If you are reading this, chances are you are sleep deprived and your child is keeping you awake at night. Here are some common mistakes parents often make about their child’s sleeping.
1. Believing that their baby will simply outgrow their bad sleep habits
This is a common mistake that many parents make and they keep thinking that whatever helpless situations they are in, their babies will simply outgrow them as they grow older. Months after months, and even after their baby became a toddler, that ideal situation never became a reality. Sleep deprivation continue to become the only thing that hold true to their lives. Sleep like anything is a skill that has to be taught to your child and only he or she can learn that skill. As parents you can create the supporting environment for your child but ultimately your baby has to be the one who learn the skill. Falling asleep and staying asleep are skills that everyone of us learn. We are simply not born to know how to do it just like swimming, cycling or even running.
2. Putting their child to bed too late
This is a mistake that I find quite prevalent especially in this part of the world. Parents quite often expect their little ones to stay up late with them either due to work schedule, dinner arrangements or even movie screening. Once I was at a cinema and I saw parents brought their toddlers together watching a late night movie! As adults we need 8 hours of sleep to function well throughout the day and our children definitely need a lot more than us to be alert and focus. Children who stay up late past their bedtime will often be overtired and gets cranky or hyperactive and they become harder to settle.
3. Parents are often inconsistent in how they put their child to sleep
My clients often tell me they don’t know why their babies are not sleeping well. I always tell them because they have been inconsistent with the ways they put their child to sleep. Some days your babies are rocked to sleep, some days they are brought to your bed out of desperation. Your child becomes confused and finds it even more difficult to fall asleep. Find a consistent manner that works for you and your baby and stick with it. Your child thrives on structure and routine.
4. Overstimulation before bedtime
This is a mistake even I have made in the past! I just couldn’t resist buying those cute and fascinating mobile that project lovely soothing music and lights which I thought would put my baby to dreamland. Soon I realized my baby wasn’t falling asleep with the mobile, in fact the opposite was true, there were so many bright colours, it only kept my child alert and awake instead of telling him it’s bedtime. For older kids, please do not let him watch tv or play gadgets before bedtime as this has the same implication of over stimulating the child and making it harder for your child to fall asleep.
5. Expecting quick results when changing a habit that you have created with your child for months or years
No one likes changes at first, but with determination, consistency and commitment, you will see results eventually. You can’t expect changes to happen overnight, changes take time and your patience will most certainly be rewarded with the best gift you can ever give to your child, the gift of self settling.
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