6 Tips to Help Your Child Sleep

December 23, 2021

This article was reviewed by our Baystate Health team to ensure medical accuracy.

Anthony H. Jackson, MD Anthony H. Jackson, MD View Profile
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a little girl fast asleep in a bed

Bedtime battles are something most parents experience with their children at some point. For parents or other caregivers, sleep issues can be a source of frustration, fatigue and stress.

Promote Better Sleep for Kids and Parents 

Pediatricians recommend creating a bedtime routine—engaging your child in the same activities in the same order every night before turning out the light.

Routines create less stressful environments for children.

A Nightly Bedtime Routine

In a study examining the impact of bedtime routines on infant and toddler sleep patterns, researchers recruited 405 infants (7-18 months old) and toddlers (18-36 months old), all of whom were identified by their mothers as having a sleep problem.

They introduced a nightly routine to some of the children in the second and third weeks of the study: a bath, a massage for infants or lotion for toddlers, and then soothing activities such as cuddling or a lullaby before turning out the light.

At the end of 3 weeks, the children who were given a bedtime routine fell asleep faster, woke up less often and for shorter periods, and were in better moods the next morning.

Children’s Sleep Problems Affect Parents, Too!

The study also found that a decrease in their children’s sleep problems improved the moods of mothers, as well. The mothers of toddlers felt less tension, anger, fatigue and confusion, and reported having more energy.

If you continue to struggle, talk to your pediatrician to make sure there's not an underlying issue causing the problem. Read the 6 tips below or download our infographic.

6 Tips to Help Your Child Get a Good Night's Sleep

1. Set a Schedule

Set a regular bedtime and wakeup schedule for your child, and stick to it. 

2. Create an Environment for Sleeping

Make your child's bedroom a quiet, dark, cool environment for sleeping. 

3. Establish a Relaxing Routine

Establish a relaxing bedtime routine. A warm bath before bed, singing or listening to soft music, warm milk or story time, all help a child relax and settle down. 

4. Avoid Sugar

Avoid giving your child sugary snacks or drinks at least six hours before bedtime. 

5. Avoid Scary Stories

Avoid scary stories or television shows and movies right  before bed. Even the evening news may be troubling to children before bed. 

6. Get Exercise

Make sure your child gets regular exercise. Avoid vigorous activities right before bed. 

 

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