3 Common Sleep Mistakes Parents Make

Parenting is tough, we all know that.

Our babies didn’t come with a manual and as parents it’s up to us to figure out how this all works. Sometimes we get it right and other times we mess it up.

Mistakes happen in every other aspect of our life so it’s bound to happen in the realm of parenting, too.

But what happens when we do something we believe to be right only to then have it completely backfire on us?

As a certified baby sleep coach I am often contacted by parents pleading for help for this exact reason.

They implemented something at home in hopes it would help their child sleep better and longer and instead it did the exact opposite.

And since I am all about helping parents and kids get more sleep… I’m sharing what 3 of those common mistakes are so you can avoid them.

Sleep Mistake #1

Putting your child to bed later to encourage them to sleep in later in the morning

It seems natural right? Like adults, if the kids go to bed later they will naturally sleep in later in the morning.

Except not. This almost always backfires. And here’s why.

Kids are creatures of habit. If they always wake up at 6am, they’re probably going to wake up at 6am regardless of whether they went to bed at 7 or 10pm because that is just how they tick.

OR, in more extreme cases of over-tiredness at bedtime, some kids will actually wake up earlier than normal. Not only do over tired children have a harder time falling asleep at night, they also have a harder time transitioning through sleep cycles. As the night goes on and turns into early morning the sleep cycles become lighter and an over-tired child is more likely to wake during the transition and not have the ability to fall back asleep.

And we all know that over-tired kids are no ones friend, especially in the morning!

Sleep Mistake #2

Not following age appropriate wake times

Understanding and following age appropriate wake times is critical to establishing healthy sleep habits for your little one.

What is a wake time? A wake time is the amount of time your child is awake between nap or bedtime periods. The younger the baby, the shorter the wake time and the more periods of sleep they will require during the day.

Wake times are important to follow to prevent your child from getting over tired. As we know from above, over tired babies have a harder time falling asleep and staying asleep through sleep cycle transitions which then leads to short naps and early morning wakings.

So what is an age appropriate wake time for your child? That depends on their age. I have broken down wake times by age in this blog post.

Or check out my Wake Times Guide – an in-depth e-book that covers wake times from 16- weeks to 5-years old and everything you need to know about when to adjust wake times and how to handle nap transitions.

The term “a well-rested child rests well” is such a true statement when it comes to kids sleep. Even if the wake time seems short, trust me… it works!

Sleep Mistake #3

Not having an established bedtime routine

The word “routine” can seem daunting to some. But it doesn’t have to be complicated.

A bedtime routine is only as in depth as you make it. But they are still important nonetheless. There are no hard and fast rules for a bedtime routine as long as you have one.

Children, especially young children thrive on routine. Not only do routines help set expectations, they can also change behaviours – so if bedtime is a struggle in your household it may be because of a lack of routine. By setting a routine, your child will know exactly what to expect and how the next hour or less is going to play out. At first it may hardly seem with it but with consistency that routine will make bedtime a breeze.

Routines create healthy sleep habits which in turn help your child fall asleep, stay asleep and wake up well-rested.

So there you have it. If you’re reading this post, it’s probably because at least one of these common sleep mistakes rings true for your household.

Don’t be hard on yourself… you don’t know what you don’t know. But I am so happy that now you do know where things might have been going wrong.

And of course, I understand that some of these things may seem easier said than done so if that’s the case for you I would love to chat further.

You can check out my sleep packages here where I offer one-on-one individualized support to help your baby or toddler (and you) get more sleep.


Struggling with bedtime with your toddler?

Download my FREE Toddler Bedtime Routine Guide – a 7-page in-depth guide to creating a bedtime routine that works!