Are you ready for me to give you the ultimate, be-all-end-all, list of things that your baby or toddler absolutely NEEDS to have in their bedroom in order to be able to get the sleep they need? I hope you are ready to have your mind blown… because this list is only 4 elements long! Can you believe it? You just need four things in place for your kid to get great sleep. These elements are the same whether your child sleeps in their own room, or whether they share a bedroom with you. Read on for setting up the perfect bedroom environment…
That’s it. Their bedroom needs to be as dark as you can reasonably make it for nighttime sleep as well as for naps. Do not use nightlights or mobiles that light up. And cover any LED lights coming off of cameras or fans with a tiny piece of electrical tape. If there is something in your child’s room that puts out light, it should be removed, or the source of light should be safely covered. The darker your child’s room is – the better. Especially when we’re talking about early morning sleep.
2. White noise
Use white noise all of the time your child is supposed to be asleep. So from the moment bedtime starts, until the moment your kiddo leaves their bedroom in the morning, and for all naps. White noise should be used as loud as you feel comfortable, and should be placed a few feet away from your child’s head. White noise should sound like a fan, or as close as possible to a fan. It should not come from your phone or ipad. Preferably you would use a commercially available white noise machine that can be used without a timer. Do not use ocean, nature, or musical sounds. Just pure, straight, consistent white noise all night long and for naps.
3. Empty crib
If your child is younger than 12 months of age, their crib should be completely empty. No blankets, loveys, pillows, bumpers, positioners (like Doc-a-Tots, etc), and nothing that elevates the crib for reflux. Your infant should be sleeping in a crib that contains a mattress, a fitted sheet, and them. Pacifiers are technically fine as well.
4. Video monitor
Regardless of whether you room share or not, if your child is ever sleeping alone in a bedroom in a crib, you should be able to monitor them directly. Without going into details… (because who needs scary scenarios filling their mind!) I can think of 6 instances where parents I personally know were not directly supervising their baby or toddler during sleep through a video monitor, and as a result had their child suffer physical injury (or worse). Do not ever allow your child to sleep without being able to watch them via video monitor. Make certain the camera is not touching the crib, but is instead mounted to the wall or placed onto a piece of furniture.
And that’s it! That’s all you really need to ensure your child gets the best, most healthy sleep they need all night long and for naps.
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Nice article! My wife and I have had challenges with failing baby monitors so we came up with a little hack that comes in handy during nap time. She calls my cell phone on Facebook messenger video chat, she props it up where we can see out daughter, I mute my microphone and boom. Makeshift baby monitor. 🙂
Cool!! How do you deal with the night vision aspect? I find unless you’re using a “baby” video monitor that cameras can’t pick up on what’s going on without some for of light.
Didn’t get your reply for some reason 🙂 We have some night lights in the room that seem to generate enough light. But you’re right, under most scenarios, you’d probably need some infrared lights to be able to see very well.
Do you recommend a white noise machine over a box fan?
Either is fine 🙂 Whichever you prefer is sufficient. Fans are a nice, steady sound, but they can lower the temperature in the room and sometimes little fingers are at risk if you have an inquisitive child <3
Hey there, wondering why you said not to use phones or iPads? My husband and I have an old iPad laying around and it plays the white noise great, wondering if we should spend the money on a machine?
Do you recommend I sleep train my daughter with or without her pacifier? Will the pacifier become another sleep prop ? Or will it aid her ?
She is 18 weeks now and my goal is to feed her once at night .
7 pm bed – 1 am feed – 7 am wake up is my goal.
At what age should a child stop using a white noise machine?
Ideally never. My kids both still use their’s thankfully, but can sleep without them at sleepovers, etc.