Are you losing sleep to your babies and toddlers? Here are five fun and insightful sleep tips you may not have heard about, based on 'The Sleep Nanny System' by Lucy Shrimpton.
1. Spritz the room with 'good dreams spray' or 'monster spray'
'Spraying your child’s room with ‘good dreams’ will make them feel comforted and even excited about going to sleep'. 'Monster Spray' can be fun too, if your child's up for it!
How to make your very own ‘good dreams' or 'monster spray'
2 cups of water
10 drops of Lavender oil
Large spray bottle
You can get more creative with decorating the bottle for a more fun or magical effect. And if your little one wakes at night, if age appropriate, leave a spray by their bedside.
2. Try the sandwich tuck-in
For children who like to get out of bed or find it hard to lay still and calm, focusing on the tucking-in process can help settle them for the night.
'Tell your child that you are making a pretend sandwich and that they are one of the fillings.'
'Then use gentle chopping, smoothing and sprinkling actions with your hands up and down their body in a massage motion to add more fillings to the sandwich.'
'Continue until your child is suitably focused and laying still before putting the covers on - or the 'bread on top'.
'It is a bit of a game but executed in a calm way it can really get a young child to focus on staying in bed.'
3. Give off a sleepy vibe
'When you settle your child into bed use subliminal messages to help them nod off. If you are reading a story use a soothing voice and speak slowly almost as though you are hypnotising your child.'
She also advises repeating some lines or phrases and yawning.
'When your child sees you yawn, this will make them yawn too - and set off some sleepy triggers,' she advised.
4. Instil sleep manners
Rewarding with stickers and charts during the day is one thing but Lucy advises teaching and rewarding specific sleep manners in the night too.
'Laying in bed quietly at bedtime or not waking mummy or daddy in the night can be taught as manners - just as saying "please" and "thank you" during the day,' she suggested.
She recommends having sleep manners to review every morning with a sticker for achieving each one. If all the stickers are won that morning or for the whole week, a little prize is earned.'
'This requires lots of positive language and praise but allows your child to feel disappointment when they don’t get all the stickers and will drive them on to try again the next night.'
5. Don't let them get too tired
It might seem instinctive to keep your children awake longer so they drop off more easily when it's time for bed but Lucy says the opposite is in fact true.
'Getting your child to bed too late is likely to cause them to have a much harder time setting to sleep,' she said.
'When we miss our optimal sleep window our brains release the hormone Cortisol to wake us up and we get what is known as a second wind.'
So get little ones down at a consistent time every night. 'Most babies and children up to age six do well with a bedtime somewhere between 6-8pm,' she added.
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