve gotta trust me here! The more practice you give your little one to fall asleep on their own, the better they will get at it.
Step 5: If your baby wakes up during the night, wait a few minutes before intervening.
Everyone – babies and adults alike – will actually wake up several times every night. For most adults, these wakings are so brief that we don’t even remember them the next morning. However, many babies will immediately start to fuss or cry when they wake up.
This is simply because they haven’t learned how to fall asleep on their own. If a baby has been nursed or rocked to sleep at bedtime since birth, it’s not surprising that they wouldn’t know how to fall asleep independently. Sleep is a skill, so like all the other skills you help your littles to learn, they need practice and time to get better at it!
The good news is that many babies can figure out how to get back to sleep within just a few minutes of waking up in the night. If your child continues to fuss or cry for more than a few minutes, you’ll want to go in and offer some comfort, but it’s important to let your child do the work of falling back to sleep.
You can speak softly to your child and do some gentle rubbing or patting, but you should avoid picking your child up and rocking or nursing back to sleep.
There ya have it!
Give these five steps a try and see how you end up doing. My fingers are crossed for you, and I will be sending you all my good sleep vibes! And, as always, if you have any questions after implementing these, please feel free to contact me directly.
Cheers to you and cheers to sleep,