Guest writer: Sophie Acott, Sleep Consultant, Sleep Play Love
Some examples include;
- Massage. Deep pressure massage calms the nervous system and is especially beneficial for overstimulated infants or overtired babies and toddlers.
- Swaddle and/or sleeping bag.
- White noise.
- Draw blinds.
- Read a book/sing a song.
- Cuddle/kiss goodnight
- A comforter may be used – however, they may become ‘negative’ sleep associations – i.e. they often develop sleep need or control pattern if over-used or encouraged outside of sleep times. Replace the need for a ‘comforter’ by offering your child the comfort of connection.
- Although white noise is considered a ‘positive’ sleep association, you may remove this from your child’s routine at any time by simply by reducing the volume slightly over three to seven days.
- Sleep associations such as rocking, feeding or holding to sleep, the car, carrier, swing, stroller, and the pacifier often develop into unsustainable sleep needs or control patterns and impact on a child’s ability to self-settle, fall asleep and remain asleep without repetitive parental intervention. Therefore, these actions – or objects – are best avoided at least 20 to 30 minutes prior to sleep times.
- Children don’t necessarily have to have a bath every day – in fact, scheduling bath time every second or third day may be beneficial for their gut health and overall immunity. For some children, bath time is a calming experience that helps them relax before bed. For others, it can be over-stimulating which has an adverse result. In such instance, I would recommend scheduling bath times before meal times, and not immediately preceding bedtime.