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SAFE SLEEP: Help Your Child Develop Healthy Sleep Habits

Posted in:Safe Sleep


We all know the challenges that come when you say these 4 little words, “It’s time for bed”, but did you know there are simple steps you can take to make bedtime less of a struggle? One of the easiest ways to develop healthy sleep habits is by keeping a routine. Having a routine means doing the same things as much as possible every time you put your baby or child down to sleep. Zero to Three suggests trying the following strategies to solve sleeping challenges and help your child become a good sleeper:

  • Read the signs: watch for ways your baby lets you know he or she is getting sleepy. They may have a certain cry, or get fussy. When you see these signs, slow things down and start your bedtime routine.
  • Plan for protests: As your child learns to fall asleep, it’s natural for them to cry or protest. Make sure you have a plan for how to respond. Think through the options, talk about them with your partner and decide together how you’ll react. This can help you be more prepared to handle a stressful time.
  • Consider what’s happening in your baby or child’s life: A new sibling, separation from a parent or even learning to crawl or walk can disturb your child’s sleep. Be patient and consistent and try to maintain your bedtime routine.
  • Recognize your child’s mood: different children develop self-soothing skills at different times. The more active or intense your child is, the more challenging it can be for them to calm down, especially at night. Children who are generally calmer tend to fall asleep easier on their own.
  • Put your baby to sleep when he/she is awake: at around 4 months you can help your baby learn to fall asleep on his own by putting him down when he’s drowsy but not asleep. Learning to fall asleep on his own also helps him to get back to sleep when he wakes in the middle of the night.
  • Turn down the volume: Turn off TVs and turn down the music. The goal of bedtime is to help your child relax. TV and some music can be noisy and stimulating, making it difficult for your child to calm down.

Follow these simple steps and learn how to create a safe environment for your baby or child where they can thrive. Inform babysitters and other caregivers about the importance of following the rules. You can find more information and resources on safe sleep by visiting our site.  Long live dreams!

© 2024. Delaware Division of Public Health.