A great way to help your little one feel happier in their cot and bedroom and so help with their sleep

Cot, bed and room play is something that I regularly advise my clients to do with their little ones. It’s one of the best pieces of my sleep toolkit and something I often suggest to clients when we first begin working together to improve their little one’s sleep.

Cot Play With Babies 

It is as simple as it sounds. Initially, many babies are resistant to sleeping in their cot, and simply playing with them can help set up a more positive association. So, a couple of times a day, when your little one is awake and happy, take them to their cot, pop them in it and play with them. Make sure the room is bright and well lit, so very different from how it would be when they’re going in there to sleep. Do anything that makes them laugh – singing, tickling; peek-a-boo are all great things to do. The more you make the cot a happy place for them, the more comfortable they will be going there when it’s time for sleep. It will take a while for this to happen, but if you stick with the cot play every day, you’ll soon see the benefit.

Cot play can also be beneficial if you plan to move your little one into their cot away from a Moses basket or crib. If you start the cot play well in advance of the actual move, your little one will already feel comfortable and happy about their cot by the time you want them to start sleeping in it.

Room Play With Toddlers and Older Children

The same principle can also be used for toddlers and older children resisting bedtime or getting up a lot and needing you in the night. So often, we don’t play much with our children in their bedrooms, which means they associate it with sleep. If sleep is a challenge for them, this can mean that they have negative feelings about their room. These negative associations can be improved with a short play session each day with you. It doesn’t have to take long – 5 or 10 mins of fun play in their room each day can help them become more comfortable in there.

If they are moving from a cot to a bed or out of a toddler bed to a larger one, you can also incorporate bed play which helps them feel secure in their new sleep space.

Great For Travelling, Too!

Cot, bed, and room play can also be useful when you’re travelling with your little one – something that can be a real challenge when you have a tricky sleeper! Set up the travel cot as soon as you arrive if that’s what you’re using, and let your little one have a wee play in there during the day. Equally with older children, let them see as early as possible where they’ll be sleeping and have some fun in there with them before expecting them to settle there during the night.