It is never too late to improve your little one’s sleep. Some parents even believe that a child will eventually grow out of any sleep problems they are having, however studies have shown that children who have had trouble falling asleep at night, continue having difficulties into adulthood. To add to that, if your little one is losing sleep, due to their sleep issues, then the problems are more likely to, at the very least continue, and may even get worse.
I wrote about some sleep goals in a previous post, but here are some more sleep goals to make, to ensure your little one is getting the best sleep possible. If your little one is sleeping well, then you will too! It will be a win for everyone.
- Ensuring your child is getting enough sleep, both day and night.
Last week I talked about ensuring your little one sleeps at the right time, to ride their sleep waves and help them fall asleep easier. Along with this we need to make sure our little ones are sleeping enough, when they do go to sleep. Babies and children who don’t sleep enough for naps and night sleep will start to have more sleep problems such as night wakings and early wake ups. Night sleep and nap times are also not created equal. Just because your baby sleeps 12 hours, doesn’t mean that it is okay if they do not nap well during the day or vice versa. Each sleep period has a specific sleep purpose and can’t be replaced. A nap less than 1 hour is not considered a restorative nap and your little one will not wake up feeling refreshed and well rested.
- Ensure sleep is consolidated.
Consolidated sleep is uninterrupted sleep. A child or baby that sleeps 12 hours a night but wakes 6 times, will not be getting the rest that they need. Everybody has brief awakenings overnight – which are totally normal. As adults we may adjust our pillow or pull up our blanket then go back to sleep. For a baby they may make a few quiet vocalizations and then return to sleep. If your baby or child wakes up and cries, calls out for parents or gets up and comes into your room, then they are not getting the consolidated sleep they need. In fact, neither are you. A goal should be to teach your child to be able to return to sleep when they wake from their brief awakenings, which will lead them, and you, to be able to have consolidated sleep. This feeds in to my next goal.
- Teach self-soothing skills.
A baby, or child, who can fall asleep by themselves at the beginning of the night and can put themselves back to sleep without help from their parents have learnt self soothing skills. Contrary to popular belief, being able to do this is actually a learnt skill and doesn’t come naturally. Giving our children the opportunity to get to sleep without rocking, nursing or patting to sleep will set them on the road to sleep independence.
Babies that always need their parents to help them fall asleep, or return to sleep overnight are likely to continue to need assistance, as they get older. They learn to feel that they ‘need’ this help from their parents and have more sustenance to demand it.
Lets continue to make February the month where your whole family gets the sleep they need. You are worth it!
If you would like assistance with 1:1 help to implement all the sleep goals discussed, please do not hesitate to contact me today. You can schedule an appointment here. Have you had a chance to join my free community where parents come together to discuss child sleep issues? Join here! Good luck with your sleep goals!