Being a parent means that you are never far from endless amounts of toys. Dolls, puzzles, cars, stuffed animals and blocks…chances are you constantly find yourself falling over them or stepping on pieces.
Toys are an important part of every child’s development. It teaches them actions and reactions, how to interact and it also teaches them about how things work. However, whilst they are common place in the living room, bedroom, bathroom and even the kitchen, there is one place that they should not be and that is the cot.
No Toys In The Crib
The cot is a place that should be kept for sleeping only. However, a belief has arisen that toys can enhance the child’s experience of going to bed. It has become a given that we should now fill the cot with colourful toys and gadgets that fit onto the rails and play music and sounds but in reality they become a distraction and actually work by stimulating the child. This goes contrary to teaching them the skill of sleep.
One of the most common toys seen in a cot is the mobile but even this is not recommended if you want your child to get into the correct habit of sleeping correctly. It may seem like the mobile works as you see you child laying there, calmly, staring at its pretty colours and sounds. But they are in fact doing the opposite – exciting your child and stopping them from going to sleep.
Bedtime is for sleep
A child associates toys with playtime, during the day whether at home or in nursery they are surrounded by toys and this encourages them to play. Therefore, a cot full of toys will mean that your child will want to play rather than relax and close their eye. Bedtime is the time for sleep and not the time for play.
When you think about a situation where an adult has problems sleeping, they are often told that they should relax before bed and limit any activities that could be stimulating. This will help that person to learn that they should sleep when they are in bed. Therefore, all electronics should be put away as well as books and there should be no television. The same is true for babies.
To us adults, toys may not seem as stimulating as a phone but a child would prefer to play with their toys than go to sleep which is the same as an adult staying awake in bed and checking emails.
Soothing and comfort
Despite the belief that there should be no toys in the cot there are some exceptions that can be made, especially where children have a toy that makes them feel secure such as a stuffed animal. This is the toy that they have with them every minute of every day and cannot leave the house without. These do actually work by soothing them and offering comfort which in turn relaxes them.
As a parent you can do a lot to help your child get a good night sleep and leaving the cot free of toys is one of them.
It is all about getting them into a habit and a good routine and as soon as your child becomes used to a basic and simple cot with no distractions the easier they will find it to fall into a peaceful, deep sleep.
I can create a customised sleep plan to help you and little one. In our initial consultation we would discuss strategies, troubleshoot possible problems, and learn how to address bedtime, naptime, night-wakings, or any other specific issues you might be encountering. Our aim together is to teach your little one the skills necessary to enable them to happily sleep through the night (and take long, restful naps during the day).
See more on Judy’s Blog. Contact Judy for a personalized consultation for your baby’s sleep.