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How to Teach a One-Year-Old Baby to Sleep Longer

by Melissa King

When your child was a newborn, you dreamed of the day when he would go to sleep on his own and stay asleep for the entire night. During his first month of life, your baby may have woken himself up every three to four hours during the night. Now that he's 1 year old, he has the ability to sleep all night and go back to sleep by himself if he does wake up. One- to 3-year-old children typically need between 10 and 13 hours of sleep per night, according to the University of Missouri. With a bit of training, you can help your child achieve that goal.

Create a routine for your baby. Babies thrive on routines because knowing what to expect from caregivers comforts them. As an example, you might wake your baby at 8 a.m., have breakfast at 8:30, go for a walk at 9, read some books together at 10 and take a bath at 10:30.

Encourage your baby to stay active throughout the day. Take her out for a walk or go to the park. At home, dance and exercise with your baby. The activity is good for your little one's developing body and brain, and moving around makes it easier for her to fall asleep later.

Give your baby an object, such as a stuffed animal or blanket, that he can form an attachment to. The baby may learn to use this object for comfort when he wakes up at night, rather than crying for you.

Make your baby's room conducive to sleep. Install a white noise machine or run a fan at low speed to block out external noises. Replace sheer curtains with opaque, light-blocking drapes.

Put your baby down for a nap at the same time every day. If you skip naps, it may actually be harder for your child to sleep at night. Don't reduce naps from two to one per day until the baby is consistently sleeping through the night.

Recognize signs of tiredness, such as yawning, rubbing eyes or fussing. If your baby exhibits these signs, he's very tired and ready to go to sleep.

Develop a nighttime routine that lets your baby know it's almost time for bed. For example, you might give your baby a bath, read a book, sing a song and then put her to bed. Make sure that all activities in the routine are relaxing, not energizing.

Put your baby in her crib when she's drowsy but still awake. This helps her associate her crib with sleep.

Wait at least 10 minutes after the baby awakens before entering the room to soothe her back to sleep. After that time, go into her room but don't take her out of the crib. Talk softly and stroke her gently to calm her down. If that doesn't work and she continues to cry, ensure that she doesn't have a dirty diaper and isn't hungry, hot or cold.

Items you will need
  • Attachment object
  • White noise machine or fan
  • Light-blocking drapes

Tip

  • Even after you've gotten your baby into a routine, he may still wake up occasionally in the middle of the night. Don't let this discourage you.

About the Author

Melissa King began writing in 2001. She spent three years writing for her local newspaper, "The Colt," writing editorials, news stories, product reviews and entertainment pieces. She is also the owner and operator of Howbert Freelance Writing. King holds an Associate of Arts in communications from Tarrant County College.

Photo Credits

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