If you have not already done so, please read Blog Posts 1 through 5 that describe how sleep is important and beneficial. I will post specific information for parents and children based on my book, “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child.” Please do not be put off by my book’s length. This is a reference book. Read only the topic of interest to you.
Bedtime routines (Blog Posts 10 and 87) help children calm down before falling asleep because children learn to associate the routines with the natural state of relaxed drowsiness (Blog Posts 10 and 87). Pick and choose from the following list of soothing activities based on your child’s age and your personal preferences. Try to do bedtime routines on most nights and to follow the same sequence at bedtimes. Follow any routine that you feel comfortable with and stick with it. But it is not necessary that Mom and Dad have the same bedtime routines. Your baby will learn to associate each style with each parent. Here are some examples of bedtime routine activities:
Professor Jodi Mindell showed that:
A 2021 paper described bedtime routines, and children’s sleep across the first 2 years of life. Children were studied at 3, 12, 18, and 24 months. They studied ‘Bedtime Routine Consistency’ and ‘Bedtime Adaptive Activities’.
‘Bedtime routine consistency’ was evaluated by responses to questions:
‘Adaptive Activities’ in the hour before putting to sleep included:
“These activities are typically calming routines that allow a child to transition from a highly arousing environment to a safe and more serene environment that promotes sleep.”
Conclusion: “More bedtime routine consistency predicted less nighttime waking and fewer sleep problems, and more bedtime adaptive activities predicted longer sleep duration and fewer sleep problems.”
A 2020 study compared Israeli Arab and Jewish infants and toddlers (3 to 36 months). They observed that the Arab children had later bedtimes, shorter night sleep duration, and longer periods of nocturnal wakefulness. There were no group differences in daytime sleep (naps) duration, so the Arab children also had shorter total sleep duration
A 2021 article by the same authors, on the same group of children, compared maternal sleep-related cognitions between Israeli Jewish and Arab mothers. “Several studies have shown that parental cognitions that reflect difficulties in limiting parental involvement-emphasizing child’s distress upon night waking and the need to assist the infant in settling back to sleep-are associated with higher levels of parental active involvement at bedtime (e.g., rocking, cuddling, feeding). These practices in turn predict more infant night-waking. Expectant mothers who strongly tended to interpret infant night-waking as a sign of infant distress that requires immediate intervention were more likely to get actively involved in settling their infants to sleep, and their infants had more night-wakings, compared to infants of mothers who were more likely to endorse cognitions emphasizing the importance of promoting infant self-soothing.Arab mothers were more likely to hold sleep-related cognitions reflecting their difficulty in limiting nighttime intervention in response to their child’s. awakening.”
The results showed that Arab children had longer periods of nocturnal wakefulness but the actual number on night-wakings was the same in both groups.
(To be continued)