(StatePoint) As many parents know, getting a little one to sleep through the night can be challenging and frustrating. The good news is there are steps you can take to help your child -- and the rest of the family for that matter -- get much needed sleep. Here’s what to know:
• When to start: There is no one-size-fits-all approach to sleep training and no wrong time to start. However, it’s easier to break habits that haven’t become ingrained, so starting around the 5-month mark is a good idea. By this age, you’ve likely identified your child’s patterns. This knowledge can help you create a routine that works.
• Sleep environment: Just like how most adults sleep best in a dark, quiet and cool room, so do babies and toddlers. Whether it’s nap time or nighttime, foster better shuteye by setting up the right sleep environment. Use blinds or curtains to keep out sunlight and avoid making excessive noise. For example, right after putting your child down may not be the best time to vacuum the entire house. Instead, use this time to complete paperwork, practice self-care and do other quiet activities that won’t disrupt your child’s sleep.
• Consistency: Consistency is key. Set nap times and bedtimes that work for your family and then honor that schedule.
• Turning to tech: If you’re struggling to sleep train your toddler, new technology is here to help. The new VTech Sleep Training Soother is inspired by WeeSleep experts and combines light, sounds and tips to encourage healthy sleep habits. You can craft the ideal sleep environment using its colorful nightlight, glow-on-the-ceiling projector, temperature gauge and powerful Bluetooth Speaker, from which you can play over 200 pre-programmed stories, classical music, lullabies and natural sounds, or stream your favorite smartphone music service. You can also record and upload your own voice, songs, or stories using the subscription-free app. And because it has a rechargeable battery, you can even use the device when power isn’t available.
“People of all ages thrive when they have a consistent routine and healthy restful sleep,” says Janey Reilly, CEO and founder of WeeSleep, a global sleep consultant service. “We are providing tools within the soother app to help parents create a sound sleep environment and to manage proper sleep schedules and habits.”
The sleep trainer also includes a free 15-minute phone consultation with a WeeSleep coach, which you can use to gain insights and tips for tackling the unique challenges you’re facing.
• Expectations: Having realistic expectations about sleep training can help you avoid letting the process itself create additional fatigue or stress. If sleep time isn’t a breeze like you hoped, be compassionate with yourself and remind yourself that when it comes to dealing with sleep issues, you are not alone.
Sufficient sleep can help families stay happy and healthy. Using new tech, along with tried-and-true methods and strategies that work for children, you can sleep train your child effectively and positively so that everyone in your household gets the rest they deserve.