Help your child get to sleep
Believe it or not, by the age of 12 weeks an infant should be able to sleep through the night. No matter what your child’s age, see the tips below to help you both get a good night’s sleep.
How much sleep is enough for my child?
- For children who startle easily, try "white noise" such as a humidifier, fan or nature sounds. It should be loud enough to mask background noises but soft enough so you can hold a conversation.
- Put your baby to bed while still awake, this way if she wakes up in the night she won't be surprised to be in bed. Babies who learn to go to sleep on their own can comfort themselves when they awaken in the middle of the night.
- Whenever your child wakes up crying, quietly and quickly reassure him that everything is okay and that you are close by. Too much interaction can backfire, so keep your nighttime "visits" brief and boring.
- If your child is a restless sleeper and rolls all over the crib, slowly and firmly stroke down the baby's spine and limbs for a few minutes before bed to help your little one relax.
- Avoid highly active play for two hours before bed.
- If you haven't already, establish a regular bedtime schedule and routine that will be familiar and relaxing. Bathing, reading and singing can be soothing for both parents and child. Be consistent and your baby will soon associate these steps with sleeping.
- If your child is an early riser, make sure sunlight isn't the cause. Keep curtains or blinds closed.
“Remember that the quality of the sleep, not just the quantity, is very important. If you have concerns and your child does not seem rested in the morning, talk to your doctor,” advises Virtua Health occupational therapist, Julia Eggles.
For age-specific sleep information click below:
- Sleep and your newborn
- Sleep and your 1- to 3-month-old
- Sleep and your 4- to 7-month-old
- Sleep and your 8- to 12-month-old
- Sleep and your 1- to 2-year-old