From difficulty falling asleep at night to the emergence of nightmares, there are many questions regarding a child’s sleep as they develop during their first few years. We have provided suggestions to help children with such sleep troubles. Try out any of these tips and see how it goes!
- Ideal Sleeping Environments
Cool, dark, and quiet rooms are optimal places for children to sleep. Being too warm can create discomfort, resulting in tossing and turning. Too much light or noise can stimulate the brain as if it was daytime, preventing the child from truly resting. If there is unavoidable noise nearby, a white noise machine can be a helpful solution to mask some of the extraneous sounds. For children, it is recommended to use machines exceeding 50 dBA (decibels) and to keep the device at least seven feet away from them.
- Bedtime Routines
If your child is having a hard time settling down at bedtime, try creating a nightly routine of things you do before bed. This can help signal to your child’s brain that it is time to start winding down. An example routine could include bath time, pajamas, brushing teeth, singing a song, or reading a book!
Nightmares are a common trait for children starting to have a real sense of imagination but not yet able to distinguish between fantasy and reality. There are many ways to help your child following a nightmare. If they call for you, go into their room and stay long enough to help them calm down or provide them with a comfort item (favorite stuffed animal, blanket, etc.) before leaving the room. In some cases, it can also be helpful to speak to your child about a time they’d feel comfortable with you coming back in to check on them. For example, agreeing to check on them in an hour (quietly so they are not woken if asleep), can give the child a greater sense of security.