Sleep training is a way of helping a child learn how to fall asleep and stay asleep through the night.
This can be started at any time that you feel it might be beneficial, but some sources recommend beginning the training from 4 months. By this time, children have started to develop a natural sleep-wake cycle which you can work with in their training. Some children may not be ready for this until they are much older, only you know what is best for your child and when to start.
So, how do you go about sleep training your child?
Establish a routine.
Children respond to routines, and by establishing a daily habit you will be giving them the cues that it is time to wind down and go to sleep. This can be by giving them a warm bath, dimming the lights, reading a story or singing a lullaby before they get into bed.
Stick to a consistent bedtime.
Once your child is in the habit of going to sleep at the same time every night, this will in turn help their natural circadian rhythms kick in and they will start to naturally fall asleep at this time every day. It is recommended that you choose a time between 7 and 8pm so that they do not get overtired.
Wake them at the same time every day.
If they have not already naturally woken up, make sure you wake your child at the same time each morning and allow for naps throughout the day. The predictability of this routine will encourage your child to feel secure and more relaxed, which will in turn help them to settle when they need to.
There are plenty of sleep training methods available, from the cry it out method to the fading approach. Each child and parent will respond differently to each method, so it is important to do your research and find what works for you.
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