Friday, 19 June 2015

The one about sleep

In those heady early weeks of having a baby, the prospect of sleep appears like a distant memory.  You could happily sleep stood upright, whilst in a roomful of people, simultaneously balancing a monkey on your head. But alas, hopefully, as the weeks to turn to years and your little one reaches toddler-hood, from 7pm until 7am you know you can catch up on your shut eye. What, yours doesn't do this? Erm, no.  Mine neither. 

It would seem everyone from the lady down the post office to the mum at baby group has an opinion on your child's sleep pattern.  And they are eager to give you their useful fool-proof tips, guaranteed to get your little one to sleep longer involving the weird and the wonderful.  From giving them a mud bath before bed, smothering them in lavender or singing twinkle, twinkle an exact 67 times, yep, that ought to do it. Hmmm. 

Here are a few more practical tips that I've gleaned from friends and family that I've found useful in helping my daughter to sleep that bit longer. And there's no mud bath involved.  

1. A good bedtime routine. 
Yes, I know you've heard this one before.  But, a good bedtime routine is absolute key in getting your child to sleep well.  Who wants to be running round the living room pretending to be a tiger one minute and then the next being told its time to go to bed and you must go straight to sleep? Exactly.  

We start our bedtime routine around 6pm with stories and quiet time.  Though I admit that sometimes if Daddy gets home late, this may be replaced by wild running around, but hey, nobody's perfect! We then have bath-time and another story and then tucked into bed around 7pm.  We do this every single night, unless say, we are out late, which rarely happens.  But because our daughter is so used to her routine, if it does gets pushed back or changed slightly, as is life, it's no big deal.  You may have your own routine or bed-times and that's fine. It's the consistency that's the key. 

2. A room that's not too light.
This may seem really obvious, but I never realised how light my daughter's bedroom got until the lighter mornings crept up on us.  And when the room is light, what toddler wouldn't think it's time to get up? We have black-out curtains which we found from Dunelm Mill and these are perfect for keeping the sunlight out. There is a subtle change in light so that my daughter does know the difference between the day and night.  If you have a VELUX window, then these black-out blinds from Itzala are just perfect and come in a lovely range of children's styles which are gorgeous for a child's bedroom. 

(To see this full nursery safari wall mural click here

3.  Not too hot and not too cold. 
Making sure the room is a perfect temperature is also a good idea. Something simple, but something that can be easily be overlooked. 

4. Outside noises. 
Children can wake up at the slightest noise early in the mornings.  Obviously you can't stop the milkman from doing his rounds, but maybe close the windows to reduce the noise. 

5.  And relax. 
From the moment a baby appears in the big wide world, everyone seems to have an opinion on their sleep pattern.  From sleeping too much, to having a child akin to an owl, you will probably have already heard it all from other people.  And we won't mention that lady from the baby group whose baby slept through the night from day one. Every child is different, and you really have to do what works for you.  If your child gets up at the crack of dawn and no matter what you try they won't sleep longer, then, take a deep breath and just go with it.  

Routines and children grow and change, and the more stress and emphasis we put on sleep, the worse the problem can get. You can't force a child to sleep, but only try and make little changes to help them and you get a good night's sleep, ready for the day ahead.   

Thanks for reading, and if you have any sleep tips or tricks, I would love to hear them in the comments below. 

VELUX kindly sponsored this post.  All content and opinions and entirely my own. 

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