It's not always obvious when a child is getting tired... Here's how to recognize "sleep signs" so you can get your child to bed BEFORE they become overtired!
Usually when someone refers to “sleep signs,” clear signals that the child is tired, they probably think of yawning and eye rubbing. Some signs you may not be aware of are nose scrunching and ear pulling, anything that has to do with rubbing the face. It’s easy to miss some of the signs of fatigue, but if your child is doing any type of rubbing or pulling, they’re definitely tired. Don’t wait for a yawn.
Some babies seem to go from happy to upset at the drop of a dime. A baby like that is probably very good at hiding their fatigue. Sometimes when they start to have feelings of being tired, they’ll push through those feelings with more active play and maybe even get a little hyper. They’ll kick into “overdrive” and almost become a bit manic.
That squirmy baby, the one who doesn’t want to sit on your knee, doesn’t want to stand up, arches their back, crawls around very quickly, laughs one moment and cries the next is a tired baby and ready for sleep.
If your child is happy one second and crying the next, you might have to keep more of an eye on the clock that you do on your baby. For example, a three-month-old baby can handle about an hour and a half of awake time. If she woke up at 8 a.m., then by 9:30, she’s most likely ready for a nap.
In this case, even if they’re calm and happy and not showing any “sleep signs,” I always suggest that it’s better to put them down too soon rather than too late. Sometimes the calmer the baby goes down, the faster sleep comes and it becomes an easier transition for them.
Keeping an eye on your child’s individual sleep signs, along with the clock for those who don’t show any clear signs, will definitely help your child sleep well.
Life is hard when you're not sleeping. As a Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant, I teach families how to live a well-rested life.