Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Security blanket: Key to baby sleeping all night?

No a security blanket can aid a baby sleeping all night but it is not what will get your baby to sleep. There are several things that you need to help your baby develop good sleeping habits, consistency and routines. The most important thing you need is consistency. This is very important, being consistent allows a child to anticipate or know what is going to happen next. This reduces anxiety and stress and will increases the feeling of safety in the child.

So what do you need to keep consistent? Bed time and bed time routines. Do the same things at the same time in the same order every night. If you do that then the child knows what is coming next and knows what is expected from them. So you may have bath, toothbrush, bed clothing, story, sleep time. You may also want to see who is training whom. If your child wakes up a half hour after you put them to bed every night, and you pick them up and rock them for 10 minutes, guess what, it is part of their bedtime routine. It is just not part of the bedtime routine you made.

It is much harder to break bad bedtime routines then it is to establish good ones in the first place. That means every one involved has to be on the same page, all care givers. If you have a routine and some one is not fallowing it this can cause problems. Every one needs to know what the routine is and do it. It is work to establish the routine, and then remain consistent. As a new parent you will find you have to give up a lot of “your” time to get the routine working. You give up TV shows, couple time, and just about any thing you can think up. It is worth putting the time into establishing a routine and being consistent with it. It is much harder to have to break the bad bedtime habits so do the hard work now so you can have peace latter. Please note that as your child gets older the routine will need to have some changes but your and your child will work that out when the time comes.

The security blanket is just part of the routine. It also can make transitions easer. It is just a tool though, not the solution. Can they help yes, but only as long as you have a set routine and are consistent with it. There are a lot of things that can be added to a bedtime routine that can help your child go to sleep. Warm milk before brushing teeth, warm bath with lavender, soft music playing on the radio, a foot rub, or a nightlight can all help. Each child is different so you will have to find out what works with yours. Just do not expect a special toy or blanket to suddenly make bedtime easer or no longer stressful.

Here are a few tricks I learned;
1) Have the child or children turn the TV or video game off and keep it off during the bedtime routine.
2) Have the child clean up their toys and put them to bed (away), it makes it easer for them to stop playing and get ready for bed. It is a way to help with the transition.
3) Give a non-sugary snack just before toothbrush; this gets rid of the “I am hungry” at bedtime. If they still say that you can say – “No you are not, you just had a snack” and not feel guilty for putting your kid to bed hungry.
4) Have a cup of water with a lid on it already by the bed. Thirsty, fine have a drink.
5) Read a book with your child or children at bedtime, this will usually give them some Mom/Dad time and let them calm down for bed.
6) Have a little light or nightlight so they are not afraid of the dark.
7) Do a monster check with your child before they get into their bed.
8) Let them know were you will be, such as in the living room, so they are reassured that you will be around if they need you. It is a small thing, but it helps.
9) The hardest thing to do is to let them cry. As long as they are not hurt, or sick, or need to go to the bathroom, let them cry. Reassure them that you are in the home; don’t yell at them as that always makes it worse.

1 comment:

  1. I was surfing the net today and found your blog. Some good advice you give on bedtime rituals. We are still working on ours with our two year old. :)

    I have a site where I provide baby blanket gift ideas. I thought it might be mutually beneficial if we swapped blogroll links.

    Please take a look at my site and see if it's something you might be interested in. If you are at all interested please shoot me an email and let me know the text you want me to use in your link. I'll get it up right away and then send you the text for my link.

    Look forward to hearing from you.