Helping You and Your Little One Sleep a Little Better

Helping You and Your Little One Sleep a Little Better

Avoid these pitfalls to help you and your baby get a better night’s sleep.


By: Lyz Lenz

Getting up with Your Baby Too Soon
When my son finally started sleeping through the night, he started waking up early. Like between four and five in the morning. And I, like a fool, was getting up with him. A friend of mine suggested I just let him play in his crib until six. For a week, I let him wake up and play for an hour in his crib. As long as he was happy, I didn’t disturb him. The next week, he started sleeping longer and even falling back to sleep and waking up at six.

This technique also worked with my daughter. When we moved her to a toddler bed, she started waking up early in the morning. We got her a toddler alarm clock and told her not to get out of bed until the clock turned green at six in the morning. The process took a week, but she learned. Setting clear and consistent expectations for children helps them learn and helps everyone get better sleep.

Parents Aren’t on the Same Page
Routine is key to helping your baby rest, but if you and your partner aren’t on the same page, there will be trouble. My kids always go down easier for their dad because he is firm and kind about them staying in bed, and very consistent with the routine. So, I let him do bedtime. When I do bedtime, I stick to his routine. This makes it easier on all of us and wards off any of that whining for extra snacks and drinks and stories.

Actually, being on the same page as your partner for everything is just general good parenting advice.

Not Sticking to a Routine
When it comes to sleep, both babies and adults need routines. Even if that routine is as simple as pajamas, book and bed, establishing that routine early and sticking with it will help your baby learn to calm down for sleep. It’s helpful if this routine is one that both parents and daycare workers use. So coordinate your routines. Find out what works and stick to it.

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Also, parents who are desperate for their baby to sleep will often try to tire the baby out by playing wild with them or introducing new activities. This is fine, but just not right before bed. You want to give your baby a chance to wind down.

The Room Isn’t Dark Enough
My daughter has always been a poor napper. When she was little, I struggled getting her to nap in the summer until the babysitter pointed out that her room was too bright. The sun, which wasn’t as bright in the winter, was flooding her room with afternoon light. We bought new blackout curtains at Wal-Mart and found quick relief. Light can disrupt your child's sleep. Even if the light doesn’t wake your baby up, it might pull her out of a deeper sleep. A cool, dark room is the best place environment for anyone to sleep.

Staying in the Room until Your Baby Falls Asleep
When we switched my daughter to a toddler bed, we had a hard time getting her to sleep. So, I would sit in her room until she fell asleep. The problem was, when she would wake up in the night, she’d cry until I came into the room again. My dad always says, “Don’t start something you can’t finish.” Staying in the room until your baby sleeps creates a sleeping crutch that is hard to sustain.

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