Getting your child to bed before they’re too tired to sleep is an important step in getting them to sleep well. Your child gives you sleep cues, but do you know what they are? Here’s how to recognize sleep signs to facilitate an easier bedtime and a better night of sleep.

If you’ve ever tried to put your over tired child to bed, you know the importance of recognizing when they are getting tired and helping them to bed before the imminent meltdown occurs. However, not all kids rub their eyes, yawn, or tell you they are sleepy. So how do you know?

What Are Sleep Signs?

Sleep signs are cues that your child is ready to go to bed. These cue might be obvious ones like yawning or ear tugging, but they could also be much more subtle.

Whatever your child does, his or her sleep sign is the non-verbal way they tell you their body needs sleep. And you as the parent get to learn the unique signals your child is sending you so you can help them get to bed before they are so tired they have a come apart.

Recognizing Your Child’s Sleep Signs

It might seem like your happy baby flipped a switch and instantly became instantly unsettled. Or downright angry. Or just hyper and overly active. Exhaustion magnifies behavior and feelings.

But if that happened, then you likely missed the non-verbal hints being thrown your way that bedtime needed to happen. It’s time to dial in your focus and start recognizing your child’s sleep signs.

Watch Your Baby

If your baby becomes unsettled and squirmy in a way that’s not their norm, it’s likely a sleep cue. Likewise, if their temperament moves from content to volatile, that’s a sure-fire clue they are ready for a rest.

Any rubbing and/or tugging is also a cue, just like yawning.

Watch The Clock

In addition to watching your baby, also watch the clock. A 3-month old baby will be ready for sleep after about 90 minutes of being awake, even if you’re seeing no evidence of sleep cues. Likewise, an 18-24 month old will be ready to sleep after 4-5 hours of awake time.

Putting a happy baby to bed because it’s time is far more preferable than waiting for an unhappy baby that you can’t settle down.

Just remember that if you see sleep cues before “it’s time to be sleepy”, that’s okay…take their cue!

Sleeping Well

Helping your child get the right amount of rest is also going to help them get a good quality of rest. Your child will sleep well when they aren’t overtired.

So watch for sleep signs and pay attention to what time they are awake so you have an idea of what time they need to go down for a nap or bedtime.