“There was never a child so lovely but his mother was glad to get him to sleep”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

In last month’s issue of Active Kids we examined the first five important tools parents should implement when helping their baby or toddler improve the quality and duration of sleep.  This month we will explore the other five critical elements.  When assessing your child, consider the following questions:

Am I putting my baby down drowsy, but awake?

By three months, help your baby begin to go down drowsy but awake. Becoming aware of the sensation of ‘falling asleep’ helps baby get himself back to sleep when waking in the middle of a nap or at night.

Does my baby have self-soothing skills?

Does your baby have a ‘lovey’?  Is it incorporated into her sleep routine?  Most babies will bond with an object if used consistently.  When holding or feeding your baby, keep the object between you and she so that she begins to feel a comfort connection.  When going to sleep she’ll have a ‘part of you’ next to her.  Consult your pediatrician and ask at what age it’s appropriate for baby to sleep with a lovey.

Are there environmental impediments in your baby’s nursery?           

Is baby’s room dark enough?  Is the temperature safe and comfortable? Is there stimulating decor?  An ideal room environment can aid restful sleep.

Do I have a regular nap and night routine for my baby?

Babies thrive on routine, so make sure to deliver consistent nap and night

routines to your baby in her nursery to ‘tell’ her it’s time for sleep.  Make sure the elements promote relaxation, avoiding ones that will stimulate your child.

Is my baby’s sleep a priority?

Parents who experience the greatest success with improving their baby’s sleep are the ones who consistently make sleep a priority.

Babies require proper nourishment and adequate daytime sleep to ensure they go down come nightfall.  By implementing the suggestions from last month and those above, you and your baby will be well on the way to a good night’s rest. It may be a challenge you never anticipated, but when done right, a good night’s sleep is but a few winks away.

Karen Pollak is the founder of babies2sleep, a baby sleep coaching service.   Please visit her website at www.babies2sleep.com for more information or to learn about her upcoming speaking engagements in your community and throughout the country.