Every parent wants and absolutely loves seeing an active, bubbly and a lively baby. But it should be understood that rest and sleep are equally important as much as good nutrition, exercising, being active and playful. Sleep is a natural and integral part of the daily routine of the human body. It is necessary to get sound and quality sleep for every individual irrespective of the age group. Having normal and regular sleeping pattern not only helps in ensuring a healthy body and mind but also affects the mood of an individual from being happy and cheerful or being sullen and grumpy.
Toddlers are bubbling with energy, continuously engaging themselves both physically and mentally in activities not knowing when to stop and rest. They keep continuing until they become so tired and cranky that they are themselves finally forced to give up. Parents must ensure that their precious little one’s balance physical activity with rest by getting adequate sleep as it helps in improving body immunity and fitness, proper growth and development and controlling temper and emotions.
Unfortunately, like adults who may be either insomniacs or people having sound and adequate sleep even kids have good or poor sleeping habits. To make things more difficult, environmental factors also influence sleep. For example, while the parent might be able to sleep well in a different room from the toddler the same might not hold true vice-versa because the little one might feel more comfortable and secure cuddled to the mother.
Like many other habits, even proper sleeping habits can be taught to your child with a little patience, perseverance and innovation. Initially one may have a hard time putting the kids to sleep without your being with them but eventually with repetition and positive reinforcements the child does get into the habit of sleeping alone and staying asleep throughout the night. Here are a few tricks you may try out:
- Start the wind-down process around 7:30pm. Toddlers who have been running around & playing actively can’t just feel drowsy & finally hit the sack when you decide it’s time to sleep. The last two hours or more before bedtime should be calm & quiet.
- Add 15 minutes for bedtime storytelling & prayers.
- It’s been noted that music soothes the ‘savage’ beast-it works equally well on the ‘tiny’ variety. Soft music in fact, calms & can help most babies go to sleep.
- Patting or stroking can help calm & soothe a baby to sleep. It induces sleep. Remove hands gradually, one at a time. You can also try pressing the little one’s tired limbs to help him relax.
- Don’t give up naps too early. Although every child has individual sleep needs, most kids are not ready to give up naps until age 3. Going nap less before that just makes them cranky and adrenalized, making bedtime much more challenging.
- Say goodnight to everyone the child loves. Make the list really long (you can include his nursery school teacher & other kids in his class) & try shutting your eyes as well & whispering throughout this ritual.
- Try & set up a comfortable cozy bed. All kids go through sleep cycles in which they wake up slightly & go back to sleep again. You must try that any kind of discomfort doesn’t wake up your child during those periods of slight waking. Use a night lamp so that the child is not scared of darkness in the middle of the night.
The beginning of health is sleep. It is said ‘early to bed & early to rise, makes a man or in this case a child- healthy, wealthy & wise. Sleep is better than medicine.