Lauren Yelvington is a Certified Family Sleep Institute Pediatric Sleep Consultant and contributor of the new children's bedtime book, Can You Yawn Like a Fawn? Her insights on creating a bedtime routine for optimizing children's (and our own) restorative sleep are downright soothing. We're getting sleepy already.
The topic I felt most lost about was how to help my little girl develop healthy sleep habits. Those long nights of soothing and nursing my baby to sleep worked for the first couple of months but were extraordinarily tiring as she grew and lacked independent sleep skills. Intrigued by pediatric sleep, I studied to become a child sleep consultant. I needed to better understand my own child and felt motivated to help others who must also be struggling. I knew healthy sleep habits were within my reach—and they are within yours, too, mama! So, how do we build healthy sleep habits? Along with appropriate sleep schedules, a sleep environment conducive to sleep, and the absence of sleep associations, we must also build a sleep routine that will help our little ones drift off to sleep confidently and independently.
I read all of the pregnancy books when I was expecting my first child. I was fascinated by my pregnancy and with the tiny human I was growing inside of me. I learned all about her weekly developments and her approximate size (as creatively compared to fruits and vegetables).
What I did not do was read the books that taught practical things…you know, like how to care for my baby once she arrived.
Here are 4 simple strategies you can start today to implement a healthy sleep routine for your little one.
Set the stage early.About an hour before you expect to put your little one to bed, set the stage by dimming lights, turning off electronics, using quiet voices, and engaging in low key activities. These steps will serve as a signal to your little one that it is time to start relaxing for the evening. Bonus: A relaxing atmosphere before bedtime will increase baby's melatonin(a natural sleep hormone), which will give your tot that sweet sleepy feeling.