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Sleep consultant Dave Gibson answers your questions

Sleep consultant Dave Gibson answered some of the Loved By Parents community questions from our Facebook page:

Dealing with a new child in the house

Quite often you’ll find with a new baby in the house your child’s sleep routine gets disrupted again. The child feels jealous and wants to come into your bedroom and the child may start to wake up with nightmares and disturbances and needs your attention again.

The first thing to do is to assure your child that they’re still loved and they’re still going to get lots of attention. Certainly, don’t ask them to “grow up” because they may still feel like a little baby inside. The child will need to feel like they can explore this with you and maybe play at being a baby just to feel like they’re still the special one in the home.

Another thing I often recommend to parents is to try ‘golden time’. Golden time is when there are no interruptions, and you and your child will be playing one-on-one and they choose exactly what they want. So, the child will tell you how they want to play, what faces they want you to pull, and what toys they want you to play with. Golden time is allowed for 30 minutes. After 20 minutes, you then tell the child that the time’s almost up. At 10 minutes, tell the child there are 10 minutes left, then you count them down to one minute until golden time finishes. Hopefully, at the end of that, they’ve had one-on-one attention and feel like they’re special again.

What makes a good sleep routine?

I often get asked what makes a good sleep routine, and for me, it’s consistency and calm. Our aim is to get the child to sleep in a very quiet and soft environment, and to put a bedtime routine in – which would be having a bath, a bedtime story, tuck the child up, give them a teddy or comforter, and then gently leave the room.

I came across the Moshi Twilight app recently and I think that it’s a brilliant way of achieving that transition. You hit ‘play’ on the app and you get a bedtime story. It’s got sounds and soundscapes and melodies that very gently get the child to sleep. The aim of the app is to allow the story to get quieter and softer, and the rhythm to get slower. That’s how the child gets to sleep – being soothed very gently.


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