It’s never too early to begin instilling good sleep habits in your child. While the sleep-wake cycle of a newborn infant is dictated largely by hunger and physical needs, sleep training should begin in infancy. Good sleep habits introduced and repeated when children are infants lay the foundation for bedtime routines during the toddler years. Teaching your baby to associate certain activities with sleep time trains his mind and body to respond to those sleep cues.
During their first year of life, babies progress rapidly from the hectic, energy-draining, 24-hour sleep cycle of newborns to the dependable two-nap schedule of toddlers. Parents can help their children develop healthy sleep habits by following a deliberate pattern of activity every time they lay their infant down to sleep.
- Bathe your infant in the evening after dinner. Baths are soothing and help children relax for sleep.
- Turn off the lights and darken the room when it’s time for your baby to sleep. Repetition will teach your child to associate sleep with a dark room.
- Spend a few minutes rocking and cuddling your child while you sing him a lullaby or talk softly to him.
- Tuck your child into bed and kiss him good night.
- As you leave the room, turn on the Nighty Night Bedtime Melodies CD.
Infants are more sensitive to patterns than they appear. Establishing bedtime routines during infancy sets the stage for good toddler sleep habits.