sleeping

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Sleep, for most of us, frames the day. A baby or child who is sleeping in a predictable pattern can almost always make a family happier and more relaxed. I believe the sleep research that says most children need similar amounts of sleep at certain ages, and I believe that you can help your child get that much sleep.

Always put a positive spin on sleep—we know how much we like it, and our kids can like it too. Your body seems ready to sleep—how wonderful! Make your bedtime routine simple and easy—if you get into something elaborate, and your know your child is tired, you want a routine that’s easy to go through—bath, teeth, snuggles and massage, kisses, bed. Maybe you can the same song each night (but try to make it one that someone else can sing too—at the start it may seem like you’ll never want anyone else to put your child to bed but eventually, you probably will). That doesn’t mean that your bedtime routine doesn’t ever change, but in general, routines are comforting.

I don’t think crying before sleep is a necessary component, but I would choose some crying if within a few days your child’s sleep needs to go from fragmented to good solid sleep.

We know how much we love sleep, and we can help children appreciate it.

Rephrase things that people say that paint a negative picture of sleep and going to bed—people say things that are so unhelpful, like, “Oh, I guess you’re going to have to go to bed,” or, “Well, we can’t do that tonight, your mother said you have to go to bed,” can become: “It’s true, William’s body is ready for sleep now!” and “Where can we put that puzzle so we can do it tomorrow? Now it’s our sleep time.”

Avoid glorifying things that will work against you: “staying up late”, going to bed at a specific time, etc. While this might be cute on special occasions, the other 350 days a year you want bedtime to run smoothly. When someone says, “You were so lucky to stay up late!” you can follow with, “The party was fun, we were sure tired that next day though!”

Try not to be fixed on the clock when your child is old enough to understand those numbers—going to bed later than the usual time might not happen much, but going to bed a bit earlier will—a hard day, or a day when your child has woken up early or not taken as good a nap may want to go to bed earlier.

Again, there are people out there—relatives, friends, who (and sometimes without realizing it) try to ruin it for you. “When does she go to bed?” they cry out, or, “Oh my God, that’s so early!” It’s that weird Catch-22 where people want to think the way they did it was okay with their own children, so if you are doing something so different something must be wrong with you because if not, something was wrong with them.

Keep sleep a positive wonderful way to end the day and get ready for the next. When your child is napping keep that nap as sacred as possible—a well-rested child sleeps better at night.

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Always put a positive spin on sleep—we know how much we like it, and our kids can like it too! Good sleep can also promote better behavior.

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Be thoughtful about sleep, mattress, co-sleeper and crib choices. Make sure you have window treatments that allow you to be in control of the light in the room.

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How can you help your newborn sleep? Need help getting your baby or toddler to nap? What should you be expecting? What can you do if your baby isn’t sleeping well?

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Spring ahead one hour smoothly! Time changes can be managed and provide opportunities for fun moments in families.

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