Everyone who has had a child – and even some who have only looked after a youngster – knows the pain of trying to lull them to sleep when they are restless, overtired, or unsettled. It can get stressful for the parent if their child refuses to settle, but a stressful atmosphere is not conducive for the little one to doze off and have a good rest, so it’s important that you try and avoid this if you can.
1) Make The Experience Calming
The point is to get your baby to sleep, so set up an environment which will help them. You should dim the lights, providing a soft, reassuring glow from a lamp or an open door. Bright lights will keep your baby awake just as they would keep you awake, and pitch blackness might alarm the child, so try to find a happy medium where they have enough light to see by, but not so much it will disturb them. You can then sit and sing them to sleep.
2) Make The Melody Repeat
The point of the tune is to gently lull the baby, and a repetitive melody will do this much more effectively than one which changes often. If your baby is listening to the sound, they will want to stay awake and keep listening if it keeps changing. A tune which remains the same will give them a sense of constancy and security which should help them nod off more quickly.
3) Establish A Bedtime Routine
Sing to your child last thing at night, when they’re sleepy and dozing, to establish it as a trigger for sleep. Our brains all respond to triggers, and babies are no different; set up a routine that they can become familiar with, and use it to calm them when they’re fussy and restless. If you can get their brain to associate your singing with sleep, they will more quickly doze off, just as you yourself may have cues that encourage you to go to sleep.
4) Gently Rock The Baby
Babies are often soothed by movement, perhaps because they associate it with being in the womb. Holding your baby and rocking them back and forth – either using a nursery glider, rocking chair, or just the motion of your arms – can help them feel calm, safe, and sleepy.
Many parents find that singing to their babies establishes strong bonds with them. There is something about sharing the rhythm of music with another person which brings you closer, so use this with your child. Take the lullaby time as a space to escape from the chaos of the day, a moment where both you and your baby can relax without interruptions or distractions. Focus on your baby’s breathing and heartbeat, and – if possible – hold them somewhere that they can focus on yours. This physical contact and the gentle connection of music will really help you to bond with each other.
6) Make It Yours
Even if you aren’t musically inclined, you can write your own lullaby for you and your baby. It may express something special or unique about your experience at their birth, or it might carry family sentiments. You might write several to reflect different moods or emotions, and choose the one which you feel is most fitting each night. There can be something extremely cathartic and positive about allowing your individual emotions to be channeled into the music, and your only audience is your child, so there’s no reason to feel self-conscious about it. Choose a rhythm which is simple and soothing, using a classic lullaby for guidance if you need it, and apply whatever words you feel are right.
Bedtime can be another stressful moment in already roller-coaster days, but it shouldn’t have to be. It should be a calming, pleasurable moment in which both you and your baby say goodbye to the day and feel grateful for each other, and safe together. This sort of gentleness will encourage your baby to sleep peacefully and calmly, and will make you feel better before you go to bed as well. Take the chance to breathe in time with your baby, and sing a lullaby to connect with them.
Jenny Han is a writer at Top essay writing services. She writes about education and teaching.
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