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How to get a child to sleep: 10 tips from an expert

10 TIPS TO HELP YOUR CHILD SLEEP BETTER. Learn how a few simple changes can help your child sleep better at night. If bedtimes are a battle and broken sleep is a norm in your household, then you’re probably desperate to make a change. To help you and your little one get some valuable rest we asked top child sleep expert Dr. Sarah Bursaux to share her top 10 tips on managing sleep problems in children.
  1. Communicate

"Tell them it is time for bed and explain why sleeping is important. Always listen and answer any questions your child has to reassure him or her before saying goodnight.” 


  1. Sleep should be stress-free

“Sleep should not become a challenge or a struggle for the child. Help your child to see it as something positive and relaxing. An excellent way to achieve this to give them some autonomy over their sleep. For example allow them to choose their pyjamas, or which story you read.” 


  1. Don’t sleep with your child

"Your child needs to learn to fall asleep on their own, in their own bed. Snuggling in with your child can feel comforting when everyone is exhausted and you are at your wit’s end but keep your long-term goals in mind. Once you start letting your child share your bed, or once you’ve curled up in theirs, you’ve set a precedent that will only make things harder in the future.” 


  1. Feed your child at the same time every day

“Consistent mealtimes help create a good routine throughout the day. This should help you stick to a regular bedtime.” 


  1. Keep nap times regular

“Children benefit from a sleep routine. Stick to the same daily nap time and don’t let your child nap in the hours before bedtime.” 


  1. Stick to a good bedtime routine

 “To sleep well, a child needs a consistent routine such as a bath and story before bed. You should also stick to the same bedtime and wake-up time every day.” 


  1. Treat any underlying conditions that disturb sleep

“Sometimes there is a medical reason why a child can’t sleep, such as itching due to atopic dermatitis. First treat the skin pathology, then implement these tips as you would for any other child.” 

  1. Keep a sleep diary

“Use a calendar and stickers to chart your child’s sleep. When he or she gets a good night’s rest, reward your child with one of their favourite stickers. And a week’s worth of stickers might earn your child a treat.” 


  1. Bedtime stories work

“One of the easiest things you can do to help your child sleep is to read to them. This distracts them from worry about not sleeping and often allows the child to drift off. Some younger children even enjoy the same story or mini story every night as it helps make bedtimes a ritual. Try singing the same song or repeating a prayer every night as you switch off the lights.” 


  1. Be clear about rules

“Explain simply and clearly to your child in language they understand that once you’ve said goodnight, that means it’s time to sleep. Reassure them that you’ll look forward to enjoying a new day together tomorrow morning.” 


Read more about eczema in children  





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