Sleeping & Night-time

How much sleep do babies and young children need?

Knowing how much sleep your baby or child needs may be…

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Creating a bedtime routine for your child

Try to create a routine which is relaxing and calming (such…

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Getting young children ready for bed

A regular, predictable sleep schedule is a brilliant tool for helping…

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Baby sleep checklist

It’s natural to feel anxious when your baby won’t settle –…

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Feeding your baby at night

Because babies have such tiny tummies, ‘little-and-often feeds’ are normal –…

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Why has my baby’s sleep routine changed?

How much, how often and when babies sleep can change from…

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Safer sleep advice for babies

We follow the Lullaby Trust‘s advice for safer sleep for babies:…

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Helping your baby to settle (under three months)

The fact is, nearly all babies need a little help to…

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Tips to help your baby to settle (3-6 months)

Here are some tips to help your baby settle: It can…

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Helping babies aged 6 months + to get to sleep

For babies 6 months+ Put your baby to sleep awake. This…

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What temperature should my baby’s room be?

It’s important to manage your baby’s room temperature to make sure…

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Common sleep problems for young children

Not staying in bed or not sleeping A bedtime routine is…

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Where should my baby sleep?

For the first six months we recommend your baby sleeps in…

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Helping your disabled child to sleep

Contact is a great charity and resource for families with disabled…

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Coping with night terrors

Night terrors usually start between the ages of 3 and 8.…

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Coping with nightmares

Nightmares Nightmares typically start between the ages of 3 and 6.…

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Sleeping & Night-time

Common sleep problems for young children

Not staying in bed or not sleeping

A bedtime routine is the best place to start, but it takes practice to get to used to! If your child gets up, keep taking them back to bed with as little fuss as possible.

Anticipating regular requests can help ease the transition: make sure they’re changed or that they’ve visited the toilet before bed, and keep a beaker of water within reach for if they get thirsty.

If they’re not sleepy, you may need to adjust the timing of daytime naps so they’re not too close to bedtime. Getting enough activity during the day also ensures they’re tired at night.

It’s worth checking meal and snack-times aren’t throwing off your sleep schedule either.

Read our key advice for creating a bedtime routine.

Disrupted sleeping patterns

It’s natural for sleep patterns to change from time to time: often it’s just because your little one is growing and developing, or extra tired from learning lots of new skills. They may also be reacting to changes in the family routine – for instance when you’re all away from home. Sticking to the usual bedtime routine can help your little one feel more secure and at ease.

Most children have trouble sleeping every now and then but, if you’re concerned lack of sleep is becoming a problem, your GP can signpost you to specialist support. Talk to your doctor or health visitor too if you think illness or medication is affecting your child’s sleep.

Read our article on why your baby’s sleep routine might have changed.

Too worried to sleep

Encouraging your little ones to talk about their anxieties means they’re less likely to brood over them in bed. It’s quite common for children to worry about monsters and scary things too: talk about what’s worrying them, reassure them you’re close by, and leave the door ajar (or use a night light).

Crying or screaming

Any of the common sleeping problems above can cause young children to cry at night, so it’s worth running through the ones above first. Toddlers may also cry as a way to show their independence: try offering limited choices in their bedtime routine, for example, which bedtime story to read, or which night clothes they wear. If your little one can’t sleep because of pain or illness, get advice from your GP or health visitor (to put your mind at rest, too).

Get more information about coping with nightmares in young children and coping with night terrors in young children.

Read more from the NHS:

Want more advice or support?

You can talk via online chat to our family support workers and get advice specific to your situation and your family.

Visit www.actionforchildren.org.uk/talk

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