Setting up the ideal sleep environment for your child can make your awake time with them more enjoyable! You want your child to get the highest quality sleep you can give them. If you are feeling like you’ve tried everything and are still not getting the rest you and your family need, there is hope and it starts with your child’s ideal sleep environment.
Every one of my customized child sleep plans focuses on setting up your child’s sleep environment to be conducive to sleep. Once you’ve got your home set up, make sure to take your good sleep habits with you when sleeping away from home too!
The Best Sleep is Safe Sleep
For babies 12 months old and younger, safe sleep is your top priority. Follow the evidence-based ABCs of safe sleep:
Alone. No other people, pets, large stuffed animals, blankets or bumpers.
On their Back to sleep. No inclined sleepers or car seats.
Crib, bassinet or play yard are the safest firm and flat sleeping surfaces for infants. Each model has their own height, weight and other limitations so check your specific product manual.
For babies and toddlers who are no longer in a crib, safety will look a little different. Set up the whole room as if it were a crib. Move any toys out of the room, or up and out of their reach. Secure drawers, doors, plugs, and cords, including pull cords for window blinds.
At home you have control over your environment so you can set everything up to be safe and be done with it until they move out of a crib. While traveling, if your baby is still sleeping in a travel crib, that will make the safety part pretty easy for you. Make sure there is nothing dangerous within reach of the play yard and you should be good to go. If your child will sleep on a blow up mattress or in bed with you then scan the room for any potential safety hazards before bedtime. Think about how safe the space would be if they were left alone in the room.
Darken the Room Until You Cannot Read a Book
There is a good chance that your black out blinds or curtains at home are still letting some light peak through. Fold up some baby blankets and lay them over the top of the curtain rod to block out the light there. This way you can still slide the curtains open and closed easily. Secure the sides of blinds or curtains to the wall using painter’s tape or adhesive velcro. Push pillows up against the bottom of the curtains to block any light coming through there. It may sound excessive but I assure you it is totally worth the effort. Any little cracks of light can disrupt the quality of your child’s sleep.
When sleeping away from home, black out the windows in your hotel room or family’s spare bedroom if needed. You can purchase specialized travel blackout blinds, or take a box of black trash bags and painter’s tape with you. This trick allows you to protect your child’s nap and bedtimes no matter how light it is outside.
Cool Down for Sound Sleep
Babies and toddlers sleep best in a cool, dark and quiet room. If you have climate control at home, most experts agree a comfortable temperature for your child is 68 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Dress your child in one more layer than you are wearing to help them feel comfortable for sleep but still avoid them overheating.
While sleeping away from home you may not have climate control, access to a fan, or a heater. Keep your child cool while they sleep by controlling their temperature through their clothing and bedding. Bring different pajama options so you can adjust accordingly in different sleep environments. Cotton fleece sheets and wearable blankets are great for staying comfortable in a colder environment.
Block Out Noises That Can Disturb Sleep
Trying to stay quiet while your child sleeps is easier said than done. A better and smarter way to protect the environment from disruptions is to use a white noise machine. If you are purchasing one for the first time I recommend a model with no auto shutoff timer in addition to being a travel-friendly cordless option. Run the white noise continuously for the entire night or nap to be most effective. Just be sure to keep it to a safe volume, no louder than a running shower. Using the same sound machine at home and on the go maintains consistency in your child’s sleep routine.
Other Things You Can Do
If you are looking for more ways to promote better sleep for your child there are many more strategies that I will write more about in the future. Setting up your child’s sleep environment to be more conducive to sleep is the primary step to building healthy sleep habits for your family.
I can help you create a sleep plan that not only works for your family now, but can evolve with your child as they grow. Contact me to schedule a free 15-minute consultation and reach your goals faster with my help.