Nightsleep. Building Routines And Winding Down


Greetings everyone,
Did you have a quiet night last night with real “Adult Time” without disturbances? We hope that you did, for your sake and for your children.

We all know how important sleep is. Most of us also know that our children really need to sleep enough to be able to make it throughout the day.

Many children need more sleep than their parents think:
children under the age of 7-9 years old need between 11-13 hours of sleep, every night. A child who sleeps enough will actually spend 40% of his or her childhood asleep.

Watch our video on night sleep right here. It’s only a couple of minutes long.

Sleep is Vital to Growth And Health.

Children grow during sleep. A peptide hormone called “human growth hormone”, also known as somatropin, is released during the entire day and through i.e. physical exercise, but for small children it is especially released during the deep sleep phase. Therefore, if the child doesn’t get the right, rejuvenating sleep, it can actually affect the child’s growth.
The hormones that regulate appetite and hunger can also be strongly affected by lack of sleep; this can lead to a lack of appetite or even to overeating, and to having preferences for fat, sugar and other high-calorie options.

A shortage of sleep will also affect the general well being, the mood, concentrating skills and on top of that the fine and gross motor skills, which can lead to behavioral problems, and poor performance during the day.

Some things just aren’t debatable. Your child’s sleep is one of them, and if your child is going through a phase of not wanting to sleep or finding it difficult to find the peace and ‘let go’ when in bed, it can become a very frustrating circle of negative expectations and worrying.

Creating a “Winding Down” atmosphere and establishing good routines can help you and your child during those and all other nights.

Winding Down And Going To Sleep

Here are 7 tips and advice on creating an atmosphere that will hopefully benefit you and make it much easier for your child to wind down and eventually fall asleep:

1. Start early and turn off radio, tv, computers etc.

2. Make sure that you have really connected with your child during the afternoon and evening

3. Reduce family stress, loud conversations or discussions.

4. Lit a soy- or beeswax candle instead of electric lights in the child’s room when tucking in. The natural and dim light allows the child’s hormones to understand that it is night time

5. Keep the room cooled and make sure the air is fresh

6. Establish a consistent bedtime. Stick to it during holidays and weekends

7. Create routines and keep to them: washing/bathing, brushing teeth, putting on night clothes, walking to bed after saying goodnight to siblings/other parent, reading a not too long bedtime story, singing a little song. Kissing good night, and finally leaving the room full of confidence, love and believing that it can work.

Thank you for reading all the way. We are grateful that you are here.

We’d love to hear from you- tell us about your challenges, ask questions or share your successes.

We are here to listen, answer questions, and to encourage you on this life long journey of parenthood.

Just click to comment below this post.

With Love,

Helle & Anna



Comments (4)

  • Paulie Cole

    What about napping? My grandson all of a sudden doesn’t nap. He just sings and manners the whole time. He is 21 months old. He has the same sweet rhythm, but no nap! Help.

    • AnnaF

      Dear Paulie,

      Thank you very much for reaching out on our blog!
      We would love to help you on this issue of napping during the day.

      Sleeping can be blissful, yet of course also stressful for parents when it doesn’t work the way it is intended.
      We are glad to hear that you are aware of the child’s daily rhythm and routines! So our advice to you today is more about really looking into all the aspects of the day:

      The questions below are for you to reflect on, and we hope they are useful to you and maybe other readers.
      Maybe they can also inspire you to discover other aspects that we don’t mention here or know about:

      – What time of the day does your child nap? Only one nap ( between 2-4 hours) is recommended after the child’s first year. Preferably around 12.00 AM.

      – Did your child engage enough in physical movement during the day? It is also important that your child is physically tired when it is being tucked in. A classical advice would be to go for a walk every morning (no such thing as bad weather, only improper dressing, right? :-)). After your walk, you can come home and prepare the meal before the nap.

      – what does your child eat before the nap? Perhaps your child needs something that’s digested more slowly; i.e. millet or oatmeal porridge with linseeds in it and butter on top?

      TIP: If your child isn’t hungry enough during meals, make sure you don’t really give any snacks between them- that way, the child will build a natural hunger. (so for example: skip the snack on your walk).

      Do you still breastfeed or give the child a bottle of milk before naps and during night sleep? My advice is to skip the bottle and breastfeeding after the first year. When you give a child over the age of 1 a pacifier or a bottle, it often actually just needs the comfort that only you can provide. And in worst case it can be the beginning of a really bad habit of emotional eating.

      – where does your child nap? In bed or in a stroller outside? Your child will sleep well in fresh air, so remember that regardless where the child sleeps.

      – Do you practice being really present with your child before the nap? If the child feels that it didn’t really get “you”, maybe it will be more reluctant to go to sleep.

      – What about disturbances? Those could be i.e. noise, but also other things like changes in your family life that affect all of you. Such things will often also naturally affect the child’s sleep. Sleeping is also letting go of control, and you need to feel safe and content to let go and fall asleep. Could there be anything in your or your child’s life right now that could impact it’s ability and willingness to go to sleep?

      We hope that these questions were useful! Please let us know how it goes 🙂


      Helle and Anna

    • AnnaF

      Dear Paulie,
      We just realised that you wrote that it’s your grandson and not your son 🙂
      But the advice will still be the same.

      One additional question is: at what time does he sleep at night, and at what time does he wake up? Recommended sleeping pattern during nights is between 7 PM and 7 AM.
      Good luck 🙂
      Helle and Anna

  • AnnaF

    Hi Ro,
    It should be all fixed now 🙂