When children are born, a new parent usually can’t wait for them to sleep through the night. You always hear stories about parents whose babies were sleeping through the the night at 1 week and you look at your 2 year old and think why won’t you go to sleep. If your child is having extreme difficulty with sleep, there are local centers that will provide help. Robert Wood Johnson in New Brunswick is the closest to Woodbridge. http://www.rwjuh.edu/medical_services/sleep_disorders_center.html
An important step in getting your baby or child to sleep is to have a bedtime routine. A bedtime routine is also a good idea for older children. When your baby is small, a good routine is to give him a warm bath, read to him, nurse him or give a bottle and then put him down and soothe him until he falls asleep. Soothing activities would be talking gently to your baby and rubbing his back until he falls asleep. Some parents also find co sleeping helps their baby to sleep. If you co sleep, remember to take measures to make sure your baby doesn’t fall off the bed. Co sleepers are products for babies that attach to your bed so you’re co sleeping but there is no chance of anyone rolling over on the baby or baby falling out of your bed. these can be found at many local baby stores including, Dedstination Baby which is located in Woodbridge,http://www.destination-baby.com/. Some parents practice the crying it out method for sleeping. This is when you put your baby in his crib and allow him to cry at increasing intervals until he eventually falls asleep. I do not recommend this because studies have shown that allowing a baby to cry him or herself to sleep often causes the baby to bond less with the parent and be less trusting that someone will come when they are in distress.
For an older child a routine is also important. Start by having a set bedtime, most preschoolers need 10 hours of sleep per night and school age children (5-13) usually need 8-10 hours of sleep. A good routine for older children is a snack, bath time and then either you can read them a story or they can read a story to themselves. Some parents also co sleep with older children but I don’t recommend doing this because I think most children need to sleep in their own bed by this time.
If your baby wakes in the night, determine if she is hungry, sick or has a dirty diaper and if nothing appears to be wrong, rub her back until she falls back asleep. Try to not pick her up. If your older child wakes up often in the night and comes to your room, walk them back to their bed and don’t allow them to sleep in your bed. An exception to this is if they are sick and you feel more comfortable with them next to you so you can keep an eye on them.
Sleeping issues are very common with children and can be very frustrating to parents. Do the best you can, try not to worry too much and it will all work out.