Sleeping problems aren’t an issue for adults only; children also have trouble falling asleep. A study by Harvard shows that children who lack enough sleep have a higher risk of poor mental health and impaired attention. They also suffer cognitive development and behavior problems and chronic health conditions like obesity. Below are seven tips to help your child obtain optimal sleep.
1. Create a Sleeping Schedule
Just like other activities, making a sleeping schedule for your child and family is critical. If you have an older child, involve them in creating the plan. A bedtime routine will encourage your child to adopt a healthy sleeping pattern. Make a to-do list, like putting on their pajamas, brushing their teeth, reading a story, listening to music, and switching off the lights to help them know what you require.
2. Start the Bedtime Routine Early
It is essential to ensure your child winds up all other activities at least 30 minutes before their bedtime. If your child sleeps at 8.30 PM, they should be in bed by 8.00 PM to have ample time to relax and prepare for sleep. If your child takes a long time to wind down, adjust the time accordingly. Some kids like reading a story and listening to music.
3. Make the Routine a Daily Habit
Making a routine and being consistent in it is very critical. Your kid sleeping and waking up at the same time daily will keep their body clock in a regular pattern. Ensure your routine is comforting and set the ideal bedtime atmosphere. Consider investing in wearable and bedside devices to monitor your child’s sleep. Check home improvement websites for price comparisons and get the best device for your family, as 68% of consumers visit home improvement store websites regularly!
4. Turn Off Screens at Least Two Hours Before Bed
Screens emit blue light, stimulating the brain and making it harder for your child to sleep. Ideally, you should switch your screens one to two hours before bedtime. Ensure your child does not watch or play video games before bed. It will inhibit the production of melatonin hormone, which helps us to sleep. It is wise to limit screen time even during the day and give them time to engage in other physical activities.
5. Create a Mealtime Routine
Enjoying a meal together as a family gives your child a sense of security, and their body develops a biological rhythm. Ensure your child has a healthy meal at a consistent time. For example, eating dinner at a particular time will signal your body that it is almost bedtime. Ensure they eat enough and avoid giving them any caffeinated drinks before bedtime.
6. Keep Your Child’s Room Clean and Cozy
Create a sleep-inducing environment, comfortable for your child and family. It reduces distractions, and your child will fall asleep quickly. For example, a clean, quiet room with soft-scented sheets and room-darkening shades positively impact your child’s sleep. Research by the National Sleep Foundation indicates that roughly 75% say they get a more comfortable night by sleeping on freshly scented sheets. They recommend washing sheets and pillowcases weekly.
7. Ensure Calmness During Bedtime
Sleep is vital for the general health of your child. According to the National Institute of Health, we spend about 33% of our lives in bed. You shouldn’t focus so much on the sleep routine that you stress your child. Instead, teach them relaxing techniques like taking a deep breath.
Until your child is about four, you will have to train and help them sleep. If they wake up from a bad dream, you must soothe them back to sleep. If your child can’t sleep even after applying these tips, it is wise to seek help from a pediatrician or sleep specialist.