A really important part of sleeping for your baby, or your child, is ensuring that they have a calm and comfortable environment to sleep in. We want to ensure that, when you bring them into their bedroom, they understand that this is where sleep comes easily and naturally.
All the advice below will work really well for babies, toddlers, pre-schoolers; in fact most people of any age.
1. Keep it simple
One of the biggest mistakes parents make when it comes to their children’s bedroom is that they make it incredibly exciting and stimulating. It can be tempting to have tents, mobiles, stuffed animals and huge murals on the wall but, when it comes to bedrooms, less is more.
All these extra things can be stimulating, or at least distracting for children and the last thing you want at bedtime is an overstimulated child.
The most important thing is to declutter the cot or bed and at least get rid of the following:
- Mobiles over the cot
- Glow in the dark stars or exciting bedroom wall designs
- Extra blankets
- Stuffed toys (just have one special stuffed toy/lovely when you little one is over 6 months)
- Positioning devices
- Anything that will be stimulating and not encourage sleep.
Remember, the lullaby trust recommend nothing in your child’s cot for the first six months – bear this in mind as safety must come first.
2. Keep it dark
Contrary to what a lot of people believe, babies are not afraid of the dark. In fact most babies would much prefer a completely dark sleep environment. Fear of the dark is a learned fear and this isn’t something your little one is going to learn until they are well into the toddler years.
One of the biggest reasons babies wake up too early is because they are so sensitive to the slightest change light levels. This is not a great news for the summer and it’s also something to bear in mind during that time.
We are a huge fans of blackout blinds, together with blackout curtains but, if you can’t commit to a fitted blackout blind you can buy something like a ‘Groblind’ or you could even Sellotape black card over your child’s windows. This doesn’t look great, but it really works.
3. Keep it quiet (but not too quiet)
Although children’s rooms should be completely dark, they can be a little bit too quiet. It’s definitely easier for little ones to fall asleep when there’s not a lot of noise happening but you could get your little one used to a bit of background noise for example conversation etc, so they’ll be able to sleep that through what happens downstairs when they’re in bed.
If you have noisy neighbours, live on a busy road etc a white noise machine can work wonders. Make sure you don’t place the machine right beside your child and don’t set it on a high level but it can be a great way of blocking out outside noise
4. Keep it cool
Another mistakes parents can make when it comes to putting their little ones to bed is overdressing them. We want to ensure our little ones are cosy and comfortable, but we also need to ensure that they are safe.
The recommended temperature for a baby’s room is between 16 to 20°. In fact, a 0.5% change in temperature can really impact our sleep. A Growbag can work really well but be aware that 4am is generally when our bodies (and our houses) are the coolest so bear that in mind because we don’t want your little one waking because they have cold hands or extremities.
5. Keep it calm
About an hour before bedtime ensure that you start making everything incredibly calm. During the rest of the day it’s fine to have fun in your child’s room but the hour before they go to bed should be quiet and calm. You could use this time to have a quiet play and a ‘sleepy snack’ but we want to ensure that we set the tone for the night. By not engaging in active play the hour before bedtime your little one will understand that fun time is over and that, whilst you can, of course, have cuddles, singing, laughter and storytelling, this will be really calm.
Often tweaks to a child’s bedroom can really help them sleep but if you’re the parent of a baby or child who isn’t sleeping well, chances are there is a little bit more work that needs to be done.
As always, if you’re experiencing any problems with your little ones sleep, please do get in touch for a free 15 minute chat – We would love to help!