Helping children sleep

It can be exhausting and frustrating when your child has issues with sleep, whether that’s difficulty settling at night, issues with waking during the night or just not getting enough sleep.  Below are some hints and tips to try to help your child to get into a good sleep routine.


  1. Create a relaxed space

It is important to feel relaxed in the run-up to bedtime. Our children quickly pick up on our own stress levels, so it is important to create a relaxed space.

Creating a calm environment in the hour before bedtime is great for everyone in your house. Playing relaxing music in the bedroom, like a classical music station, or some calming bedtime songs can help you and your child calm down.

Try darkening the room too, as this prompts the body to produce melatonin, which in turn makes us drowsy.


  1. Positive touch

Touch is an important sense for your child at bedtime. It promotes the flow of oxytocin, sometimes known as “the cuddle hormone”, which can make both you and your child feel sleepy and relaxed.

In the hour before bed, you could try snuggling up with a book, or just some good old fashioned cuddles. If your child enjoys going in the bath, then adding this into your routine can help them feel close to you.


  1. Ease separation anxiety

Sometimes, the feeling of separation anxiety can be triggered at night time for your little one.

One way you can ease this anxiety is by creating a family wall next to where they sleep. Stick up photos of you and other close family members to help your child feel safe and relaxed when they go to sleep and when they wake up.


  1. Sleepy time games

For younger children, introducing your bedtime routine during pretend play can help your little one develop an understanding of this time of day.

Why not try putting teddy to bed together? Copy their routine with their favourite teddy and repeat phrases like ‘sleepy’ and ‘goodnight’. This will help them link bedtime words with their actions and gain a better understanding of their meaning.

You’ll be able to use and repeat these words at bedtime to help them express how they’re feeling and wind down.


  1. Reflect on your day

Finding time in your routine to reflect on your day can help create a sense of calm. Try listing three good things that have happened or ask your little one to talk about one emotion they felt today.


Further Resources


National Sleep Helpline – 03303 530 541