Kids & Company Blog

A New Year, A New Sleep Routine: Tips for Healthy Sleep Habits

Watching your child sleep is often a moment of immense gratitude. Looking at their peaceful face and listening to their slow breathing reminds you of why you love being a parent. It may also have something to do with the fact you can take a breath from the chaos that occurs when they’re awake. For the worn-out parent, seeing your little one hit snooze for 12 hours can make you a wee bit jealous. However, don’t be fooled, their bodies and minds are still working full steam ahead. Their brain’s neural pathways are getting stronger, their bodies are growing, and they are developing strong immunity simultaneously. 

There’s no doubt the benefits of getting enough sleep for both children and parents are endless. Sleep is vital to our overall well-being, so let me share some healthy sleep habits you can put in place so your child can grow, be happy, and stay well-rested, allowing you to get the zzz’s you deserve too. A well thought out sleep environment, predictable routines, and consistency are the foundations of great sleep.

Sleep Environment

A cool, calm sleep space is an important piece of the puzzle when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep. You will want to consider the room temperature, blackout curtains, sleepwear, and a sound machine when setting up an effective sleep environment. 

Light’s Out

  • A dark sleep space is key to heightening melatonin levels, which helps us to sleep. 
  • Installing black out curtains will help to achieve a sleep environment that is cool and very dark. Pitch black is the goal – you don’t want any peaks of light coming through. 
  • Light can contribute to early wakes and difficulty falling and staying asleep.

Sleep in (Appropriate) Style

  • Use age/temperature appropriate sleepwear. 
  • A swaddle (until the baby can roll over, then discontinue) or sleep sack is a great sleep association that can be used during naps and nighttime sleep. 
  • Sleep sacks can help to regulate body temperature while sleeping. 
  • Swaddles and sleep sacks provide a sense of security and eliminate the need for extra bedding in the crib. Safety first!

Keep Sounds in Check

  • A sound (or noise) machine effectively masks shifts in environmental or outside noises that can disturb sleep. 
  • The sounds of white noise or rain running continuously will help lull and keep your child asleep. 

Bedtime Routine 

Bedtime routines set your child up for sleep success. Creating consistent routines gives children of all ages a sense of security and predictability. Children who participate in the same bedtime routine each night are less likely to resist bedtime, fall asleep quicker, sleep longer, and wake up less during the night. 

An example of a bedtime routine could look like this: 

  • Bath (every night, if possible) We encourage a bath each night to relax the body and lower the core temperature. 
  • Diaper/toileting
  • Pajamas
  • Read books and/or sing songs
  • Place your child in crib/bed awake and alone
  • Sound machine on (white noise or rain)
  • Lights out

On days when naps have been poor, opt for an early bedtime. You can put your child to bed as early as 6:00 pm. Anything earlier could result in early morning wakes. 

Age-Appropriate Sleep Times

I am sure you have witnessed the effects of an overtired child. They can often become inconsolable and difficult to reason with. To prevent overtired behaviours, you will want to ensure that your little one is in bed at the correct time frame for their age. Typically, bedtime is around 7:00-7:30 pm for children up to age 5. You can check out an awake time cheat sheet in my highlights @weesleep_alana. Following wake windows for your child will prevent them from becoming overtired, having night wakes, and early morning rising (between 4-6 am).

Independent Sleep Habits

We can teach our children independent sleep habits as early as the newborn phase. This includes putting your little one in the bassinet or crib completely awake. We want them to be aware of their surroundings so that when they do wake from sleep cycles there are no surprises to the environment they are currently in. 

Sleep props such as pacifiers, rocking, bouncing, holding, and feeding to sleep are commonly used to get children to sleep. These sleep props can become problematic when little ones experience challenges trying to connect their sleep cycles; essentially requiring you to get them back to sleep each time they wake. Using a wake, eat, play routine will help you move away from feeding to sleep. Feed your babe when they wake versus before sleep times.

Consistency is Key! 

The magic happens when you are consistent. Teaching our children new skills takes time, patience, persistence, and consistency. You can do hard things!  Consistency allows our children to adapt, and learn to use their new-found sleep skills.

If you feel like you have tried all of the above and are still struggling with a child who isn’t sleeping – Alana Metllo can help with that too! Sleep coaching with an expert like Alana might be the answer you’ve been looking for. At WeeSleep, our approaches are gentle, supportive, and guided. You can get the process started by booking a free 15-minute call, here.  

As a Kidco family, you can get the process started by using the promo code WEEKIDCO to receive 15% off of our one-to-one Rescue Me and Toddler Time coaching packages. We’re here to improve your child’s sleep health while supporting your family with the sleep they deserve. Visit us at to learn more about our sleep packages. 

Learn more about Alana Metallo, Certified Wee-Sleep Consultant, by clicking here.

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