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What can I do if my child is having trouble sleeping?
It is not uncommon for children to have disturbed sleep, with around 50% of all children under the age of 5 experiencing periods of night waking. There are a number of different measures you can take to try and help your little one fall asleep:
- Decide on a time you want your child to sleep. When this time approaches, begin a ‘wind down’ routine that they become familiar with. This could include a bath, followed by a feed, or if they are a little older a bedtime story
- If your child has a toy, dummy or another item that provides them with comfort, let them have it before settling down into bed
- Some parents find that it is helpful to leave the child to cry for a few minutes before going back in and settling them again
- If your child gets up, put them back to bed again. It is important to stay in the room and make sure that your little one associates it with sleep
Establishing a routine can sometimes be quite difficult but try to be firm and remember that it will be beneficial in the long run. It will also help you to catch up on some much needed sleep too.
Whilst some children may find it difficult to sleep on a regular basis, other children may wake up for a specific reason. If your little one is usually a good sleeper, there might be some other causes that cause them to have broken sleep. Some children may wake up hungry, in which case some milk or cereal before bedtime can help. Your child may also be too hot or cold, or afraid of the dark. If this is the case, leaving on a small night light can provide some reassurance.