Establishing Good Sleep Habits in Children

Getting a toddler to sleep through the night can be a difficult challenge, and it’s one of the lessons that can have the most impact on your child’s physical and mental health. If you’re having a tough time getting your child to sleep or you’re wondering if you’re implementing the right guidelines, we put together some proper tips to help you and your child get through the challenge.

good child sleep habits1. Implement a routine

It’s hard for your child to stick to a certain bed time or sleep through the night if some nights they stay up late and some nights they play right up until bed time. It’s important to have a nightly routine that your child can get used to. For instance:

  • Make sure there is some “quiet time” leading up to bed time. Instead of watching TV, active play or playing video games, have a reading time or bath time
  • Have them start a quiet activity at the same time before bed each night. Instead of just planning a bed time, plan the activity before bed consistently as well.
  • Have them lay down some time before actually going to sleep; read to them or stay in their room and talk to them for a little while.

2. Make sure your child is comfortable

Even though you should be in control when setting the routine, you should still listen to your child’s needs. If they need a glass of water, night light, favorite stuffed animal or any other thing to make them comfortable, make sure that’s available. Still set boundaries and tell them it’s time to sleep after they are comfortable, but don’t ignore their needs. There’s a fine line between stalling bed time and helping them sleep.

3. Don’t let them sleep in your bed

You don’t want to start a trend that can easily turn into a new routine. It may be okay to have quiet time in your room (at your discretion), but when its time for bed let them know they have to sleep in their own bed. Otherwise, it will be increasingly difficult for them to sleep alone or sleep in their own bed in general. It will make getting them to go to sleep more difficult on yourself.

4. Wait when your child calls out

If your child calls out in the middle of the night, you don’t want to immediately go to them every time. It will give them a sense of control. However, you don’t want to completely ignore them either. If your child calls out to you in the night, wait a minute. Sometimes they will go to sleep on their own if it’s nothing serious. If they continue to call out then go over to them, address their need, don’t stay too long and tell them it’s time to go back to sleep. You can tell by their tone the severity of their need and how long you should wait.

If you have any questions about your child’s sleeping habits or proper routines, call The Pediatric Center at (908) 508-0400

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