*Overstimulating sleep environment - having mobiles, light machines and entertaining toys in your child's crib/bed are not conducive to sleep. Your child will sleep best in a cool, quiet, and dark environment.
*Not having a bedtime routine - children benefit from having a predictable, soothing bedtime ritual that helps cue their bodies that it is time to sleep.
*Not allowing your baby to try to self soothe - it is very natural to want to pick up and comfort your baby the minute he/she starts to cry, but if you do so every time he/she makes a peep you are depriving him/her the opportunity to work on self soothing. Instead of rushing right over, give your baby a few moments to try to self soothe. You can always pick your baby up should he/she not calm after a minute or two. But you never know, your little one may just drift back off to sleep all by him/herself.
*Only using motion sleep - holding and rocking your child is a wonderful thing. And certainly there is a time and a place for a stroller or car nap (especially for babies under 4 months). But, relying on motion sleep for every nap or to fall asleep every night can be problematic as 1) it can create challenging sleep habits 2) your child will sleep more soundly in his/her crib/bed. Instead, try to use rocking as a form of soothing vs. a way to put your child to sleep.
*Having multiple sleep environments - consistency is key when it comes to sleep habits. Whether your child sleeps in his/her crib, you safely co-sleep or you room share, it is best to have your child sleep in the same place every night. If your child is bouncing back and forth from crib to bed it can become confusing, which can then in turn disrupt your child's sleep. Instead of sending mixed messages, pick a safe and comfortable place for your child to sleep and stick with it.
*Engaging in bedtime battles - toddlers and school age children love to test boundaries, which can mean bedtime battles. If you engage in these power struggles, bedtime can become a lengthy and frustrating process for everyone. To avoid the battleground it's best to stick with a consistent bedtime routine, set & enforce clear bedtime rules, and try to anticipate your little one's needs (extra hug, water before bed, etc...) ahead of time.
If your family needs individualized pediatric sleep support, please do not hesitate to contact Rest Well Baby (www.restwellbaby.com) to learn more about our gentle sleep coaching services and to schedule a FREE 15 minute initial phone call anywhere in the United States. We are passionate about helping tired families get the sleep they need!
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Wishing you all a restful night's sleep! www.restwellbaby.com