By: Jenn Kelner
4 Tips to Make Your Child’s Sleep Environment Conducive to Sleep
Maybe you’re expecting a new baby and have just started to think about decorating the nursery. Or maybe your toddler is ready to graduate to a big kid’s bed and you’re updating the room décor to make it more “grown-up”. Or maybe you’re just in the mood for a DIY project on your child’s room. Before you rush out and buy all the latest accessories, keep these 4 simple tips in mind when creating the perfect sleep environment for your child.
1. Safety First!
It’s always important to make sure that your child’s sleep environment is safe. Make sure the bed or crib is in good condition and assembled properly. If your child is under the age of 1, avoid the use of bumper pads, blankets and pillows, as they can be a suffocation risk. Make sure the mattress fits the bed or crib properly and there are no gaps between the mattress and the rails. The mattress should be firm and the sheet should fit snugly.
2. Keep the Room as Dark as Possible
When I say dark, I mean can’t-see-your-hand-in-front-of-your-face dark. When the brain detects darkness it releases a hormone called melatonin, which is like our bodies natural sleeping pill. When the body produces melatonin, it helps to get your child nice and drowsy and ready for sleep. If you have an extra sensitive child, even the tiniest bit of light can upset melatonin production and make it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. Try to avoid the use of night lights, and eliminate any light shining underneath the door. Also invest in some room darkening shades to keep out that evening and early morning light so that your child can get the sleep they need. If your little rooster rises with the sun, these blackout curtains will really help them sleep a little longer.
3. Cooler is Better
Your child’s sleep environment should be a cool, comfortable temperature, around 20 degrees Celsius. To keep your child warm, sleep sacks are a great alternative to blankets for those babies under the age of 1. I love sleep sacks because not only are they safe, but they also help prevent children from climbing out of their cribs. Putting your child in their sleep sack can also become part of their bedtime routine, signalling to them that it’s time to sleep.
4. Remove all Toys
When your child is supposed to be sleeping, the last thing you want them to be doing is playing. Remove all distractions like mobiles, flashing lights, and musical toys from the crib so that they can concentrate on sleeping. If your child is under the age of 1, some toys may be a SIDS risk, so it’s best to keep toys in the toy box.
Jenn Kelner is a mother of 3 children (including twins!) and a Certified Child Sleep Consultant at BabyZzz. She helps tired families with infants, babies and toddlers become well rested families through customized sleep solutions and support. She offers various services including home, phone/Skype and email consultations. For more information visit www.babyzzz.ca