Using Sensory Stimulation To Improve Baby’s Sleep
A baby’s cognitive, physical and emotional development takes places at an accelerated level during the first 18 months of their life. Effective sensory stimulation and quality sleep are key in helping to ensure that a baby is able to adapt well to the world around them. So, how can you use regular, effective sensory stimulation to aid your baby’s development, as well as improve their sleep?
Provide Plenty Of Tactile Stimulation
Touch is the first of all the senses to develop. As such, it usually takes on a principal role when it comes to sensory development. Experiments and studies across a range of species (including worms and rats), have repeatedly shown that parental touch is essential for normal development.
You can provide your baby with plenty of tactile stimulation by giving them lots of hugs and kisses throughout the day. Gently touching or stroking your baby can also be very beneficial, as well as engaging in gentle baby massage. Many healthcare professionals also advocate for plenty of skin-to-skin time as a way to provide tactile stimulation and promote bonding. Another good strategy is to spend time cuddling your baby or to hold them close to your chest in a baby-carrier. Having provided your baby with lots of tactile stimulation, it is essential that they then have solid sleep in order to successfully process all they information they have acquired as a result.
How Sensory Stimulation Encourages Better Sleep
A key strategy to help your baby develop longer and deeper sleep is to provide them with a wide range of sensory stimulation and experiences whilst they are awake.
“If you expose your baby to a visually dynamic environment, which has a wide array of sounds, for instance, you will tire them out faster,” explains Danielle Copple, a health writer at Paperfellows and State Of Writing. “Engage in lots of different activities which stimulate the sense, like making funny faces, tickling and singing nursery rhymes. Also perform actions with your hands and use colorful toys to help attract and maintain your baby’s attention. Your baby will be responding to all the sensory stimulation you provide, but crucially, it is during their sleep that they will process it all. That sleep time is essential.”
Use Soothing Music At Bedtime
Music is a highly effective form of sensory stimulation and it is also a fantastic sleep aid. The technique works best if you consistently expose your baby to the same piece of music each night before sleep. Ideally, you want to choose a piece of music which is soothing and calm. You may want to try some classical music or some nursery rhymes. Over time, your baby will begin to associate the songs with sleep and become aware that these pieces of music signal bedtime.
The Importance Of Routine
The key to providing your baby with good-quality sleep is consistency. As well as consistency with bedtime music, your baby will benefit most from having a consistent and regular sleep routine. This will help to signal to your baby that it is time to go to sleep. At this stage, you can use a combination of visual, auditory and tactile stimulations to soothe and help to prepare them for bedtime.
“Bath time is one of the best opportunities for sensory engagement,” says Krista Wade, mom blogger at Boomessays and Assignment Writing Service. “Not only is it a really soothing and calming experience for your baby, but it is also a lovely opportunity for some bonding. You can give your baby a little massage after their bath, using some baby lotions or gentle baby-oils. Also, try to engage in lots of calming, loving visual stimulation. Babies love to see you looking directly at them with lots of smiles and it also helps to encourage their social development. Most of all, it will reassure your baby that they are safe, which means that they are more likely to sleep more soundly.”
In order for your baby to develop healthily, they require a good balance of sensory stimulation and sleep. Good-quality sleep will ensure that they are able to absorb and process all the things they have learnt during the course of the day, and as such, encourage them to develop more predictable sleeping patterns and increase their sleep periods.
Beatrix Potter is a professional writer at Academic Writing Service and Essay Service. A mother to three children, she also tutors at Assignment Help website. Beatrix enjoys traveling, running and reading a wide range of genres.