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It’s hard as a parent waking up every few hours to tend to your baby. You are tired and want a good night’s sleep. Don’t stress yourself out too much because there are helpful hints and techniques to help your baby sleep longer throughout the night.

The term “sleep training” is often used to describe ways parents help their baby achieve a full night’s sleep. There are several methods usually used to sleep train babies. One approach may work for you and another approach may work for another parent.

Sleep-Training Methods

Self-Soothing

The self-soothing approach can sometimes be difficult for parents. With this approach, you refrain from nighttime soothing and allow the infant to cry alone until they fall asleep. The goal is to get the baby to soothe themselves back to sleep and not rely on you to soothe them. This method should not be used until your baby is at least 6 months old and has slept through the night before.

If this method is successfully working for you and your baby, you should notice after a few days that your baby is crying less and for shorter lengths of time during the night. You should not allow your baby to continue to cry if they are not starting to soothe themselves. If you’re concerned, talk to your pediatrician about an appropriate length of time your child can go without you soothing them.

Parental Soothing

This method is the opposite of self-soothing. This method will take a bit longer to successfully work.   When using the Parental Soothing method, you will comfort your baby each time they cry. The goal is for them to adjust to a full night’s sleep at their own pace.

If you have been regularly soothing your child up and they are not able to sleep through the night, trying a different method may be what you and your baby need.

Fading Method

This method is a combination of the first two methods. With the Fading Method, you wean your baby from nighttime soothing. This method is usually done slowly by lessening your nighttime soothing over the course of a few weeks.

There are two ways to use the fading method: camping out and check-ins. To use the camping out approach, you can sit in a chair near your baby’s crib until they are asleep. If they wake up and cry or fusses, you slightly soothe them. Every few nights, move the chair farther away but still within view. Hopefully, within two weeks, you should be able to leave the room after putting your baby down to sleep.

For the check-in approach, put your baby in their crib for bed and leave the room. Leave your baby for short periods of time, about 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, if your baby is fussing, return and comfort them. You may lightly pat your baby or tell them that it’s time to sleep and then leave the room.

Extra Tips to Help Sleep Train Your Baby

When you’re beginning a sleep training method, remember that it can take a while to see progress. Below are some tips to help you with sleep training your baby:

  • Keep the lights dim, speak very softly and keep stimulation to a minimum
  • Keep nighttime feedings calm and quiet
  • Remember, crying always seems longer to a parent— an infant under 5 months old will cry fifteen to twenty minutes on average.  

Keep in mind it may take a while to find the right routine to help your baby sleep through the night.  Sometimes, a specific method just won’t work. You may find that a combination of methods or your own personal approach works better. Good luck! 

Written by Lauren Morelli
Director of Marketing and Communications

Have comments or suggestions? Reach out to me at marketing@bsaece.com.

Physical and mental activity are both important for the well-being of kids and essential to a healthy lifestyle. In the winter months, it is very easy to fall into the habit of lessening activities and exercise since you are indoors more often.

The American Medical Association recommends that children get 60 minutes of exercise a day. Keeping your kids physically active year-round is important for numerous reasons. It reduces the chances of them being overweight, increases strength in muscles and bones, improves posture, releases stress and it can even help improve concentration in school.

It is also important for your child to exercise their brain. Reading, educational board games and crafts are easy ways to get your kids to use their imagination.

So, what ways can you get your kids up and moving and keep their minds active when the temperature take a dip? See our suggestions below for keeping your kids mentally and physically active in the winter.

Go Bowling or Ice Skating

Bowling is a great way to keep active and it provides some healthy family competition! Go out the bowling alley to enjoy a few games. If you don’t mind cooler temperatures, you can venture to an ice skating rink for a fun winter activity that can actually burn about twice as many calories as walking.

Create a Reading Chart

Put together a reading chart and set goals for your child for how many minutes per day they read. Have little prizes or rewards for your child when they reach or exceed their goals. This will increase their literacy and help foster a love of reading.

Visit the a Community or Fitness Center

Many community centers and gyms have classes specifically for kids. There are even some gyms just for kids! Look into things like indoor swimming, dance, gymnastics or martial arts. There are places that have winter sports teams for kids, such as soccer, volleyball or basketball. Some centers even have art classes or offer chess lessons. You may even find classes that your whole family can participate in!

Have a Crafting Day

Plan a day or afternoon of crafts with your child. Crafting helps kids to learn to follow directions, use their imagination and learn new skills. Plus, your child will love being creative together with you!

Play Outside

If you don’t mind the cold weather, get out and play outside. Go for a walk, build a snowman, go sled riding, or take the family skiing, snow tubing, or snowboarding. Older kids can even help you shovel snow outside. Just be sure to bundle up!

Plan a Family Game Night

Create some friendly family competition with a game night! Games a fun way for kids to exercise their minds. Board games can teach important social skills, such as communicating verbally, sharing, taking turns and enjoying interaction with others. 

Go to the Mall

Walking around a mall can provide a moderate amount of exercise and you can get some shopping done too! If possible, take the stairs instead of escalators or elevators.

Whatever you do to get your kids moving this winter, be sure that you’re staying active as well, so that you can set a healthy example. Have fun!

 

Written by Lauren Morelli
Director, Marketing and Communications

Have comments or suggestions? Feel free to email me at lmorelli@bsaece.com