I love sleep hacks! These are products that help kids sleep better, without your help. Here’s a list of what I love:
I love swaddles for babies 0 - 3 months old. They recreate the position they were in the womb. I hear parents all the time saying that their baby doesn’t like to be swaddled, but the truth is all babies love it. Babies squirm, arch their back and cry when they’re overtired, and this can make them look like they’re fighting the swaddle. I recommend swaddling your baby for every sleep situation. Not only does it help make sleep stretches longer, but it also lowers the risk of SIDS. How is that for a good reason to start using them? My favorite swaddle is the Sleepea Swaddle. Very simple to use, and makes it impossible for baby to break out of it.
White noise machines.
I’m a big fan of white noise. For infants, it reproduces what they heard in the womb, helping them calm down, fall asleep and stay asleep. For children of all ages (and adults) it tunes out external noise and encourages more restful, uninterrupted sleep. I love the Dhom Sleep Machine; it has a travel size one!
Wake up clocks.
These are clocks that let your child know when it’s time to go to bed and when it’s ok to get out of bed. They help tackle the 5am morning starts, and the arguments over when it’s time to go to bed. My favorite wake up clock is the Claessens Kids Kid Sleep Classic Trainer. It is pretty straight forward: It lights up a sleeping character or an awake character indicating it’s either time to sleep or time to wake up and younger toddlers don’t need to read numbers to use it.
Blackout panels are a must for your child’s bedroom or place where they sleep. Sunlight is what tells our body to wake up and to stay awake. Inexpensive blackout panels are easy to find. For travel, I love the Gro-Anywhere blinds. Very easy to pack, hang and dismantle.
They’re cute. They’re soft. And they give your child exactly that, security, without creating a dependency to fall asleep. Blankies can be a great way to make bedtime exciting. A good trick is to only pull them out for naps and bedtime, this way they become something to look forward to when it’s time to go to bed.
Be aware! Not all sleep aids are good. Some of these will result in sleep dependencies and you’ll be in trouble once your kiddo grows out of them. These include:
Cribs that provide some sort of movement or vibration.
Special blankets or sleep sacks that provide weight to calm baby down.
Giving your kid melatonin - this is probably the worst idea. Your kid’s body will never learn to do the job of going asleep on its own.