Sleep hygiene is setting up our routine prior to and during bed time for optimal sleep; it is very important to our overall sleep schedules. I have listed strategies to try in the hours leading up to bed time & how to create an optimal sleep environment to promote good sleep habits for your little one!
Here are some helpful tips to prepare your little one to wind down for the evening:
Linear movement (back and forth) is calming. Rough and tumble play is alerting. Try to stick with linear movement before bed time. Activities such as a rocking chair or slowly swinging are calming, linear movements that you can facilitate for your little one.
Reduce screen time before bed.
Deep pressure is calming, light touch is more alerting. Try deep squeezes or a massage with lotion!
Sensory play can be a good option in the hours leading up to bed time, but it truly depends on how your little one reacts to sensory input. The best way to know if an activity is calming or alerting is to pay attention to your little one’s behavior during and AFTER the sensory experience. If they are calm afterwards, you will know it is a good activity as you are winding down for the night. Some activities like a sensory bin or even bath time may be calming for your kiddo.
Next, let's discuss sleep environment:
Make sure your little one’s room is dark. No electronics or blue lights from a cable box or clock should be on. Unplug the electronics or place duct tape over the light to block it out. Room darkening shades can also be helpful!
White noise. There are free apps for white noise, or you can purchase a sound machine. This is great for light sleepers or kiddos that wake up during the night.
Sensory sheets. They are a good option for kiddos 3+ years. The sheets go around the mattress and your little one can go under the top part of the sheet so they are in between the sheet and the mattress. They offer compression throughout the night. If your kiddo enjoyed being swaddled as an infant or they currently like to wear tight clothing, this is a good option.
Weighted blanket. The rule of thumb is that the weight is no more than 10% of your child’s body weight. (If your child weighs 20 pounds, the weighted equipment should equate to 2 pounds.) Start by wearing during play time, then at night while reading books in bed. This can stay on for approximately 20 minutes during their bed time routine. Children should not sleep with weighted equipment & always be supervised.
Reach out for a free consultation if you would like to work with me!