When the usual lullaby or pre-bedtime snuggles don’t work, here are a few reliable tips for moms and dads when you want to quickly lull your child to sleep
Enforce a regular (early) bedtime
Having a bedtime that’s about the same very day (including weekends) can be very helpful to assist your baby to fall asleep quickly. That’s because the circadian rhythm and body clock work in favour of this. Falling asleep from the end of a bedtime routine in 15-20 minutes is a healthy range.
2. Create the ideal sleep environment
The bedroom environment should make them feel comfortable, safe, relaxed and sleepy.
Sound: You could use white noise or a lullaby in the background
Sight: You could have the bedroom completely dark using blackout curtains/blinds or opt for night light. Make sure to use a warm coloured night light and placed away from your baby’s sleeping place.
Smell: Use a lovey that has mummy’s scent or diffuse calming essential oils. Disclaimer: use it sparingly because babies are sensitive to the potency of essential oils
Temperature: Cool around 22-24 degrees
Mattress: Soft that cradles and supports their little body.
3. Give them some space and time before responding
If you’re a first time parent, it can be hard to resist the urge to rush quickly to their bed when they’re crying in their sleep. You want to quickly help them back to sleep while they are still feeling sleepy and not let it escalate.
However, it could also be beneficial for them to have this space for them to try and calm themselves back to sleep. All this may take only 2-3 minutes!
4. Put them down for naps at the appropriate wake window.
The most common reason for babies to fight naps is when they are put to bed too early (undertired) or when they’re already overtired.
Assisted naps are needed until they’re about 9 months old.
5. Bedtime play
There is a thing called the Forbidden Zone for sleep right before sleep. What happens is the biological sleep drive builds up so that we can go to bed. However, there’s another biological process – the circadian alerting system intensifies to keep us alert and awake.
The alerting system works hardest towards the end of the day and it presents in a child almost like a second wind – and this is called the forbidden sleep zone.
There’s no way your baby or toddler will calm and become sleepy during the forbidden sleep zone!
How to overcome this: check the timing of naps. The longest wake window tends to happen at the end of the day towards bedtime. Once you have identified the “sweet spot” of your baby’s wake window, and the variation of energy and activity – go with the energy!
Bedtime play can be rough and tumble, pillow fights, horsey back ride, hide and seek.
It helps to release energy and pent up tension, and it builds connection and cooperation. So that it’s eases and prepares your child for the separation at bedtime and it will communicate to your child that you are on their side.
This was discussed in our free community Rhythm Of Parenting facebook group.