How do you help children to sleep through the night?

There is lots of advice about, how to help your children to sleep through the night. It is up to you  to choose which suits your parenting style and more importantly which suits your child.

Listening to James Wilson http://www.thesleepgeek.co.uk/  sleep practioner from The Children's Sleep charity on Radio 4 today, reinforced how you need to listen to your child and wait until the time is right for them, to try any new sleep training techniques.

Children develop and mature at different rates and we are all too keen to group them together. Sleep routines are individual, and one child may have the emotional maturity to settle themselves to sleep and another may not. When a child is born they will all react to their new environment differently and parenting styles are all unique, so comparing children is not always helpful. Especially when suffering from a lack of sleep!  Medical experts have shown lack of sleep affects almost every function from eyesight and brain processing, to mood and appetite - so if you are tired cut yourself some slack and recognise things won't be perfect.

If you are struggling to help your child sleep through the night and have tried lots of different sleep techniques, then ask a health professional for advice. They are there to support you and will be able to recommend community organisations, where you can meet other parents going through the same things, as you are.

A bedtime routine can help your child settle better and a story at bedtime is a perfect way to start this process. #BathBookBed http://www.booktrust.org.uk/books/children/bath-book-bed/ is a campaign which was launched by Booktrust to reinforce this message.

Children are watching screens before bed and are creating habits, that could prevent a good nights sleep. If they can open up a book with you at bedtime, you will be making memories to treasure. I read to my children at bedtime, long after they needed me to. We shared special times together over the pages of Harry Potter and are bonded together with our love of stories.

Stories can still be shared at bedtime wherever you are in the world, I read stories to my cousin's son in South Africa via Skype. The calming sound of a recognisable voice across the miles, at bedtime has been therapeutic for him and me!

One thing to remember - keep things in perspective, children will sleep at night eventually. Getting support from family and friends is key, an hour to yourself is so valuable to recharge and SLEEP..........

Looking for books to read to your children at bedtime?

Book time to meet The Reading Champion every Wednesday at The Forum http://www.theforumsouthend.co.uk/about/ 11.30-12.30. I will recommend books for your child.