By his first birthday, your baby should be sleeping about 13 hours a day. However, sleep does not always come easily for all babies — particularly 1-year-olds, who are just learning skills like crawling and walking. Fortunately, there are many ways you can correct sleep problems and help your baby get a more sound night’s sleep every night.
Share Relaxing Activities Before Bedtime
Get your 1-year-old ready for sleep by performing relaxing activities before you put her to down for the night. For example, massage her back and shoulders for about 15 minutes. Give her a bath, read books quietly together, rock her in a glider chair, sing her lullabies or cuddle together on the couch. If you consistently perform relaxing pre-bed activities such as these, your baby will learn to associate sleep with them and understand what is expected.
Regulate the Environment
Create an environment that is comfortable and promotes sleep. Dr. Alan Greene recommends keeping your baby’s room between 65 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit, explaining to "Parents" magazine that a slightly cooler room is easier to sleep in. Dim the lights in your house when it gets close to bedtime. Hang up thick blinds to keep your baby’s room dark. Keep relatively quiet, but don’t restrict all sound once you have tucked your toddler in. Babies are used to -- and even soothed by -- rhythmic noises like a radio or dishwasher.
Provide a Transitional Object
Give your baby a transitional object to keep with him in his crib or toddler bed. A 1-year-old baby is capable of rolling away from the object if it obstructs his breathing in any way. Consider a stuffed animal or small blanket, which is also acceptable because your baby is old enough to crawl out from beneath it or push it off of him. A pacifier also helps soothe and quiet some babies, helping sleep come more easily.
Avoid Much Nighttime Contact
Keep all nighttime care and activities quiet and subdued so your 1-year-old doesn’t think it’s time to get up. Avoid eye contact as much as possible. Your baby’s heart rate and blood pressure rise when she makes eye contact with you, which can cause her to feel alert at bedtime. If you have to change your baby’s diaper or soothe her, do it with the lights off or turned down. Keep calm and try not to talk if possible.