There have been times in the past five years where I would have given anything for a good night’s sleep. Actually, make that several times!
If you’re a parent that dreads watching the sunset, because it foreshadows the sleep you won’t be getting tonight, lean a little closer to the screen.
Here are Kinderling Kids Radio’s Mothercraft nurse, Chris Minogue’s top 10 truths about baby and toddler sleep.
“Sleep is a learned art,” says Chris sagely. “It’s important for parents to know that from the very beginning.”
Read more about sleep:
- Speed sleeper? How to cope when your baby only catnaps
- Be kind, rewind: What the four-month sleep regression is really about
- How does a baby’s sleep cycle develop and change as they grow?
10 sleep truths from a Mothercraft nurse
- Consistency is everything when it comes to your baby’s sleep. Timing and routine are crucial to raising a ‘good’ sleeper.
- Sleep cues come a close second. That means helping your child learn what steps are taken in the lead-up to bedtime. A song, a book, being swaddled or sung to. Whatever your routine, make sure you stick to it.
- In baby’s first year, sleep patterns change regularly and often. A baby that sleeps through the night from an early age is an exception to the rule, says Chris.
- Very few infants go to bed and stay asleep for the entire night without waking.
- Remember: Babies don’t go on holiday, they just go to sleep in a new location. Sleep cues and routines need to be the same, wherever you go.
- The more sleep a child gets, the better that child will sleep. That’s why sorting out the day sleep for your infant or child often helps solve any lingering night sleep issues.
- Get timing right for toddler sleep success. Generally speaking, they cope best with being awake for approximately five and a half hours, before they’re ready for bed. For a 7pm bedtime, make sure the daytime nap finishes by 2pm.
- A child normally gives up their daytime nap between two and a half to three years of age.
- Moving a toddler into a big bed before they are ready will have a big impact on nighttime sleep, so don’t rush it.
- More often than not, early waking toddlers (4:30am-5am) need their daytime nap adjusted. Ensure the afternoon sleep is no later than 2pm to encourage better overall sleep.
A little truth-telling goes a long way when it comes to getting sleep sorted – and feeling a little less alone in the ‘sleep challenged’ department.