If you’re like most parents, you probably can’t take more than a couple of steps in your house without tripping over a doll, a stuffed animal or a Tonka truck. I’ve noticed that toy companies even market toys that are meant to be used in cribs. Of course, toys are a fun and necessary part of any child’s life, but personally I don’t think there should be any toys in the crib at all.
Overstimulation at Bedtime
One reason I don’t suggest putting toys in your child’s crib is because brightly colored plush toys or gadgets that make sounds or play songs can prove to be too distracting and stimulating for bedtime.
Even a mobile is off-limits if you want your child to learn to sleep properly. While the child may seem to be staring calmly and intently at the pretty floating butterflies above her head, the colors and movement are actually firing up her mind and keeping her awake.
If you put your child to bed in a crib-full of toys to amuse himself, he is far less likely to just close his eyes and go to sleep. Bedtime is obviously a time when you want to be helping your babies and toddlers wind down, but instead you may just be winding them up!
Any sleep specialist will tell an adult struggling with insomnia to limit all activities in the bed so that you send a clear message to your body and brain that when you are in this specific location you are meant to sleep. That means putting away phones, iPods, iPads and laptops and turning off the 10:00 news on your TV. The very same holds true for children. While the toys might not seem as stimulating as electronics, your child will play with them when she should be going to sleep, even if she’s tired. Kind of like you staying up later than you should just to check Facebook one more time…
Security Toys are Okay
Despite my general no-toys-in-the-bed philosophy, I do make an exception when it comes to that one special “security” toy, like your child’s favourite stuffed animal or plastic Spiderman or frog puppet… whatever it may be. I’m referring only to that one toy that they cart around all day, or stuff in their pocket, or can’t leave the house without. These beloved toys offer soothing comfort and help your child feel relaxed and safe.
With that being said, there are safety issues associated with using toys in the crib with infants under one year old. If you decide to allow a toy in the crib, be sure that your child is old enough to sleep safely with their security toy in tow.
Minimize Distractions at Bedtime
Minimizing distractions at bedtime will really help you to establish good sleep habits and routines with your child. The more simple and plain your child’s surroundings are, the easier it will be for him to drift into dreamland.
AAP Safe Sleep Recommendations Under One – https://patiented.solutions.aap.org/handout.aspx?gbosid=156543