Dr. Jodi Mindell teamed up with the Today Show to give parents some answers to common sleep problems families face with babies, toddler and children. A psychologist who works with Johnson’s Baby, she may have an answer that will help you. Here’s a recap of what she had to say.
1. When Do You Transition To A Crib? Your baby should be in a crib by the time he or she is 3 months old. After that, the child will have a harder time adjusting to the new sleeping place. One mother had a child who only slept when in an infant seat. Dr. Mindell cautioned this could be a sign of acid reflux where keeping the child a little upright may help.
2. Do You Have To “Cry It Out”? A slow transition can help this problem with an older baby. Instead of holding your baby until he or she falls asleep, pull up a chair next to the crib and rub the baby’s back or pat it until the baby is asleep. Next step, in a few nights sit halfway across the room. Finally, move to the doorway. This slow change from holding to just putting the baby to bed will help the baby – and the Mom and Dad – transition.
3. A Morning Light Can Extend Sleep Time. If a young child is waking up too early and is then cranky or overtired – or you’re just worried he or she isn’t getting enough sleep, try a morning light. This should work around the age of 4 years. Just put a nightlight on a timer and explain that it’s not “good morning” until the light is on so the child learns to relax and try to return to sleep if there is no good morning light. Then, simply set the timer a bit later – about 15 minutes – to extend the time morning arrives.
4. A Third-Grade Child Won’t Go To Sleep Unless A Parent Is In His Or Her Room. It’s probably a habit. In the case discussed, the child also woke up in the middle of the night and called for his parents. One of them would come back and stay with him – sometimes for the remainder of the night. Start the change with the bedtime routine by staying in the room shorter and shorter times. Make the change slowly so the child gets used to falling asleep alone and then use the same technique in the middle of the night.
5. My Child Shows Up In My Bedroom. This can happen even with older elementary school children. Try to decide if the problem is anxiety or if it’s simply a habit. If you believe that it may be caused by anxiety, focus on helping the child develop coping skills. You’ll find information in book and online – or, you can consult your health care provider.
If you’re a parent dealing with a newborn or a baby or child of any age who isn’t sleeping well, your sleep is being interrupted. Make sure that the sleep time you do have is quality sleep time. Keep your bedroom cool, dark and free of distractions. If your mattress is old and saggy, think about visiting your local mattress store in Phoenix to explore all the different types of mattresses now available. You are the person helping your child get a good night’s rest and that sleep expert at that store is your partner in helping you get a good night’s sleep!