Average Sleep And Naps For A 4 Year Old Boy The ABC’s of Sensible Sleep Training

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The ABC’s of Sensible Sleep Training

Exhausted, grumpy and sleep deprived is no way to go through life… for you or your baby. The link between quality sleep and a happy, healthy lifestyle is well-documented and undeniable, but once a newborn arrives, the days of sound sleep in the comfort of your own bed are probably numbered for a while.

The average new parent loses about 350 hours of sleep during their baby’s first year, and 64% only get a good night’s sleep one or two nights a week. This is mainly because, although the newest member of the household sleeps between 13 and 16 hours a day, he or she does so unpredictably, only for a few hours.

good news? Within three to five months, most babies will develop regular sleep habits, which include napping through the night. But laying the groundwork for these habits to emerge takes a bit of coaching.

Some sleep training tips to create healthy nighttime patterns from the start:

1. Send a message. Babies are masters at picking up non-verbal cues. The sooner you convey the idea that “days are for fun, nights are for sleep,” the sooner your child’s circadian rhythms will start to fall into step.

Keep your baby active during the day and have structured naps between feedings. The success you achieve during the day will directly affect your nights. In the evening, wind things down with calming routines that prepare baby’s mind for rest – reading or softly singing in a dimly lit room. Avoid stimulating lights and sounds or activities such as tickling and watching television. Add a favorite blanket or soft toy to the array; his appearance will soon serve as a gentle sign that it is time to sleep.

2. Stay cool. Keep the room between 65 and 70 degrees. A good rule of thumb for keeping your baby warm is to dress your baby in one more layer than you are wearing. This will prevent your little one from overheating. Room-darkening shades and light dimmers will also help set the right mood.

3. Declare independence. Get into the habit of putting him down awake, without holding, patting or rocking. This will not only condition him to fall asleep on his own, but it will also teach him to fall asleep on his own without your help when he wakes up in the middle of the night. Remember to maintain a calm, relaxed approach to your baby. Babies know when we are tense and will not be able to calm down if they sense our agitation.

4. Let the sleeping children lie down. Once your pediatrician gives you permission to let your baby eat as needed throughout the night, then you can go “on demand.” “Feeding on demand” allows your baby to sleep until he wakes up on his own to feed. Unless absolutely necessary, it is never a good idea to wake a sleeping baby during the night. Resist the urge to encourage him to meet unexpected company or have a late-night Skype conversation with his grandparents.

5. Be realistic. Ultimately, just like eating, you can’t force your baby to sleep. However, you can set your sleep expectations to learn sleep hygiene skills. Expect him (and, of course, you) to sleep randomly and irregularly during the first few months. Get through those nights of trouble sleeping by reminding yourself that things will get better, probably sooner than you think. Soon the challenge will be getting your child to get out of bed to get to school on time.

Based in the Chicago suburb of Naperville, ABC Moms provides parents with a wide range of family care services, from autism and special needs help to home training, educational classes, workshops and more.

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