About 30% to 40% of children have trouble falling asleep, according to the Cologne Infant Sleep Study. So sending little ones to dreamland can be exhausting and frustrating for both parents and infants. But don’t be upset! Although this problem is common, there are a few methods that can help your children fall asleep easily and have a restful night without waking up.
We at Bright Side love finding new functional parenting techniques, so we can’t help but share with our readers these evidence-based methods to help tired parents and kids sleep better.
1. Create a bedtime routine
Bathing at a certain time, singing quiet lullabies, allowing your child to choose a book before bed, or even choosing pajamas could signal that bedtime has arrived and make that an exciting event. You could also set the specific time the child should go to bed, which will eventually become a habit.
It is also important that this routine does not include active games at least an hour before bedtime, loud noises, surprises, or other things that distract from sleep, including electronic devices.
2. Skin-to-skin contact is important
According to some research, skin-to-skin contact is extremely important for children. On the other hand, studies suggest that children with a significant lack of physical contact with their parents have more cortisol, the stress hormone, in their body, which can cause many problems, including difficulty sleeping.
That is, if the child did not have enough contact during the day, it will not be surprising that at night he is in a bad mood and does not want to sleep alone. More hugs and kisses throughout the day will make it easier to say goodbye to bedtime.
3. Switch to dim lighting
Bright light sends a clear message to our brain: stay awake. But scientists have gotten more specific about what artificial light to avoid at night. The blue wavelength in white light is the most harmful to sleep, since it inhibits the release of melatonin, which relaxes us and makes us drowsy. This is also true for babies and young children.
Make the switch to dim lights closer to night. Combined with calm vocal tones and a lack of stress, this could make a big difference.
4. “Camping” little by little
This method involves a parent sitting in a chair or sleeping on a camp bed next to the child’s bed. During the day, the “camp” should move further and further as your child falls asleep. Scientists and sleep experts suggest that this is effective in both infants and young children. In the case of babies, a parent should sit close until the little one falls asleep. For about 3 weeks, the presence of adults should be gradually eliminated.
5. Use the “controlled crying” method
Parents can find this method by different names: check and comfort, Ferber / Ferberization method, or gradual extinction of crying.
The goal of this method is to help the child learn to fall asleep independently and to calm down. As the name implies, parents check and make sure their child is okay when they hear her crying, but gradually allow the child to calm down for a longer time (starting with 3 minutes and increasing the intervals).
Another technique intended to let babies learn to calm down without feeling abandoned. It’s a gentle approach, but it requires patience. As the name implies, it raises the baby until she is calm and sleepy, after which, lower her while she is still awake, but sleepy. The process should be repeated until the young child falls asleep.