Sleep is the primary phase of the day in a baby’s schedule. The daily routine for a child under a year old may often change, and sometimes mothers expend a lot of effort to put their child to sleep. A well-structured daily routine can save time and nerves.
The child should have a separate sleeping place. Often, a child may fall asleep in the parents’ bed, but it is crucial for the child to sleep in their own crib. While co-sleeping has its advantages, the American Academy of Pediatrics asserts that sleeping in a separate crib is safest for the child.
Sleep Rituals The presence of consistent, repetitive actions or rituals before bedtime signals to the child that it’s time to go to sleep, and they need to relax. This helps the child feel safe. Young children are very empathetic, so it’s essential to transmit calmness and confidence in your actions; otherwise, the child may feel anxiety. The child doesn’t know what will happen in the next minute, can’t make decisions independently, and completely depends on you and your actions. Therefore, introducing predictability and order into the child’s daily routine is crucial.
Self-Soothing Skill Self-soothing is a skill that a child doesn’t possess from birth. The ability to calm down and relax before sleep is acquired over time. How can you help a child quickly develop this skill? Each family has its own methods of putting a child to sleep, such as carrying them in arms, rocking, strolling in a stroller, and sucking on a pacifier or bottle. Experts believe that the best age to start teaching a child to self-soothe is around 4 months. There are three conditional methods:
- Cry It Out Method: The most studied method, proven effective in research, but also the most challenging for parents and criticized by other experts.
- Fading Method: Fading is a softer version of the previous method. According to fading, parents provide close and reassuring presence from the beginning, then gradually withdraw, allowing the child to calm down and fall asleep on their own.
- No Cry Method: Supporters of this method believe that during teaching a child to self-soothe, one should always respond to the child’s cry and come to comfort them. They encourage calming bedtime rituals and support the philosophy of attachment parenting.
Comfortable Sleep Environment Choose calm shades that do not strain the eyes and have a relaxing effect on the nervous system. Lighting affects the sleep of both adults and children differently. Newborns do not have circadian rhythms, cannot distinguish between day and night, so it’s essential to help the child get natural sunlight during waking hours and darken the room during sleep. Curtains that darken the room during daytime naps can be helpful.
Despite the diversity of opinions regarding the influence of music on the development and sleep of children, scientists and doctors have repeatedly proven the beneficial effects of melodies and songs on the nervous system and sleep. There are now numerous fantastic night lights with music playback features. If you hang one near the child’s crib, you can track positive changes. The child begins to feel positive emotions and calmness during sleep.
In reality, all sleep methods are individual, and not every method will necessarily be suitable for every child. However, skillful use of some decorating elements in the room can help achieve the desired peaceful sleep for the child.