Arranging your child’s bedroom in a way that supports sleep can not only promote a more relaxing environment to fall asleep in but also an environment that supports resettling, should your child wake during the night. You are aiming for the bedroom to be a calm, inviting space that your child associates with sleep.
Let’s consider a range of strategies that can help you to create that for your child:
Make The Children’s Bedroom A Screen Free Zone
- Aim to make the bedroom, and especially the bed, a no-screen zone, even during the day. Research shows that TV watching in the bedroom impacts young children’s sleep. The artificial blue light emitted by screens of televisions, smartphones, tablets, computers and gaming systems promotes alertness and impacts our sleep-wake cycle or circadian rhythm.
- Many parents find that using a nightlight emitting a red-light wavelength can support sleep by stimulating the production of the sleepy hormone, melatonin. If your child is scared of the dark we recommend using a red night light, a lot of parents use soft glow room thermometers which have a gentle orange glow when the room is the right temperature. Try to avoid leaving the door open as this can be a fire hazard. Avoid being able to see blue lights as discussed here.
How Do I Make My Child’s Room Sleep Friendly?
- Set the thermostat to a slightly cooler temperature to support your toddler to feel sleepy. Aim for between 16 – 18 degrees. Breathable cotton clothing can also help with keeping cool at night.
- Top Tip – put socks on your baby, under their sleep clothes and the sleeping bag. Room temperature normally drops at around 5 am, this can wake your child as their feet suddenly get cold. Often the extra pair of socks can help with early rising.
- Keep the bedroom quiet or consider using a white noise machine to mask outside sounds – particularly if your child has been used to this as a baby. Use dark curtains to block out light.
What To Watch Out For In Older Child’s Bedroom?
- Attend to any objects that cast potentially frightening shadows at night. This could leave a child frightened. You can ask your child if there is anything they want to take out of their bedroom to get a sense of what may potentially scare them.
- If your child plays in their bedroom, involve them in tidying away toys before bed, so there is a clear separation between “play time” and “sleep time”.
- If your child shares their room with a sibling, ensure each child has a separate space to call their own.
Bedroom Set Up For A Newborn To 1 Year Old
- In the room you should have cot or Moses or travel cot or carry cot. Use a good quality, firm, flat and waterproof mattress covered with cotton sheet. You will need a sleeping bag for a baby and light cellular blankets (remember to tuck those in, never have them loose in the cot with a baby).
- Avoid using sleep pods or nests, sleepyhead, sleep positioners, hammocks, cot bumpers, pillows, duvets, loose heavy, non-breathable blankets, comforters or soft toys for children under 1 year old. Make sure to always follow Lullaby trust safety recommendations! to prevent your baby from SIDS.
Bedroom Set Up For Older Child
- Use comfortable bedding and pillows that are appropriate for the temperature of the room – don’t forget to let your child help select their bedding or make it relevant to their likes and interests.
- The Lullaby Trust recommends no bedding until after 12 months and ideally not until the child is using a toddler bed as opposed to a cot with raised sides. In these sleep guides you will find great techniques that will help you with transitioning from co-sleeping, transitioning to the cot or how to transition to a toddler bed.
How To Avoid Any Bedroom Anxieties:
- You can leave an item or an object that reminds your child of you to support your child to manage any sense of separation anxiety. For example, they could place one of your pyjama tops under their pillow as a reminder that you are never far away. A photo could serve a similar purpose.
- Many children have a transitional object: a particular favourite teddy or blanket that helps them to feel secure when you are not there. This can be a great support to a child. If your child has a transitional object, encourage them to take this into the bedroom at sleep time. You can use “teddy” as a means of talking about sleep needs. For example, “teddy has had a busy day, and wants to be quiet and calm now. Can you keep teddy company and help him drop to sleep?”
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For more advice on how to help your baby sleep and find a baby sleep solution that works for you and your family, you can check out our 1 : 1 consultation services or our new baby sleep guides which come with free access to my Sleepy Village Facebook community for easy access to get your questions answered.