Let me start off by saying that every child is different. I know some kids love to take naps while other kiddos do not. Some kids go to bed super late and other kids go to bed super early. Every parenting style is different. Every kids’ sleep style is different.
Also, some kids will go through spurts where they sleep through the night and then all of a sudden they start waking up at all hours of the night. Some kids will sleep until 7:00 a.m. or 8:00 a.m. and then randomly start waking up at 6:00 a.m. And then, there’s the mighty daylight saving time which completely throws a wrench into the whole system. Am I right or am I right?
Trying to get kids to sleep through the night, take long naps (or even nap for that matter), and enjoy sleeping can be tricky.
Thankfully, our son who will be turning three in a month, has spoiled us. Warning: Mom Bragging Moment coming right up. Ever since he was four months old, he’s been sleeping through the night. He also is quite the napper and, as he approaches the age of three, he still enjoys taking one nap a day that lasts anywhere from 3-4 hours. I have to pinch myself.
After almost three years of living with a baby and now a toddler, we’re getting ready to jump back into establishing a good sleep routine with baby #2. So, I’m here to share some of my favorite tips that help create a good sleep environment for kids.
5 Ways to Create a Good Sleep Environment for Kids
As we all know, good sleep is important during early childhood development. Here are five tips to help make sure your kids get a good night’s sleep.
1.) Start a Routine
The one major thing that helped our son sleep through the night and take good naps was to create routines for both bedtime and naptime. That way, he knew that once the routine was over, it was time to go to sleep.
Our son’s bedtime routine has been the same for a few years now. My husband usually carries our son upstairs and he kisses him goodnight. Then, I change his diaper, put him in his jammies, brush his teeth, wash his hands and feet, read him one book, give him a goodnight hug and kiss, tuck him into bed, turn on his sound machine, close the curtains, tell him to “Have good dreams,” and then I close the door. Once that routine is done, he knows that it’s time for some shut eye.
As for his naptime routine, I carry him upstairs, change his diaper, put him in jammies, give him a hug and kiss, tuck him into bed, turn on his sound machine, close the curtains, tell him to “Have good dreams,” and then I close the door. Once that routine is done, he knows that it’s time for some shut eye.
As you can see, the routines are very similar. The only difference is the book before bedtime. He knows that when we sit on his couch in his room and read a book, it’s bedtime not naptime.
Like I said before, we’ve been doing these routines for years, basically ever since he was four months old. I think having a routine is major step in the right direction of creating a good sleep environment for kids.
2.) Set a Comfortable Temperature
Who likes to sleep in a super hot or super cold room? Be sure the temperature in the child’s room is comfortable. On our monitor, we have a temperature gauge that shows us the temperature in the room. If the temperature is too cold or too hot, the monitor will warn us so that we can adjust accordingly. Most researchers recommend sleeping in a room in the range of 65 – 72 degrees.
3.) Create a Nice, Safe Atmosphere
Try to make sure the child’s room is clutter-free and organized. A child might have a hard time trying to sleep if toys are strewn across the floor. Those toys will taunt the child into wanting to play with them.
Also, make sure the bed is clean and the sheets are comfy. From pillows to blankets to sheets, there are plenty of items that help make a bed more comfortable. Just make sure you are adding age-appropriate items into the crib/bed. Also, if the child is sleeping in a bed, a bedrail might be helpful, especially during the big boy/girl bed transition.
4.) Turn on White Noise
Whether you have a sound machine (I’m a huge fan of the Dohm) or a fan, white noise helps to drown out other noises that might keep your child awake when he or she should be sleeping. Newborns are used to loud noises thanks to all of the activity in the womb. So, a sound machine helps mimic the noises in the womb. Older children find noise machines to be soothing and comforting.
5.) Make Sure the Room is Dark
The darker the room, the better the sleep environment. In our son’s room, we have curtains and blinds. The setup helps keep his room dark so that he can fall asleep easier. If you don’t want to spend the money on black out curtains, simply tape black garbage bags over the window(s). Our neighbors did this technique for their kids and the bedrooms are pitch black all day long. Talk about genius!
What are your tips on creating a good sleep environment?
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