It’s common for children to have disturbed sleep from time to time. If you’re worried, a sleep diary can help you understand what’s causing difficulties. You can use it to spot patterns and make changes to help.
This activity is most useful if your child is between six months and five years old.
A sleep diary is a table that you fill in to track your child’s sleep. You can add sections like:
You can make your own sleep diary, or print a template (PDF).
Allow two weeks of using the sleep diary before looking for any patterns. Try to fill it out every evening and record as much as you can. It might sometimes feel hard to find time, especially if you’re tired, but you can keep your notes brief. If you miss a night, write down as much as you can remember.
Once the two weeks is up, see if you notice any reasons your child might be struggling to sleep or waking often.
This could include:
If there were times when your child slept better, look at that day and the day before to see what might have affected this. Do the same with days where your child struggled to sleep.
If you’re unsure about any patterns or need support, try taking the diary to your health visitor or GP. You could also speak to your local children’s centre. They may be able to offer advice on things to try.
Want more support? For advice on your specific issue, speak to one of our parenting coaches.
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