For most of us, when we think of a baby going to sleep for the night, we have visions of a peaceful and content baby drifting off into a deep slumber. Unfortunately, the reality for many parents does not match the image we have in our heads, and bedtime can be a real struggle. But how can you break the cycle and help your child to go bed for the night when it is time? Read on for some of our favorite tips on ending baby bedtime battles.
Recognize the Cues
One of the biggest steps you can take towards ending baby bedtime battles is learning your child’s sleepy signs. While every baby is a little bit different, all babies exhibit some behaviors that can serve as a signal to you as a parent that it is time for bed. A few common cues include yawning, becoming fussy, and cluster feeding.
When you miss your child’s sleepy signs, it creates an opportunity for them to become overtired which often leads to an inconsolable state that many would describe as a meltdown. Once your baby has reached this point, it becomes incredibly difficult to soothe and calm them to sleep so if you can catch their cues in time, it will be much easier to put your baby down for the night.
It is also essential that you limit or eliminate sources of stimulation that may keep your baby up and eventually can lead to being overtired. Make sure the room that they will be sleeping in is very dark and is in an area of your home that has little foot traffic. If people are frequently going in and out of the room where your baby sleeps, it may be time to consider a different sleeping room for your child in the interest of ending bedtime battles.
Additionally, you can utilize a sound machine to help drown out the background noise of your household. Bright colors should be avoided including clothing, bedding, wall coloring, and any other items that might be in the room with your child while they are trying to sleep.
On a similar note, when putting your baby to bed, it may be helpful for you to avoid eye contact with them because it can be incredibly stimulating.
Designate a Bedtime
It helps to set a time for bed based on when your baby naturally wants to sleep longer stretches because it avoids the tendency for your child to wake up after a shorter sleep duration. One of the things you can do to help in ending baby bedtime battles is to establish a bedtime routine and stick with it each day. A routine is an excellent way to help condition your baby to know that it is time for sleep and can often make it easier over time to get them down for the night. Finally, once it is past bedtime it is important to avoid waking up your baby so quieting down the house is a necessity.
Support Each Other
Our last tip for ending bedtime battles is actually between you and your partner. When you have a child that resists going to sleep for the night, it can be exhausting and tough for one parent to tackle alone. Some nights it may seem like the screaming just goes on forever and that is where the importance of partner support shines. If one of you is feeling overwhelmed or frustrated, you can switch off to give each other a break.
Over time of implementing the other tips, these battles will get shorter, but in the beginning, it may be rough. Communication is also a vital part of supporting each other not only through encouragement but by sharing what is and is not working during bedtime.
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