Does your baby go to bed late and you are wondering if they are getting enough sleep? This is a very common concern that some parents have. The good thing is that we can slowly shift your child’s sleep schedule until you find a suitable bedtime.
First, it is important to observe your child’s behavior. Does she look tired during the day? Is he acting more clingy and fussy even after waking up from a nap? If your baby goes to bed late and you are noticing some changes in their behavior, then they may not be getting enough sleep.
On the other hand, if your baby is energetic, happy, and acts normally when awake, then he may be getting enough sleep. In other words, he may not be going to bed too late after all.
To be consistent with our bedtime every day, even when we want to stay up late during the weekend, it is important for us to get in bed only when we are ready to sleep. Kids are the same! If your baby’s internal clock is telling her to go to sleep at 9:30 pm, then putting her to bed at 7:30 pm won’t probably go well. While some babies or toddlers will stay quietly in their bed until they fall asleep, most will get fussy from tossing and turning and from being unable to fall asleep. In some cases, this may result in negative associations with the bed or the crib.
If you think that your child goes to bed too late, here are a few things you can do. First, for about 3-4 nights, find the time your baby is falling asleep. Once you figure out that your child fell asleep consistently, let’s say at 10 pm, for 3 days, start the bedtime routine 20 minutes before 10 pm. While we are pushing bedtime later, make sure to watch your baby’s sleepy cues to ensure they don’t become overtired. To note, an overtired baby won’t settle well at bedtime.
Then, after two or three nights, you can shift bedtime to 9:45. Another three to four nights later, push that to 9:45 p.m., and so forth until you are satisfied with your child’s new bedtime.
This process should take about 2 weeks and it maintains a positive association with bedtime. I would also recommend having a consistent, suiting, and relaxing bedtime routine to ensure he knows that sleep is coming and that we are slowly making our way to bed.
Wake them up!
We also want to adjust the morning wake-up time if needed. Now that your baby is going to bed earlier, you may have to wake him up if he used to sleep in. Yes, you read right! I said to wake them up. As much as we want a consistent bedtime, we also want our children to wake up at the same time every morning, this will help them regulate their internal clock and make bedtime and nap time easier. Wake them up and start the day by exposing them to bright light which sends a clear signal to the brain and the body that it is time to wake up.
If you made the changes I just suggested and you think that your baby is not getting enough sleep, you may want to look at their sleep patterns and what triggers their night wakings or sleep disturbances. Here are some examples of things that can influence your baby’s sleep;
- room if too cold or too hot
- sleep associations
- dark room
- noise in the house or in the street
- growth spurts
- separation anxiety
- and more.
I would like to touch base on one last thing. Sleep is constantly evolving as your child gets older. Be flexible, stay connected with their needs, to better assess the sleep routine when needed.
I am here to help, get in touch with me here if you would like to start working with me or simply having a chat!