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6 Tips to Fix Your Child’s Sleep Schedule

If you want to know the real value of sleep, ask young parents about it. Especially those whose children have trouble sleeping. However, fortunately, sleeping patterns can be changed, and this is not a problem for a healthy nervous system. All you need is consistency, calm, and a little patience. In this article, we will share tips on how to reset the sleep schedule of your kid and make this experience stress-free.

Come up With a Clear and Consistent Bedtime Ritual

In fact, children love rules and stability. For them, this is a signal that everything is going according to plan, nothing is threatening their lives and no dangerous surprises will happen. This confidence is important for a calm and deep sleep, and therefore it is necessary to develop and repeat the same ritual before going to bed. Every day without exception.

Moreover, this bedtime ritual should be as pleasant as possible for the child, and all your actions should have a calming effect. For example, an active game is not the best idea for a nightly ritual. A better choice is to choose reading a book, massage or talk about your day.  

In addition, you can make your rituals more calming and sleep-oriented due to little tricks. For example: 

  • you can dim the lights once your child gets out of the bath. 
  • You can use essential oils to mimic a certain scent (think lavender!)

 By giving your baby or toddler the opportunity to go through the steps and start to understand what’s next, you may find that bedtime becomes a breeze.

Give Your Child More Opportunities for Activity During the Day

Sometimes, children have difficulty falling asleep because they have not had the proper opportunity to get the energy out.  

In fact, this can happen to adults as well. Have you ever tried to go to sleep, but your legs felt restless? That squirmy, difficult to lie still feeling is uncomfortable for adults. It can be nearly impossible for kids to deal with. Fortunately, the solution can be as simple as adding some more physical activity during the day. Of course, outside is always better when possible.

Of course, it can be difficult to create and supervise all this outdoor fun on your own. Take advantage of any help available from grandparents, nannies, or friends if they offer to help get your child some outdoor playtime. As long as they are getting adequate exercise, your child will become better at falling asleep naturally.

Important! Do not let your child engage in strenuous activity too close to bedtime. Two hours before bedtime, all physical activities should be stopped and changed to calming games and evening rituals.

Introduce Changes to Sleep Schedule Gradually

It is not possible to change sleep behaviors with the wave of a magic wand. These changes require patience and consistent effort. For example, if you want to change the kids’ sleep schedule so that it is convenient for all family members, you need to start with small but gradual shifts. Remember that if your child is younger than year years old, they might also benefit from a one and a half-hour rest in the afternoon.

To shift your child’s sleep schedule, start with these steps:

  1. Waking your child ten minutes earlier than usual.
  2. In the evening, accordingly, calculate the time so that the child falls asleep 10 minutes earlier.
  3. Gradually add five minutes to this time until the sleep mode shifts to the schedule you need.

Be sure to back up your changes with rituals. Create not only an evening but also a morning ritual. For example, make it a morning tradition to sit together in front of the window, and watch the sunrise. These rituals will make it easier for your child to adapt and can add comforting predictability.

Let Your Child Have a Rest and Sleep in the Afternoon

Some young parents believe that in order for the child to sleep well at night, they should not sleep during the day. The belief is that the child will be too tired and simply can not resist sleep. Yes, it’s true – the child will be very tired by the end of the day, but this does not mean at all that he will simply go to bed and fall asleep. 

If your child stays up late, they may just end up overtired and grumpy. This is one of the most common mistakes parents make when trying to make their kids sleep better. 

If you notice that your child is easily frustrated, defiant, or cries more than usual in the evening, they might be suffering from being overtired before bedtime.  It’s not uncommon for preschoolers and toddlers to experience sleep regressions, especially around 2 years old.

Fighting sleep is only part of the issues – you want to make sure your child is still capable of getting the right amount of sleep for their age, at least 11-13 hours of sleep from 2-4 years old.

Many children need more sleep than they are getting today.  Regardless if your child naps or not, encourage a “rest time” after lunch. Sleeping is fine, but not mandatory. The idea is to ‘hit the reset button’ in a sense. This will help ensure a peaceful evening.

Also, please take advantage of this period to enjoy some time to yourself. Get some work done, or enjoy some peaceful child-free moments. This is a good time to determine exactly how much you can get done in the space of an hour or two.

“My child’s two hours of sleep is enough to complete one average order,” says Colin Walles, one of the freelancers from the Online Writers Rating custom writing reviews website.

Turn off All Gadgets One Hour Before the Bedtime

The recommendation to shut down electronics may apply not only to children but also to adults. The fact is that light from the screens of our gadgets with which we fall asleep and wake up imperceptibly affect the nervous system and excite it at the moment when it should calm down and get ready for bed. Doctors around the world unanimously declare – turn off the TV and remove your smartphones an hour before bedtime.

As for the children, they are especially sensitive – both to the blue light of the screens and to the informational garbage and the negative that comes from the TVs. By the way, sometimes it’s enough to eliminate this effect so that the child begins to sleep more calmly. And you too.

You (The Parent) Needs Rest Too

A tired parent who suffers from an acute lack of sleep can hardly help his child. Remember what flight attendants say when they voice safety instructions before take-off? “First put the oxygen mask on yourself, then on the baby.”

Therefore, if you yourself lack sleep because your child has trouble sleeping, use every opportunity to rest. You will not be able to help if you sleep on the go, so do not forget to take care of yourself as well.

Conclusion

Very often, a child’s sleep becomes a real pain for their parents. And if you are going through this difficult period now, remember that, firstly, this is all fixable, and secondly, it will not last forever. This is just one of the periods that you will remember as one of the stages in the development of your child.

Susie Parker

Susie Parker is founder of Sleep Baby Love and a Certified Infant and Child Sleep Consultant through the Family Sleep Institute. When Susie's not ridding the world of sleepless families, she loves spending time with her two girls that have given her a ton of real world sleep experience head on.

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