© Sister Lilian 2015
One of the most important questions a parent needs to ask when worried or upset about any change to a baby or child’s routine, is “what changed when the problem started”, because that often helps one know the cause and also find the cure, or at least how to improve matters.
Sleep issues are THE most common query parents approach me with and before we touch on anything else it is important to state that sleep training is almost always a harmful technique, that many little ones simply don’t need as much sleep as their parents have been led to believe and that finding practical ways of all getting sufficient rest, even if not in one long stretch, is what is called for. No matter the cause of unexpected sleep patterns, sleep resistance or restless sleep, babies and small children will respond positively to the seven general Sister Lilian sleep strategies found in these tips:
1. Acknowledge that there are a host of factors like teething, an immunisation shot, a dry, sore throat, a dream, supper lying heavy in the tummy or pins and needles that can potentially disturb a baby and small child’s sleep. Babies, like adults, react very well to feeling understood and there is mostly a positive spin off on quality of sleep.
2. Avoid putting babies, toddlers and small children to sleep in front of the TV – this is an amazingly simple technique for sorting out nightmares and restless sleep.
3. Do not count the times little ones wake at night. Do not look to see what the time is when baby or toddler wakes and do not check for how long they stay awake. Pretend it simply does not matter. And do not give a blow-by-blow account of your night to your friends or the grandparents!
4. Massage babies and small children daily prior to bedtime. This can be before or after a bath but must definitely not be before boisterous play, which will negate the soothing, relaxing effect of all-over body massage.
5. Invest in your own ability to relax as this will help your baby or toddler relax too and have far more peaceful sleep.
6. Do not strive for absolute silence when babies (no matter the age) sleep. Normal background sounds can be very relaxing and reassuring, allowing the subconscious to cast off at least one potential concern!
7. Plan ahead for wakeful nights by having everything at hand that you might need – nappies, bottles, formula, remedies, etc. Keep the lights low and conversation to a minimum, do what you have to right there in bed so that you do not have to wake totally and simply cuddle down together to continue sleep.