Helping your kids to sleep better
For children, just like adults, sleep is a normal and natural physiological need that must be met. Some children are sleepyheads while others need to sleep less: in both cases however parents should ensure that their child sleeps well in order to avoid distress to both parents and children.
Initially babies will tend to fall asleep shortly after nursing and are not very aware of light and noise; as baby grows older, you will probably notice a change in his sleeping habits and the number of hours he sleep changes, children will stay awake longer so that parents should make sure their children develop a sleeping pattern that allow them to be happily active and sleep when they feel the need.
It is a well-known fact that children prefer a well-defined routine: this is especially important to get your child to sleep, when a routine that baby can recognise and repeat is fundamental, because it will make your child feel safe and secure helping him to relax.
The first and most important thing of all is to decide when bedtime is going to be and then respect this time as much as possible.
Baby's room should be cosy and why not, even furnished with objects that your child chooses, so that it is a place that your child recognises as his own, helping him along the path to autonomy; it may help to let your child sleep with his favourite toy or object (including a pacifier if he uses one), to comfort and reassure him when he is alone. But the most important thing of all is to repeat the same routine every night: dinner, playtime or spending time together, but avoiding games that are too dynamic or exciting, bath time, putting on pyjamas and going into the bedroom. You can then read a fairy tale to your child, talk to him and cuddle ... remember to be calm and gentle in order to create a relaxed and tension-free atmosphere: children known when their parents are nervous and may have trouble getting off to sleep.
It goes without saying that baby's diaper must be clean (if he wears one) and that baby's dinner should be nourishing and filling, to stop him waking up.
THE TOP SLEEP MISTAKES PARENTS MAKE: Letting your child watch TV, giving him sugary drinks, putting your child to bed right after dinner, getting your child off to sleep in your arms or putting him in your bed and then trying to move him, using a blanket that is too warm or not warm enough.
The keywords are stability, tranquillity and routine, day after day, everyday: try anything that may be relaxing in your routine until you find what works best for your child.
Growing and learning every day takes a lot of hard work! That is why a good night's sleep and well-planned naps are essential for a healthy child and healthy development.