Here are my top tips for guiding your little one to developing good sleep habits.
2. Set them up for success: Making a clear distinction between night and day is invaluable. Day starts at about the same time, is light, bright and noisy and activities follow a routine. Night also starts at about the same time but is cool, dark, quiet and baby sleeps until they wake on their own. Babies don't need a night light and often sleep better without one.
Have a plan. If you have things that need to happen during the day take time to figure out the best way to get them done while working with your child's needs. Baby transitions into the family, the family doesn't revolve around baby.
Start a short and simple bedtime routine to help prepare your little one for sleep. Don't make it too elaborate, there will be nights when you just need them to go to bed quickly!
3. Be Consistent: This is very important when creating any kind of "new normal". Flip-flopping back and forth is confusing and upsetting for babies and children and can make the adjustment take longer and be more unpleasant. Children thrive with predictable routines. That doesn't mean it has to be militant, I prefer "flexible consistency" which allows for life to happen, yet at the same time maintains good eating and sleeping routines. When eating and sleeping take place at about the same time daily it has a very positive effect on behaviour, growth and development. With routine, children feel safe and secure which leads to them being calmer and more relaxed.
4. Let them practice: Babies and children will never learn a new skill if they don't have enough time to practice. When children are learning to walk, they fall down, does that mean you never try again because ,obviously they can't do it? No, of course not. You say, "Good try, we'll try again later!" Same lesson applies to sleep. Sure there will be times when they struggle to do it on their own, but that doesn't mean they don't have the ability to learn. You just try again.
5. Be Patient: On average it takes people 6 weeks to learn a new skill or change a habit and the first 2 weeks are always the hardest! Stick with it, the long term benefits are worth it!