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Top tips to help your small children sleep easier

ParentingBy Denise Smith
Top tips to help your small children sleep easier

Do you remember your last lie-in, or recall a time when you didn't have a wide-awake toddler prising your eyelids open at 4am every morning?

Night feeds are to be expected, troublesome toddlers are the norm, but there's no preparation for the unique kind of torture that is sleep deprivation.

Getting your baby or toddler to sleep through the night is like winning the lotto - it's what every parent longs for but it never seems like an attainable goal.

If bedtime has become a nightly struggle, Mum&Me may just have the answer (or at least plenty of empathy and some helpful advice).

Newborns

For very new babies, getting them to sleep is the easy bit. Newborns will doze off in your arms, catch some Zs in their car seat or fall asleep just after feeding time.

With all that easy sleep comes the responsibility to establish a night-time routine. Provided they are six to eight weeks old, you're good to go with introducing a new sleep routine and, trust us, you'll high-five yourself later for having the foresight to do so.

Set aside an hour every evening to introduce your baby to a series of winding-down activities before they go to sleep. Soothing activities are key; dress your baby in soft, comfortable clothing, dim the lights and sing a lullaby while you nurse.

You may have that maternal urge to rock your baby to sleep but what happens when they wake up alone at 3am? On average, infants can wake up two to six times a night, which is why it's so important to put babies to bed when they are drowsy but not asleep.

This way, they are more likely to fall asleep quickly and eventually learn how to soothe themselves back to sleep.

Always be sure you place your baby on their back to sleep. This position keeps them safe while they slumber. Since overheating is a risk factor, don't dress your little one too warmly, and keep the room temperature at 18°C.

Toddlers

If you have a toddler, you'll know that they don't value sleep as much as the average adult. Maintaining a consistent bedtime is key - don't wait until your child is rubbing their eyes or yawning before you put them to bed as by then they're likely already over-tired.

When do their energy levels begin to sag? If they begin to wind down at 7pm, make that their bed time.

Thirty minutes to an hour before bedtime, start a calming ritual that may include a bath and reading a story or two.

Try letting your little one feel like they are part of the process by letting them choose which pyjamas they want to wear.

For children who have a fear of the dark or monsters under their bed, introduce a night light to calm their night terrors - these friendly looking Lidl night lights (below) are the perfect antidote.

As soon as your toddler transitions from a crib to a bed, you may find that you regularly start waking up with a child wedged between you and your part­ner.

Take a leaf out of Supernanny's book and tuck them back into their own bed every time they venture into your room - yes, it's tedious now but it certainly beats having a toddler lying on your head every morning for the next few years.

Big kids

For older children, the bedroom should be a place of relaxation and rest. Ban TVs and computer games to make the bed­room a technology-free zone.

It may cause arguments but it will contrib­ute to healthier sleep patterns. At this stage, it's less about not wanting to go to bed than the time they are forced to go to bed at.

Ditch the military procedure and allow some wiggle room of an extra half an hour where you can encourage your child to read. It will feel like a victory for them and mean one less tantrum for you.

The dinosaur wallpaper that was once a hit may now be outdated - as your child's tastes grow and evolve, reflect this in their bedroom.

Don't be afraid to allow your mini-me in on the design process; allowing children to use their own imagination when it comes to the decor is all part of the fun.

Their room should be an extension of their own personality (provided they don't want neon walls), which will ensure it's somewhere they will happily unwind and drift off to sleep.


Lidl has a gorgeous range of cute clothing & brilliant bedtime essentials for babies and kids to help ensure that bedtimes in your household are more about sweet dreams than a nightly nightmare!

Toddler character-reversible bedding

As well as that, they've also recently expanded their everyday baby & toddler range, offering a full selection of baby food, nappies & all the other essentials your tots need. See the full range in-store at your local Lidl.