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Early School Start Times and Childhood Development

Put an end to your little one’s middle-of-the-night awakenings (and score more shut-eye yourself).

Let’s face it: If your baby isn’t sleeping, you aren’t sleeping. So it’s no wonder that for most new parents, getting their little one to snooze better is a top priority. While this isn’t something that you can rush, take comfort in the fact that by the time they are nine months old, 70 percent of babies sleep through the night (meaning they sleep nonstop from the time they are put to bed until a reasonable morning hour, such as after sunrise). No matter how old your infant is, these four tips will up the chance that your child will soon sleep soundly all night long.

Sleep Training Tips for Children

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Be Consistent at Bedtime. Babies who have a regular bedtime routine sleep better and cry less during the night. When your little one is between six and eight weeks old, pick a series of soothing evening activities—such as a bath, followed by story time and lullabies—and repeat the sequence every night at the same time. Your baby will find the familiarity of the routine comforting, and it will signal to him or her that bedtime is approaching and it’s time to wind down.

Let Your Child Fall Asleep On His or Her Own. Although snuggling a sleeping baby in your arms may make you feel warm and fuzzy inside, doing so only increases the odds that you’ll both be wide awake come 2:00am. At the end of your child’s bedtime routine, rock or nurse your baby until he or she is drowsy, and then put your baby into the crib before he or she dozes off in your arms. This will teach your tot how to fall back asleep without anyone’s help if he or she awakens in the middle of the night. That way, you don’t have to keep running into your child’s room all night and can get more solid slumber.

Embrace the Sun. If your baby’s body clock (a.k.a. circadian rhythm (body clock) A daily rhythmic activity cycle, based on 24- hour intervals. This is often called your "body clock."
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) is off schedule, he or she may have trouble sleeping through the night. Luckily, exposing your child to sunlight first thing in the morning—whether by opening the blinds as soon as your baby wakes up or taking him or her on an a.m. walk in the stroller—can reset your child’s internal clock.

Don’t Mess with Naptime. It may seem logical to cut back on the amount that your baby sleeps during the day in order to help him or her sleep more at night, but this method can seriously backfire. Infants who sleep for the duration of their naps actually snooze better at night.

Remember: Every baby is different, and it takes some infants longer to sleep through the night than others. If your little one is waking regularly during the p.m., be patient—and call your pediatrician if you have any concerns.