One of the best things you can do for your child is to ensure they get adequate sleep. Sending them to bed at a certain time is a big part of healthy sleep habits, but the key is to make sure they fall asleep easily, sleep throughout the night and wake up feeling refreshed and energised to take on the day. The ways in how to do that will change as your kids get older. Nevertheless, good slumber is essential at every age as it will help your kids grow, learn and stay safe no matter if they’re 18 months old or 18 years old.
As a parent, you know the nightly trials and tribulations you face when trying to get your kids to go to bed – and stay there. When they don’t get enough sleep, they become irritable, hyper and exhibit other behaviour problems, which can be hard to handle. They may have trouble paying attention and learning as well. According to the National Sleep Foundation, individuals who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to have bigger appetites and this explains the theory that obesity and sleep are linked. Hence, healthy sleep habits, regular schedules and bedtime rituals play a vital role in aiding kids to slumber soundly and function at their best. There are no hard and fast rules for bedtime because every child has different needs. The key is to build a routine that works best for your family and to stick to it. Here are few tips to help you get started.
Sleep Is A Family Priority
Set the same go-to-bed and wake-up time for the entire family and strive to adhere to these timings – even on weekends. The trick to know if your child is getting enough sleep is when they fall asleep within 15 to 30 minutes of going to bed and they wake up easily in the morning. They also won’t be nodding off during the day.
Watch Out For Sleep Troubles
If you see your child showing signs of restlessness, having trouble falling asleep, waking up in the middle of the night, snoring, heavy breathing or trouble breathing, see a pediatrician. You might even notice these problems in the daytime if they seem cranky, sleepy or overtired.
It’s vital to involve your spouse or partner and agree on a sleep strategy for your child. Consequently, you both will need to work together as a team to carry out the plan regularly. If your child is old enough, you can even make them a part of the team by explaining the new plan to them. You can use fun things like picture charts and videos to help your child learn the new routine.
Repeat The Routine
Routines work – kids love it and they thrive on it. Studies have found that consistent nighttime routines helped children who had mild to moderate sleep problems. It’s one of the best ways for your child to learn to be sleepy. Make bedtime special by reading a book with them, or talking about the day or listening to their stories. Just keep in mind to make the routine short – 30 minutes or less and be firm about ending story time when it’s time to sleep. As mentioned before, there is not a single routine that will work for every family but typically yours should include all the things that your child needs before sleeping like brushing their teeth, washing up, putting on their pajamas and having a snack or a drink of water.
Some kids need more than three meals a day to keep them going. A small snack before bedtime could just do the trick in helping their bodies stay fueled throughout the night. Keep healthy options like whole-grain cereal, graham crackers or some fruit in your pantry ready for them.
Temperature, Environment and Pyjamas
A cool room, not a cold one, helps everyone sleep better. Besides that, dress your child the same way you would dress yourself for bed. Keep one thing in mind though, kids tend to kick off the covers at night and can’t cover themselves. Perhaps add a pair of socks to their bedtime attire so that they can keep warm if need be. Also, ensure that their bedroom is dark and quiet. The rest of the house should have a low noise level too. A small night-light is perfect if your child does not like a dark room. If you don’t have one, keep their door ajar and leave the corridor light on.
For some kids, bedtime means separation. A personal object like a teddy bear or blanket can provide a sense of security and control that will comfort and reassure them before they fall asleep.
It really isn’t that difficult isn’t it? Having troubles? Contact me and we’ll set up a consultation and go through this step by step together. Email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at +60123542010.