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Posted by Katie oGrady

Some Sleep Tips from Allaboutbabies Sleep Consultant – Victoria Rose

As a mum of two I know first-hand just how hard life can seem when you haven’t had enough sleep. It seems for many, the golden “sleeping through the night” goal is just always a step out of reach. There are many things we can do to help encourage good sleeping habits from our children.
Here are my 5 top tips:

  1. Self-settling: Ensuring that your child can fall asleep on their own is key to a restful night’s sleep. A child who is fed, rocked or patted to sleep will often wake up in the night looking for that bottle/breast, hand or person to be present to help them get back to sleep. Remove yourself gently and gradually from this process lessening your interactions over a number of nights. You can still stay with your child whilst they fall asleep – no need to leave them alone to cry – but be consciously working to physically do less and less each night. Once all your child needs to fall asleep is your presence you can move yourself gradually further away from the cot until you are out of the room.
  2. Bedtime Routine: Ensure you have a clear, consistent and calm bedtime routine that lasts no longer than 1hr. Keep your bath time short – 5-10mins maximum. Approach your bedtime routine as a way of preparing your child for sleep – winding them down.
  3. Limit screen time: For older children, avoid any TV, ipad, computer time at least 1hr before bed.
  4. Utilise light & dark: Our bodies respond to light and dark by producing the hormones we need to either fall asleep or wake up. Keeping your bedtime routing dark will help ensure that your little ones melatonin (sleepy hormone) levels increase which will help them fall asleep and stay asleep more easily. For early risers, keep it dark until an acceptable morning time then open up all the curtains and turn on all the lights – this can help to re-set your child internal body clock.
  5. Naps: Daytime naps are super important. A child who doesn’t get enough sleep in the day will find it much harder to settle at night and will wake up more frequently during the night too – they can also wake up earlier in the morning. Click here for our handy guide to naps.

Given that daylight saving time is ending in a couple of weeks I thought you might also like some tips on how to survive the clock change. Here is my step by step guide on what to do:

  • Begin 6-10 days before the clocks change.
  • Move your little one’s schedule later by 10 minutes each day.
  • Start with bedtime, shift this 10 minutes later on night one.
  • If your little one wakes up at their usual time the following morning (which is very likely) keep things as if it’s still night-time until 10 minutes later than you would normally start your day. Do this by either staying with and settling your little one in their cot if they are upset, or leaving them alone if they are happy.
  • When it gets to your ‘new morning time’ use your nice loud morning voice to announce “good morning”. Turn on all the lights and open up the curtains.
  • Mealtimes, milk feeds and daytime naps should all be shifted 10 minutes later, too.
  • Continue as above for the following 6-10 days, shifting your whole routine a further 10 minutes later each day until you have moved your little one’s routine forward by one hour.
  • For children ages 2 years plus, I recommend a sleep training clock such as the groclock – set this for 10 minutes later as you work on moving their schedule later each day.

For further advice and support on sleeping, weaning or parenting please visit www.allaboutbabies.orguk