As a new parent, often one of the biggest challenges you’ll face is getting your little one to sleep well. Whether it’s having decent daytime naps or encouraging your baby to do longer stretches during the night, baby’s sleep patterns (or lack of them) can be exhausting and confusing.
One of the most asked questions amongst new mums and dads is how they can get their baby’s sleep to improve. Unfortunately there is no quick solution. All babies are different and there isn’t a one size fits all approach. There are hundreds of different methods available online, through books or word of mouth, and often a combination of a few different methods can help.
As babies become more active, they tend to burn more energy. Therefore, ensuring that your youngster is appropriately stimulated throughout the day, alongside appropriate wake windows, can help to ensure that they feel tired before bedtime.
Ensuing you spend a few hours having fun on a playmat can be a great addition to your daytime routine, and could potentially have a positive effect on how your little one sleeps.
In this blog post we’ll explore how you could implement some additional playtime activities into your day and discover how it could help both your child’s and your sleep!
1. Help to relax a fussy baby
If your baby is fussy or irritable before bedtime or nap time, you may feel like you have a battle on your hands to get them down for a snooze. Babies are notorious for picking up on other people’s emotions, so if you’re getting stressed by the situation, you may find yourself in a vicious circle. We suggest using a playmat to help create a relaxing and calming environment for your little one before they’re due for a sleep.
Adding a playmat to your baby’s bedtime routine can be a great way to signal to your little one that it’s time to wind down and get ready for sleep. Dim the lights, play some calming music, and place their favourite cuddly toys or comfort blanket out on the play mat before enjoying some gentle playtime or story time together on the floor. Gently talk to your baby and explain to them that it’s almost time to go to bed. Schedule this in for 10 to 15 minutes before bedtime every night and ensure that it is part of your routine. Hopefully you’ll see an improvement and your baby will start to associate bedtime as a happy, calm experience.
2. Tummy time
Tummy time is such an important part of your child’s development, helping them to build core muscles and practise their movement skills. A soft playmat is the ideal place to practise tummy time, and you should ensure that you are giving your little one age appropriate time on their front every day to help aid their development.
Playmats can make tummy time really enjoyable by providing a colourful, interesting surface for your baby to look at while they’re on their tummy, helping to engage their senses too.
The more your child uses their muscles and practises their skills, the more energy they will be using. Naturally, this could help your baby feel more tired when it comes to nap time or bedtime, meaning that they will be easier to settle and put down in their cot.
If you’re travelling with your little one, you may be worried about how it will impact their sleep. After all, if they’re not sleeping in their usual bedroom, this could upend their routine a little.
The trick is to try to keep the environment as familiar as possible. This could include taking all of their favourite cuddly toys with you, their comfort blanket and even bringing their slept in sheets for their travel cot as they will be familiar with the smell.
If you have introduced a playmat into your routine, you should also ensure that you bring this with you too so that you can still have gentle playtime together before naps and bedtime.
The beauty of a playmat is the fact that they are easily transportable and can be packed up quickly if you’re on the move.
This continuity in your routine could help make the experience much smoother for everyone.