How often in just the last few weeks alone have you struggled to get your toddler or baby to sleep but too no avail? Are you finding it a constant struggle everytime? Believe it or not millions families go through this every day and many simply accept this as the natural process of bringing up a child in this world. However, there is nothing more exhausting and frustrating than having interupted sleep day after day. Your child is not getting enough sleep and you’re not getting enough sleep and this can have a negative impact on your relationship with your child.
Of all the challenges that parents have to face in bringing up children, the most difficult has to be when a little toddler or baby wont sleep and so neither of you get any decent sleep.
The result is that you are also likely to feel constantly tired and perhaps even irritable, which can even compromise your effectiveness to function well as a parent. Your child will also feel grumpy from lack of sleep and will likely sense your irritability, which only exacerbates the situation.
This is an unhealthy and vicious circle that needs to be broken for the good of both you and your baby
Parents need only look at themselves to understand the importance of getting sufficient sleep in order to function effectively. For a baby or young toddler its even more important to get the right quality and the right amount of sleep as a child’s growth of development is exponential compared to adults. Children grow so quickly in their physical, cognitive, speech and language, and social and emotional development. When sleep is impaired and a child is constantly tired it is inconceivable that a child will develop as quickly as a child that does get sufficient sleep.
The most important stage in a child’s development is the period up to the age of three, as the brain matures and personality begins to develop. There are some experts that believe that a child’s experiences and their behaviour patterns developed during their infancy is vitally important in later life. In fact some experts go as far as to say that a child’s social disposition, intellectual bias and motivations established in infancy set lifelong patterns
While some experts would disagree with that assessment, I’m firmly in the school of thought that believes that because our understanding of the human brain and in particular our understanding of the unconscious mind is still very elementary, we cannot dismiss the impact of our experiences during pregnancy to infancy, when the mind is only just developing. The unconscious mind is a huge depository of information that we are automatically taking in every moment of the day without consciously being aware of it. The subconscious mind does influence our behaviour and mood. That is not disputed. Let me give you an example. When was the last time you felt broody yet you couldn’t quite put your finger on why you felt so? Our moods may swing up and day as frequently as the waves crashing onto the shoreline and yet we may not be able to explain why.
You will have noticed yourselve how amazingly quickly a baby or young toddler will learn and imitate what they see and hear as they grow to understand the world around them. Young children and babies are quick to pick up on things that are happening around them and they will tend to copy what they hear and see.
Studies have shown that toddlers and babies that aren’t getting sufficient sleep can suffer from mood and behavioural problems such as hyperactivity, exagerated mood swings, nightmares and sleep walking not to mention an inability to concentrate for long. To simply leave your child to cry themselves to sleep may be sending your child the wrong message. So how you respond to your baby or young toddler’s needs can be important to their proper development.
If you’re finding that your baby or toddler has sleeping problems or you want to know how to get a baby to sleep at night, then here are a few simple things you can start with today to start the process of alleviating this problem:
The first thing is to establish a bedtime or naptime routine, if you haven’t already done so, so that your baby understands and internalizes that there is a time for being awake and for being asleep.
A bedtime routine could be to bath your child, dim down the lights, read them a bedside story or perhaps sing them a lullaby. The key ideas is to get them to slow down and relax so that they find it easy to fall asleep. The routine has to be consistent if it is to work at all since children are quick to learn habits and before long their bodies will adjust to the routine of falling asleep at certain times of the day and which should help with a baby or toddler and sleeping problems.
The key is consistency so that it becomes habit forming and your little one begins to internalize that its time for sleep.
Getting your little toddler or baby to sleep in their cot or bed from a very early age is very important in establishing a habit with your child. Imagine for a moment that you slept on the sofa but when you woke up you found yourself in your own bed. Do you think you’ll be just a bit anxious about how you got their? Children and babies will cry at night if they wake up and find unfamilar surrounds. They must learn to be comfortable and secure in their own bed and in their own room.
Establishing a daily naptime routine is also important since how much sleep your child gets in the day is important for their health and wellbeing. A study has shown that even a 1 hour shortage of sleep can compromise a child’s alertness and brain functioning.