How to Create a Sleep Sanctuary for your Little Ones

Understanding the Sleep Sanctuary?

  • A ‘sleep sanctuary’ is an environment for your child that is very calming and comfortable

  • When you bring your child into this room, you want them to immediately understand this is where sleep comes quickly and naturally

  • This works for babies, toddlers or preschoolers and even adults!

  • These 5 steps will make the nightly journey into sleep easier and much more relaxing for your little one and for you!

Step 1: Keep it simple

  • One of the biggest mistakes we can make is creating a ‘carnival atmosphere’

  • It’s so tempting to cover walls with all the adorable stencils available, hang a cute musical mobile over the cot and fill the shelves and cot with stuffed animals, dancing lights…..Pinterest is amazing right!?

  • When it comes to where children sleep, less is more

  • Why? Simply put all that extra ‘stuff’ can be distracting and can cause over stimulation

  • Highly recommend you declutter your child’s room where possible or at minimum declutter the cot or bed

  • Remember that when it comes to the cot, ‘bare is best’. Not only is this more calming but safer! (Sadly, the statistics tell us that suffocations in cots and bassinets are still occurring as a result of an overcrowded space)

Step 2: Keep it dark

  • Contrary to popular belief, babies are not afraid of the dark

  • In fact, most babies actually prefer a darker sleep environment than we as adults do

  • One of the biggest reasons babies wake up too early in the mornings is simply because they are so sensitive to even the slightest changes in light levels meaning they will wake as soon as any morning light starts to enter the room

  • We highly recommend blackout blinds for every sleep day or night

  • There are black-out options for whether you own your home or you are renting

Step 3: Keep it quiet….but not too quiet

  • We say a baby’s room can never be too dark but it can be too quiet

  • We can’t always control the surrounding sounds when our little one is asleep so being too quiet can mean the noises of life can be disruptive

  • Despite our efforts to create a quiet space there are doorbells, traffic, construction, other kids or that moment you accidentally drop your phone right outside their door!

  • Two recommendations are:

a) Get your child used to some ‘background noise’, like conversation, TV, housework and the like, from a young age so that they will be able to sleep through the part of your life that happens after they go to bed

b) Try a white noise machine which does a great job of ‘masking’ other sounds. Just make sure you don’t place the machine right beside the bed or cot as recent studies suggest that there can be negative impacts on hearing

Step 4: Keep it cool

  • One of the common mistakes we make is overdressing babies for bed

  • We want to keep them cozy and bundled up but we need to be careful

  • Remember that babies who are dressed in too many layers are at a higher risk of both overheating and SIDS

  • Most experts recommend keeping your baby’s room between 20-22 degrees Celsius

  • A great way to keep your baby warm and manage how warm they are through their sleep is a sleeping bag

Step 5: Keep it calm

  • Your child’s bedroom should become an oasis of calm starting about an hour before bedtime

  • During the rest of the day it’s great for them to have all kinds of loud, rowdy fun in their room

  • In that hour before bedtime everything that happens in their bedroom should be quiet and soothing

  • This accomplishes two very important bedtime goals:

a) You are not getting your child excited/overstimulated right before bed – even a great game of peekaboo with your baby can cause significant stimulation

b) Helps you set the tone for the night – your child will understand that rowdy fun time is over the day and there is less temptation to start playing games after you have put them into bed for the night

  • We’re not suggesting you become an unfeeling robot in the hour before bedtime!

  • Of course we mean lots of cuddles, singing, laughter, storytelling and so on

  • It’s just about keeping it calm


Step 1: Keep it simple

Step 2: Keep it dark

Step 3: Keep it quiet…but not too quiet

Step 4: Keep it cool

Step 5: Keep it calm

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