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    Sleeping through the Night with The Sleep Nanny

    Sleeping through the Night with The Sleep Nanny

     

    Evenings are getting lighter now, which is great for most of us, but if you have young children then these extra daylight hours might be causing havoc with your routine.

    As a new parent to be, one thing I’d like to get right is good sleeping habits. Sleep for all of us is vital to managing our well-being and stress levels, so I asked Lucy Shrimpton, aka The Sleep Nanny how to get the babies and young children of Hampshire sleeping through the night.

    …….

    The Sleep Nanny

    Routine

    Try your best to get your baby into a consistent bedtime routine, helping them to understand the cues that will make them ready for sleep time. This could be bath time or a bedtime story. Do it at the same time and place each evening – consistency is key.

    Lighting

    Make sure you have blackout blinds to keep out the natural light for daytime naps or the lighter evenings in the sunnier months.

    Be consistent

    Keep your nap times consistent during the day. And sustain these naps until they are around three and a half or four years old. Little children with really alert temperaments will appear not to need (or want!) these naps but they actually need it more and for longer than their more laid back peers. Children over three and above who are sleeping a solid 12 hours a night probably won’t need a nap.

    Keep it quiet

    Avoid a baby’s cot being near a window as not only can this avoid draughts but they are less likely to be woken up by outdoor noise. If it can be noisy where you are, white noise simulators can help create a soothing atmosphere.

    Check the room temperature

    Try to keep the temperature of the nursery to around 18 to 20 degrees in heat, so not too warm or cold.

    Stimulation

    Do your best to avoid having distracting decorations up like mobiles, light shows or projectors whizzing above the cot which could stimulate the baby’s brain, just as you’re trying to relax them and get them to sleep.

    Keep bedtimes consistent

    If your toddler wakes up early, don’t be tempted to put them to bed later on. The number one reason why toddlers wake up early is over-tiredness so a period of early nights should sort them out.

    How to settle them

    Support your little one settling to sleep, rather than doing it for them. When we put our children to sleep through rocking, feeding, holding or laying with them we deprive them of the room to develop their own self-regulatory abilities which are essential life skills. That doesn’t mean you have to leave your little one to it – it’s not all or nothing.

    Instead, you can support them, work with them and pave the way for them to develop these skills. Helping them to settle to sleep is far more beneficial to your children than doing it all for them.

    Don’t panic!

    All little ones are different, learning and developing at different paces. Some will test your ability to persevere much more than others. Please don’t be down on yourself as this will make matters worse.

    Babies are always changing and just as you think you have them figured out they do something new. Some little ones are more easily malleable than others while some will throw a new challenge in your direction. Make yourself equipped for these changes; have confidence and don’t give up.

    Get extra support

    If you are really struggling to get your baby to sleep and sustain a regular sleep pattern then get help from a professional sleep nanny. There is really no need to suffer in silence and you are jeopardising your and your family’s health and wellbeing. And with online zoom calls, it’s easier than ever to get that help.

     

    And for older children…

    I’ve seen a lot of exhausted parents with children who now struggle to settle at bedtime, or wake multiple times in the night with no way of getting back to sleep, particularly during the pandemic.

     

    The Sleep Nanny

     

    Routine, Routine, Routine

    As for smaller children, my top piece of advice is to get into a consistent bedtime routine – the cue and rhythm of which will help them settle. A consistent bedtime for children up to the age of eight should be between 6pm and 8pm. Avoid overtiredness – it’s the root of all sleep problems.

    Be mindful of other influences

    Be aware of what your child is picking up and hearing – conversations you might have with other adults, on the phone, the TV or radio. When they pick up tensions or certain words it can cause anxiety.

    Talk about their worries

    Talk honestly and openly with your child if they want to discuss the changes going on in the world and let them share their worries with you. While you’ve not got the remedy to the problem, talking about their feelings will help allay some of their anxieties and bring you closer together.

    Consistency is Key

    Be utterly consistent – so if they wake up don’t let them crawl into your bed one night and not expect them to want to another.

    Screen Time

    Avoid screen time for at least an hour before bedtime. Screens can suppress melatonin levels and delay sleepiness.

    Pre-Bedtime snacks

    Similarly, make sure your children avoid sugar or caffeine that can cause a temporary surge of alertness that will hinder sleep.

    Lucy’s team of sleep consultants based across the UK and around the world help parents and caregivers of babies and young children to overcome the challenges with childhood sleep so that they can be healthy and happy and enjoy these precious years. You can find more information here, or follow The Sleep Nanny on Instagram