Your best tips for getting baby to sleep at night
Every mom has been there at some point: your baby just won't sleep at night time. During the day, no problem! But baby turns into a night owl and you don't know what to do. So, moms who've been there, what are your best ideas for helping to encourage your baby to be a little less nocturnal?
Routine, routine, routine!!!
!) Have them up at a decent hour, same time every morning;
2) Babies and toddlers should have a curriculum for several sessions 15 minutes at a time;
3) Let them run!!! This will get them ready to nap. They will collapse when you lay them down;
4) Keep their naps within 1.5 hours, same time every day and wake them if you must;
3) Keep their bedtime at the same time every night and develop a "countdown".
My "countdown" routine:
This routine is extremely important at night time. I call it countdown, because that's exactly what it is! It begins at 6:00 p.m and ends at 7:30 p.m. They have had they're dinner, and no more fluids except a small amount of water if they're really thirsty. When you see this time as "countdown" you tend to have more endurance to handle your children with patience. During this time, I make a point of having a conversation about their day. Each child (I have four) gets 5 minutes each no matter how long or short their answers may be. Watch the clock because it's very easy to rush through this part. This encourages the not-so-wordy child to give more details, as well as the extremely detailed child (we all have one of those lol) to take turns. They have to share one good thing that happened today, and one bad thing. We praise the good thing and make a discussion about what could have happened different about the bad thing. It's good for children to understand that adults make mistakes too and teach them how to forgive and move forward. We discuss our schedule for tomorrow and each child (Mommy's Helper for the day) gets a turn on different nights to pick an event that they want to do during the "countdown". I must add that we make a point of eliminating the t.v. during this time, as it only distracts the kids from focusing. At 7:00 p.m. it's clean up time. All of them pitch in to restore neatness in the house and then it's story time (they take turns picking the book and all have to hear no matter how detailed or simple it is). Once the story/chapter is over, the kids give their input on what they would do or if it's a chapter book, what they think will happen next. This is so invaluable as it helps them to work together as a team (no arguing allowed and respecting opinions are the rules) as well as allow the younger children to hear the older ones express themselves and learn from them. Mommy's Helper puts the book away while the others get undressed for their bath. I make a point of no, absolutely NO, playing during bath time as this is how I wind them down, and keep low lighting (night lights are great and calming). Many parents play with their kids and want them to have fun during bath time, but we do the opposite, fun leading up to bath time. After the bath they go straight to bed and wait for all to be finished so that we can pray together. Last thing is the stereo plays a cd (classical is really good for brain development and relaxing and gives them an appreciation for different genres). At the end of the prayer we kiss them goodnight, say we love them and can't wait to see them in the morning. Any requests during bed time routine has to wait until tomorrow, no exceptions! I've found that kids figure out ways to manipulate you. Once they've found a strategy that works, they all follow and you become frustrated. Always end the day on a good note so that the children learn how to wake up happy and not groggy or mad.
So again, the best tip I can give for getting your baby to sleep at night is to have a routine that you stick to, and they can look forward to. Keep them involved with the decisions during the "countdown" so that they don't feel forced or obligated to participate, but rather a willing participant. And whatever you do, don't let your child manipulate any routine you establish. Tell them you will discuss it tomorrow and make sure you do it or they won't trust that statement. My children have never, ever fought my husband or I on this as we instilled this as babies. It's all they know, and they will certainly thank you in the end! :)
I agree that having a routine works. In the first 2 months, my daughter is sleeping on its usual time - sleeps at day and wakes up by night. But when she turned 3 mos, she started to sleep the whole night long so it's really a pleasant period for us. And when she turned 6 mos, that started bothering us again because she won't sleep at the usual time. At that time, we just stay in the living room after dinner waiting for her to be sleepy so we ended up feeling sleepy first before she does. Until then, we decided not to let her stay in the living room anymore after dinner. We made a routine that after dinner, we will be bathing or washing her up and then turn off the lights after. SO far it has worked and my baby can now sleep at about 7-8pm at night and stays that way until 6am the next day. :) She just turned 1 yr old by the way last month.
My doctor said to have a routine and no matter how much they cry don't go in and get them, they will get use to going to bed at bedtime. At first my daughter cried for a hour, but the time lessened and now she only cry's for maybe 2 minutes. This was hard, hearing her cry and doing nothing about it, but it honestly needed to be done.
My routine is changing her pj's, then I take her into her room, sit at her rocker and read her two books, then put her to bed.
I breast feed and then rock her to sleep in my arms. She, being just 7 months old, is a bit heavy for this.....but this is what she is used to....usually it does'nt take too long FORTUNATELY........
With our oldest she soon became a night owl (around 2 months) and we often couldn't get her to sleep til after 10 or even midnight. Then we realized we were trying to put her to bed just when mommy and daddy were finally focusing all of our attention on her (trying to get her to go to sleep). We realized that we needed to focus on our time with her just after dinner. We played and interacted, talked, made faces, and generally wore her out before 7:30 and then we started the bedtime routine. It's best to get your kids fed up with all of your attention before putting them down or else they are still trying to get it long after you attempt putting them to bed. After the kids are down is when you can finally relax at the end of the day and spend quality time with your spouse.
Keep them up as much as possible during the day with bussling activities between naps. No chemical stimulants such as sweets etc, no environmental stimulants such as loud noises or bright lights about 2 hours before bed. If necessary, use calming music, smells like lavendar, speak slowly.. etc. If baby insists on you staying in the room, stay, but turn your back and don't make eye contact. Don't engage with them.
My 3 havent ever really had a problem with this. They each have had maybe a night or two where they just dont want to sleep at night, but I just toughed out one REALLY hard day with each of them by keeping them awake as much as I could during the day. Yes the crying and whining and wanting to be held all day drove me crazy, but that night they were ready for bed and even had an early bedtime.