Kids Sleeping Boot Camp: Adjusting Your Daytimes for Better Nighttimes
What you can do during your child's awake times to improve sleep times.
When it comes to sleep issues you may only be thinking about naptime and nighttime, but it turns out there are things you can do during your child's awake times to help her get a better night's sleep, too. That's where your challenge for this week comes in.
1) Every day this week, get 20 minutes vigorous exercise. Whether it's with your child or just ensuring that your child is getting it, this week you need to be sure your child is engaging in at least 20 minutes of vigorous activity. A trip to the park, a quick game of tag... anything that gets your child moving and helps to burn of excess energy.
Think of exercise as movement against gravity. Mention that wooing your baby to move his arms and legs while playing is also exercise. But walking with your baby in a sling or pushing in stroller is not exercise. Pushing your child in a swing makes him have to adjust his body so this is mild exercise.
2) Begin to teach your child self-quieting behaviors.Help your child learn to quiet himself during the day by allowing him to experience some low-level daytime distress. (We can already see you getting a little antsy—we get it—but keep your eye on the prize—this is sleep we're talking about!)
This week, when your child encounters daily tasks that are minimally frustrating or upsetting (he's having trouble stacking the blocks, can't make the puzzle piece fit or is having difficulty dressing himself, for example), allow him to work it out himself instead of helping him solve it. This technique is going to help you learn to disengage from your child's low-level distress and will also help your child learn how to deal with it independently.