Common childhood illnesses & well-being
A guide for parents and carers
Getting a good night's sleep

Getting a good night's sleep

How can I help my child?

We need to have a good night’s sleep in our bed so we are full of energy and fit to play and learn the next day.

Children who have enough sleep are also more likely to function better. Sleep promotes alertness, memory and performance and children who have enough sleep are less prone to moodiness and behaviour problems.

As we sleep our bodies are busy growing and getting better if we are ill or have injuries. Our brains also remember what we have learnt and store the learning for the future.

All babies are different, it takes time to establish a regular sleep pattern. Try to have a good bedtime routine so your baby learns the difference between day and night. It is better to let babies learn to fall asleep on their own rather than being rocked to sleep.

Bedtime routine

  • Establish a regular bedtime routine and a familiar routine - it can really help make going to sleep much easier.

  • A warm relaxing bath will help children unwind ready for bedtime.

  • A warm plain drink can help children settle down to sleep.

  • Snuggle up together for some quality time quietly reading favourite stories.

  • Talk about what you have enjoyed during the day and what you are looking forward to tomorrow.

  • Softly sing favourite songs and lullabies or listen to soft music.

  • Make bedtime a positive and relaxing experience without television or videos.

Encouraging good habits

  • Brush teeth thoroughly before going to bed.

  • Encourage children to fall asleep on their own, in their own beds.

  • Children who fall asleep on their own will be better able to return to sleep during normal night-time awakenings.

  • Do not leave children to doze off in front of the television and then carry them up to bed.

  • If they wake during the night and find themselves in a different place to where they fell asleep, it can unsettle them.

  • If children wake at night, allow them time to settle themselves.

  • Going to your child when they wake in the night strengthens the connection between you and sleep and they learn to expect your presence.

  • If necessary, softly reassure them “It’s time to go to sleep.” Try not to enter into conversation.

1

Don't permit your child to fall asleep watching the TV.

2

Make sure your child goes to sleep in the place where they will spend the night.

3

Establish a regular bedtime routine for your child.