On February 20th, we met up at Cactus Club Park Royal with 14 moms & babies, and Jennifer Garden of Sleepdreams. A big thank you to Jennifer for a morning jam-packed with useful information (based on her own personal experience with twins and tons of research through her team’s work as occupational therapists), and for answering our questions about particular problems with each of our own baby’s sleep!
As part of the workshop, Jennifer covered the five areas we should think about as parents to promote good sleep habits for our babies & toddlers:
1. Environment: Use white noise where your child sleeps to drown out background noise (inexpensive solutions include a fan or a radio set to static), and ensure the rooms is set to the proper temperature (recommendation is between 16-19 degrees Celsius).
2. Schedule: Respect your child’s cues for sleepiness (e.g. rubbing ears/head, sucking thumb, yawning), set a regular bedtime and keep the time consistent between weekdays and weekends, and establish a consistent bedtime routine of approximately 1/2 to 1 hour with calm activities, with the last part of the routine in the child’s bedroom.
3. Physical Exercise: Age appropriate activities (tummy time, singing songs, reading books, walking, running, climbing, jumping, swimming, biking) develop excellent motor skills and assist children with better sleep at naptime and at night, and getting outside during daylight hours promotes better melatonin release at night for a better sleep.
4. Sensory Needs: Investigate how your child calms down (e.g. sucking thumb, rubbing head, etc.) and help them achieve these skills independently by allowing them to explore them alone in their cribs/bed, as these children are often better sleepers than the ones who’s parents assist by rocking, holding, feeding or bouncing them to sleep.
5. Parenting Style: Adlerian Psychology is parenting with firmness (firm, age appropriate boundaries) and kindness at the same time, following through with natural and logical consequences. This fosters confidence in children, leading to better sleep habits. The use of sleep stories & picture schedules can help toddlers better understand sleep.
For anyone who would like more information or a personalized consultation on infant or child sleep, we highly recommend you visit Jennifer’s website at www.sleepdreams.ca.
Best wishes for a good night sleep for you and your child tonight!
Thank you to our workshop sponsors: