By Daisy Oppelaar, child sleep coach for Dais & Nights and mother of daughter Izzy (4 years old)
Sleepless nights, hours of rocking, falling asleep only at the breast, co-sleeping with parents, no daytime routine, poor naps, bedtime battles, too many night feedings... It happens in every family: babies and children who don't sleep well. However, it's a misconception that it's just a part of it, that poor sleep is normal. An occasional bad night is normal, but if it continues for an extended period, I recommend consulting a children's sleep coach. It really doesn't have to be so tough! Often, small adjustments are enough to make a difference. And sometimes, a bit more is required. In this blog, I'll share 5 sleep tips for babies and young children.
Let's meet Daisy!
Hi! I'm Daisy Oppelaar, 35 years old, a children's sleep coach at Dais & Nights, and a mother to my 4-year-old daughter, Izzy. A sweet and clever toddler! Although I'm a sleep coach now and my daughter and I sleep very well, is has not alwasy been that way.
Tip 1: the right bedtime
The right bedtime is between 6:00 PM and 7:30 PM. I often see that children go to bed too late. Parents often keep them awake for too long in the hope that they will be tired and sleep better. But the opposite is actually true: when you put your child to bed on time, you will prevent overtiredness. This will lead to better nights and later mornings. Seriously, give it a try!
Tip 2: the right wake time
Up to 4 to 5 months, we look at wake time for babies. After that, we establish a more fixed routine. The right wake time for your baby's age is crucial. Being awake for too short a time can result in short naps because your baby isn't tired enough. Being awake for too long can also lead to short naps because your baby becomes overtired. So, find out what the right wake time is! You can find everything about wake times in my Sleep Guide for 0-18 months.
Tip 3: the right daytime routine
Several factors are essential: the right number of naps for the age, the duration of a nap, and the timing of a nap. You want your child to get enough daytime sleep (again, to prevent overtiredness), but at the right time. For example, you don't want the longest nap to be at the end of the day, as it will affect the night.
Tip 4: sleep training for independent sleep
Many children have trouble falling asleep independently. However, this is a skill essential for good nights. If they receive help falling asleep, such as rocking to sleep, a bottle, breastfeeding, or sharing your bed, they won't know how to fall back asleep on their own when they wake up at night. You want to gradually reduce this assistance after 4 to 5 months of age. You can do this through a sleep training method. The Sleep Guide for 0-18 months offers various sleep training methods and practical tips for independent sleep and peaceful nights.
Tip 5: don't transition to a toddler bed too early
A tip for slightly older children. I often see families in my practice with toddlers (or even older kids) who keep getting out of bed. Sometimes, they visit their parents' bed 20 times or more during the night. Often, parents transitioned to a toddler bed too early. The crib provides literal boundaries with its bars. Children under 2.5 years of age generally can't handle the freedom of a bed without bars (with some exceptions). My advice: stay in a crib for as long as possible! My daughter didn't switch to a regular bed until she was 3.5 years old. That way, you can establish clear agreements.
Personal contact with a children's sleep coach?
I hope you can put these tips from Daisy of Dais & Nights into practice, but you can also reach out to her for personal guidance, follow her on Instagram for additional tips, or consult her e-book to take matters into your own hands!
Good news: As a Charly Cares parent, you'll get a €5 discount on Daisy's e-book! Use the code Charly5 and buy the Sleep Guide for 0-18 months for only €15! No need for a sleep coach anymore; all the 'secrets' are in there...Get e-book