choosing a pediatrician

Your baby’s sleep problems: getting your little one to bed

Few children go to bed without some struggle and adjustment. It’s rare that a child sleeps in his own bed by himself without a lot of prompts and learning to stick to rules that don't change. There a few ways deal with your child’s sleep problems.

Keep the routine short

A routine under 30 minutes is ideal because it encourages them to go to bed and easily fall asleep. If the routine lasts longer than that or becomes too elaborate, babies wind up rather than settle down.

Dealing with head banging and body rocking

Babies may use rhythmic, repetitive behaviors to help settle themselves to sleep at bedtime or during the night to get back to sleep. It’s most common in the first year of life. They hit hard from a few minutes to half an hour or more, but they’re unlikely to hurt themselves.

Here’s what you can do to make things more quiet and comfortable:

  • Move the crib away from the wall.
  • Put rubber carpet protectors under the crib's legs to cut down movement and noise. Place a thick carpet under the crib.
  • Try not to go in and check on your child. Your presence may reinforce this behavior as an attention-getter rather than a self-comforting habit.


Toddlers and preschoolers have the capacity to dream as soon as they learn to talk. Young children usually can't remember their dreams, even the ones that awaken them. If you notice that your child is having frequent nightmares, ask a health professional to help figure out the source of stress.

Separation anxiety

For a preschooler who is stressed by separation or has been co-sleeping with his parents for a long time, try placing a mattress on the floor of your room and giving him rewards for moving closer and closer to his own room. 

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