Top tips for helping to get your child to sleep - and the books that can help them drift off
Published on: 03 August 2022
Parents often see getting their child to sleep as a daunting problem to tackle. When parents contact me I reassure them that all children have the ability to sleep well – the most important thing is for the parent to stay relaxed, consistent and confident.
With that in mind, and remembering that all children are different, here are my top tips for sleep:
- Avoid short naps leading up to sleep time. Even a “power nap” for a couple of moments could prevent your child from falling back to sleep for several hours!
- “Sleep triggers” are key. A good bedtime routine could include lullabies or white noise, a soft toy and a comforting book like Goodnight Moon. Be in with a chance of winning a copy of Goodnight Moon on its 75th anniversary with our competition.
- Be realistic and have manageable goals. If your baby is feeding to sleep don’t expect you will move them instantly to falling asleep unaided. Choose a more gradual change and once your child is drifting off without feeding, you can look at ways of moving forward.
- Bedtime should be a soothing time for everyone. Children are amazing at picking up on your body language and tone of voice, so try to breathe deeply and talk softly – show that you’re calm and they will find it much easier to unwind.
- Reading should be the last thing you do before sleep. It is best for the child to be fully ready for bed, with teeth brushed, before snuggling down with a book such as Goodnight Moon to get them settled.
- Always prepare older babies and toddler for change. If you are embarking on any “sleep training” then explain the change you are going to make first – use role play or pictures to make it easy to understand.
- Books can be one of the best aids to a relaxing bedtime. Using the same book can be a good idea as children love repetition. The words should indicate that it is sleep time – this will help your child anticipate sleep approaching, which makes it seem less daunting.
Hannah Love (DipHe, DipION) is a sleep consultant, nanny, nutritional therapist, paediatric nurse and mother of three with over 20 years’ experience of helping babies and children to fall asleep through her Yummy Baby Group.
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