Baby’s sleep issues: getting your baby to bed

Baby’s sleep issues: getting your baby to bed

Few children go to bed without some struggle and adjustment. It’s rare that a child sleeps in his own bed by himself without a lot of prompts and learning to stick to rules that don't change. There are a few ways to deal with your child’s sleep problems.

Keep the routine short

A routine under 30 minutes is ideal because it encourages them to go to bed and easily fall asleep. If the routine lasts longer than that or becomes too elaborate, babies wind up rather than settle down.

Dealing with head-banging and body-rocking

Babies may use rhythmic, repetitive behaviours to help settle themselves to sleep at bedtime, or during the night to get back to sleep. It’s most common in the first year of life. They hit hard from a few minutes to half an hour or more, but they’re unlikely to hurt themselves.

Here’s what you can do to make things more quiet and comfortable:

  • Move the cot away from the wall.
  • Put rubber carpet protectors under the cot's legs to cut down movement and noise. Place a thick carpet under the cot.
  • Try not to go in and check on your child. Your presence may reinforce this behaviour as an attention-getter rather than a self-comforting habit.


Toddlers and pre-schoolers have the capacity to dream as soon as they learn to talk. Young children usually can't remember their dreams, even the ones that awaken them. If you notice that your child is having frequent nightmares, ask a health professional to help get to the source of the stress.

Separation anxiety

For a pre-schooler who is stressed by separation or has been co-sleeping with his parents for a long time, try placing a mattress on the floor of your room and giving him rewards for moving closer and closer to his own room. 

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