Soothing & Safe Bedroom
This might seem an obvious thing to say, but sometimes our kids’ bedrooms are not exactly a calm and soothing place. Try to keep it organized and minimized the amount of toys and stimulating games to a minimum.
You want your child’s room to be dark. On a scale from one to ten, ten being pitch black, you want your child’s bedroom to be around a seven or eight on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being pitch black. If you decide to leave on a night-light, make sure it’s not too bright, but gives enough light for your child to see his surroundings.
Your child’s bedroom should be quiet and away from the main activity area of your home. You don’t need to be whispering while your child naps or sleeps, but she shouldn’t be exposed to loud noises while sleeping.
Keep your child’s bedroom between 68 to 72 degrees F, since he will have a more restful sleep. Higher temperatures have been proven to increase the risk of SIDS in infants and babies, so make sure your baby is properly dressed and keep that temperature. The best way to see if your baby’s temperature is adequate, touch his chest, underneath his clothes. If his chest is warm and fine, that means he is fine, even if his hands or nose might be cold.
If your child is still a baby, dress him in flame-resistant and snug-fitting sleep clothes. You can cover your baby with a sleep sack if the pajamas are not enough to keep him warm. When choosing a sleep bag, make sure the width of the neck isn’t wide enough for your child to slip himself completely inside of the sack.
Keep the bedroom aired. Avoid exposing your baby to tobacco smoke, and do not smoke or let anyone smoke around your baby.
The Bed (or Crib) Is For Sleeping
World renowned sleep hygiene experts recommend that your child uses the bed for rest. It is best if your child doesn’t use it for doing her homework, for watching TV, for playing with her iPad… Doing non-sleep activities in bed can be bad for your child’s sleep.
The more things her brain associates her bed with, the less it will think of sleep when she is there. Our goal is to help our child’s brain to develop a strong association between bed (or crib) and sleep, so as soon as her head hits the pillow, sleep is the first thing in their mind
Don’t use bedroom as punishment. Sleeping area should be for sleeping, not for time outs. Their bedroom needs to be a secure, loving time, not a place associated with punishment and withdrawal from the family.
The crib is the only place where you leave your baby on his own, therefore you should make sure it’s 100% safe and soothing. Do not use your child’s crib for time-outs, to control tantrums, or for disciplining.
Additionally, do not use sleep itself as a punishment (i.e. if you don’t eat your dinner, I’ll send you to sleep earlier). Never use sending your child to sleep as a threat. You want your child to have a positive association with sleep.
Electronics – Free Bedtime and Bedroom
The use of electronics use should stop at least an hour before bedtime. The use of devices such as smartphones, computers, iPads and TV before bedtime will alter your child’s sleep negatively in the following ways:
- These electronics emit blue light, which is believed to be particularly important when it comes to establish your child’s internal circadian rhythms and their internal sleep clocks. The blue light suppresses the production of melatonin, which is necessary for your child to have a restful sleep.
- These devices engage and stimulate your child’s mind and keep him awake.
- When your child wakes up in the middle of the night, and goes to check her phone, iPad… her brain will be stimulated again, making it harder for her to go back to sleep.
- The use of electronics causes children to sleep less and be excessively tired the next day, which could have serious repercussions to their health, mood, weight, productivity, learning and development.
In our home, we do not allow any electronics in the bedroom. We have a common charging station in the study room where all the electronics are connected at night.
A note on safety
Additionally, there’s another good reason not to allow electronics in your child’s bedroom that has nothing to do with sleep. With the increasing risks of online predators, it is safer if your child doesn’t have the chance to do online activities at home without your supervision. We restrict my daughters’ computer use to their homework room (which is right by the kitchen), kitchen and living room. That’s it!
In addition to restricting the place in the house where they can use their computers and electronics, we have also installed parental control software that prevents them from accessing websites, chat rooms or youtube videos with adult content. We have created the same restrictions on all of their devices and Netflix accounts.
I hope this was useful and will help you provide your child with a soothing sleeping area.
Much love, Diana-