Often, we may feel as though babies and young children should be able to sleep anywhere, under any circumstances. Whilst it is true that during a baby’s newborn days most can sleep anywhere and have no problem falling asleep in most conditions, as babies get older it becomes more difficult for them to fall asleep and stay asleep without being in their preferred sleep environment.
A few ways in which to help a little one calm and settle more easily is to create a little nap routine. This helps signal that it’s nearly time to sleep and also lets children know what’s coming next.
A short nap time routine is a sequence of events which happens at around the same time, in the same order each day. This acts as a great sleep association and can work for any age. It can include a feed (or lunch for older children), a nappy change (or loo stop for older children), darkening the room and playing a soft piece of music or a soothing lullaby, so that when the little ones hear this piece of music they know straightaway that it’s nap time.
Another great tool for helping little ones fall asleep and stay asleep for longer in a noisy environment is to play white noise, which acts as a sound barrier, helping to keep both outside noise out and muffle noise which other little ones may make from within the room. White noise helps to create a ‘sleep bubble’ in which little ones are more likely to sleep for longer.
Dummies and comforters are also two really great ways in which to help little ones calm and relax at nap times. Dummies (for those who use them) and comforters act as a great source of comfort and reassurance as well as acting as brilliant sleep associations.
By providing little ones with favourable conditions, such as aiming to keep the room cooler rather than warmer, darker rather than lighter and by providing them with comfort and reassurance, they are more likely to settle down to sleep relaxed, happy and fall asleep more easily.
About the author
Tracy Newberry, a baby sleep coach and sleep consultant, is the founder of Happy Baby and Me. She teaches sleep in a gentle reassuring way; never using any of the ‘cry it out methods’. Tracy was passionate about working with children from an early age and began working as a nanny in London when she was 18. A year and a half later, she returned to her home country of South Africa, where she nannied and worked as a nursery school teacher.
Arriving back in London in 2009, Tracy continues to work with families, growing her experience and childcare knowledge. As her passion for teaching sleep grew, she set up her own business Happy Baby and Me. Tracy now helps many babies and young children learn the wonderful skill of falling asleep in a gentle, caring way.
Find out more from Tracy’s website