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Sleep Difficulties with Children – How a Nanny Can Help

2017 February 16

Having a young child who won’t or can’t sleep can have a knock-on effect for the entire family.

Sleep problems for babies and young children are becoming more commonplace and routines can be extremely difficult to stick to, especially when you’re not around your child 24/7. That’s where a nanny can step in and help to keep the routine running smoothly so that everyone in the family stays fully rested.

Sleep is vital to both children and adults. In sleep, children process what they’ve learned during the day, storing it away for future use, they also grow and heal. For adults, sleep is a time to relax and forget about all the stresses of the working day, keeping you in top condition so that you’re fit and well enough to care for your children.

Nannies and other caregivers are perfect for overseeing daytime naps and helping to ensure that routines stay on track.

If a healthy child is having difficulty sleeping, the first step is to identify the reason behind this. Is the difficulty in falling asleep, or does the child wake up several times during the night or perhaps extremely early in the morning?

Identify the issue and then monitor the child’s sleeping habits. Try to keep a log of when the child sleeps, how long for, how easy they settle in each instance and what stands out about the circumstance, for example; had they just eaten, were they told to stop playing a game, was a story read to them etc.

Once you have a clear idea of any problem areas or issues that need to be resolved you can make a plan that you and your nanny or other caregiver can stick to, to ensure that your child gets the best sleep possible.

Follow our top tips for a perfect night’s sleep:

  1. No screen time before bed – the lighting from gaming devices and other screens has been proven to negatively impact the human body’s ability to produce melatonin (the hormone that regulates sleep). Ensure that children are away from screens for at least a few hours before bed time.
  2. Eat right – if you go to bed hungry, sleep is not going to come easy to you, so make sure children have eaten before going to bed. Try to choose foods containing carbs or protein as these have been proven to improve sleep quality. Foods like warm porridge, toast, yogurt and cheese are perfect choices to encourage a deep, restful sleep.
  3. The darker the better – the best way to sleep is in total darkness. Any light can badly impact your hormone production, and prevent a deep sleep. This might be difficult with children who are afraid of the dark so try putting the nightlight in the hall with the door slightly ajar instead of in the room with them.
  4. Develop a special bedtime routine – instead of just washing up and getting into bed, make bedtime a time to be together and enjoy a special, relaxing moment in the day. After bathing/washing up and brushing teeth, snuggle together for a cuddle and a bedtime story or just a simple chat about the day. If your child feels loved and comfortable, they’re more likely to fall into a peaceful sleep.
  5. Each to their own bed – it’s extremely important that your child learns early on to be comfortable and to sleep in their own bed, for both their benefit and yours. To help get your child accustomed to their bed, remember to always put them into their own bed whilst they’re awake. Otherwise, they’ll more than likely be scared to wake up somewhere different than where they fell asleep.

Stick to these tips and your special routine for each bedtime, you can even have a shortened down version, without the bath, for nap time. The more you keep at it, the easier it will be on you and your child, so get your nanny or caregiver to do the same in the daytime as you do in the evening.

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