As a new parent sleep deprivation is one of the hardest parts. Luckily we have some expert help on hand. We spoke to Niamh O’Reilly of the Nursery who has years of experience helping families all over Ireland to overcome sleep hurdles.
The good news is new habits can be in place often within a week and are appropriate for infants from around 6/7 months+, but these techniques can be applied to older toddlers and young children.
Niamh’s Top Tips for helping develop good sleeping habits are:
Always put babies down awake
Ensure good last feed of the day
Don’t be alarmed if baby is cranky when you put them down
Use a soother at the beginning of sleep
Maximise the difference between day and night (use lights and curtains to your advantage)
Help baby to develop their own internal body clock
Develop a regular bedtime routine
Ensure the bed’s bedroom is quiet and peaceful
Check the temperature of the bedroom to ensure it’s not too hot (check the tog of baby sleeping bags if using one)
Baby sleep music can help
Do you have any tips on how to get kids back into a normal sleep routine after the school holidays?
For our school-going children, the transition from lazy mornings to the inevitable gallop out the door, can be quite an ordeal! The morning-time trials will not simply be due to the issue of their unwillingness to admit that holidays are over, but also because their body clocks may be out of whack!
What to do!
A little like clock changes, make small adjustments in advance.
Start by waking them a little earlier each day (even just by 15 minutes) for a number of days leading up to the first day back. Also, ensure earlier bedtimes. For older kids, even the process of going up to bed, perhaps to read, will encourage them back into a normal pattern to face into the last few weeks of the school year.
Turn down the lights or pull the curtains in the late evening. Dimly lit rooms can help to stimulate the production of melatonin which is a hormone that encourages us to get drowsy
Keep tablets and games out of the bedrooms once school is back on and keep an eye on sugar intake, particularly in the afternoon.
At the end of the day, we can but try. Chances are they are going to be a bit grumpy going back to school– but if we can get their sleeping habits back in order in advance, it’ll simply not feel so bad!
On the plus side, parents up and down the country will get most of their evenings back to themselves as kids will (hopefully) be going to bed earlier!
If you would like to contact Niamh you can do so at The Nursery. For those looking to connect with local childminders and babysitters, you can find great carers at SureSitter.