Good sleeping habits, something to teach since the very beginning
Perhaps the major concern of almost all parents, and a problem for many of them, is related to their offspring's sleep habits. Even when on the first year of life a baby may wake - and certainly will - several times each night; after the 12th month the sleep pattern should change towards something more like adult's sleep pattern.
During the first year there's still not a well established circadian cycle (something that regulates awakening/sleeping patterns and several other important biological facts) and usually the feeding pattern determines how many times a night a baby will wake; afterwards, once the feeding needs during night diminish and the circadian cycle get more stable, your children should sleep all night long, but that's only in theory because many parents find hard to make their little ones going to bed!
No matter where, you always will find parents complaining about their kids giving troubles to sleep, and even when some punctual cases could be associated to sleep disorders, organic problems or some other kind of disturbances, most of cases are related to improper sleeping behaviours, something that needs to be taught to the children since the very beginning.
If you are facing this kind of problems perhaps it's time to establish certain habits to correct your children's behaviours when it's time to go to bed; on the other hand, even when your children are too young (less than 1 year old) or you are not experiencing such problems, it's good follow the next tips in order to avoid sleep problems later.
1. Set up a sleep routine.
All kids need predictable routines and daily patterns, thus establishing a pre-sleep routine, will help them to assume that next step is going to bed. Of course you'll have to repeat the routine over and over until it becomes natural, afterwards once the routine begins, your kids will assume automatically that it's almost time to sleep.
Routines may vary from family to family and even depending the region, regardless the activity, consistency is the most important thing. Keep your routines day after day, don's skip any step and your kids will be following it "magically" very soon.
Many parents adopt a warm bath, a little snack and a story reading before going to bed; other prefers a massage and a prayer; options are endless, but once again, follow always the same steps, otherwise your kids could get confused.
2. Avoid exercise and vigorous playing two hours before sleep
You don't need an adrenaline full kid when it's time to sleep, instead you wish your little ones as much relaxed as possible, thus avoid exercise and vigorous playing two hours before sleep in order to decrease the adrenaline burden and facilitate your job.
Good activities for the end of the day are reading books or listening soft music; even a bath; relaxing activities which "slow down" your kids' brains and lead them to a calmer state where it's easier to get sleep.
3. Set up a fixed hour
That's the best way to regulate your kids' circadian cycle. If your little ones go to bed one night at 6:00 and the other at 10:00, it will be hard to regulate properly their circadian cycle, instead, if every night they go to bed at the same hour, a reflex will be set up and after a few weeks they will feel sleepy when it's time to go to bed, and the best thing, it will be automatic!
4. The myth of sugar
Many parents avoid sugar or chocolate at the end of the day because it's considered that such feed would add an "energy rush" to your little ones rendering them more active and in consequence making harder the sleeping sequence, but even when they will receive extra energy from sweet feed, that's not necessary means they will have trouble to get asleep.
In fact sweet feed, especially chocolate are related to an increase on serotonine brain levels, an hormone responsible to "slow down" brain activity, something good if you wish to get asleep.
5. Don't fight with your kids
Sleeping time must be a fun experience that your kids must enjoy as any other with you; thus if you argue and fight with them the experience will be seen as something negative and they will try to avoid it, thus find a way to render it something delightful and special, even something your kids could share with you, and you'll see how easy it will be to get your kids to bed.
There's plenty of options, sleeps with them for a while; to read a book or even a story telling are good options; on this regard, no matters what, you will find something working for you!
Obviously there's no magic recipes and the keyword here is consistency and patience; if you try long enough with the proper technique, your kids won't give troubles to sleep too much longer. Additionally you may wish to avoid certain negative behaviours before sleep, as you will see clicking HERE!