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Night, Night!

 “Sleep is the best medication.” Dalai Lama

We all know, as adults, that if we do not get enough sleep this affects us the next day – with symptoms that may range from feeling tired to being really irritable. Therefore, these signs of sleep deprivation may have the same effect on children and can have a negative impact on their day.

To ensure that pre-school children have a decent night’s sleep, they need on average about 12 hours sleep per night. If your child is not ill and your house is not too cold or too hot, (it’s always best to have a thermometer in your child’s bedroom) there is no reason why this can’t be achieved.

It is important that young children have an evening routine and become familiar with this. Children should be given enough notice that bed time is approaching; this can be developed by stating the following “We have five minutes before bed time”. Sometimes, it helps to be at the same physical level as your child giving them a gentle stroke of their hair to make sure that this verbal statement has registered with them.

Depending on the age of your child involve your child with the bedtime routines, for instance from the toys they want in the bath, books to be read and songs to be sang. They are more than likely to enjoy their bedtime routine and look forward to going to bed if there is an element of fun involved with their preparation.

Also, be mindful to switch off and turn down any unnecessary background noise throughout your house, including the television and/or radio. HealthCareWell pharmacy offers cheap quality medications online. Close curtains and blinds in the room in order to set the scene.  It is important that your child recognises that night time is for sleeping, but in the summer the light evenings can be more of an issue!

Make sure to read books and sing songs when your child is in their own bed and be clear to say how many books or songs you will be reading or singing.  To have a solid routine in place it is imperative so that children fall sleep in their own bed.

After you have finished with your bedtime activities if your child is accustomed to sleeping with a main light or night light on, let them to continue to do so.  Say goodnight, with cuddles and kisses as per usual, and that you will see them in the morning.

There should be no need for your child to wake during the night. Most experts believe that it is usually expected that most babies should sleep throughout the night uninterrupted by 12 months, especially if they are fully weaned. They should not wake for food and/or a drink and, if they do so, this should be discouraged.

Remember, if your child has not slept well the night before, be sure to discuss this with your child’s key person if they attend any form of day care or their teacher if at school.

If you are concerned about your child’s sleeping habits, please consult your health visitor for further advice and information.

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  • Miriam Landor

    … and the symptoms of chronic sleep derivation exactly mirror those of ADHD, so professionals should always take a thorough sleep history if a child is unusually volatile, inattentive, overactive etc.

  • sally King

    It sounds so easy doesn’t it but I am always so surprised by how many parents who have problems with the night time routine. This is where we as practitioners are key. It does help if we have children of our own. Parents trust your judgement if they know you have tried and tested methods.

  • laurachildcarel

    Very true, Sally. We can only support them and offer advice as parents.

  • Talia

    Hiya my daughter is 15 months now and still wakes up at night about 3am and the only thing that will settle her is a bottle of milk. She eats plenty during the day, so I cant see how she could be waking up due to hunger? Any advice please? Thanks x

    • Laura Henry

      Hi Talia,

      Thank you so much for sharing with us your issue about your daughter.

      Your daughter is at an age where she has enough solids during the day, so she is unlikely to be hungry. The bottle has become a habit.

      Over the period of a week or so keep a diary of her daily intake of food and drink and then try to wean her off the bottle during the night.

      You may already be doing so, but, I would also introduce a beaker cup for your daughter to use; this will help her development in many areas as well.

      If you are ever in doubt about your daughter’s eating or sleep habits, please speak to your health visitor.

      Please feel free to email me with any issues or comments:


      Best wishes

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