Children need sleep more than anyone. Deep, consistent REM sleep is key in the early developmental stages when the foundations of the mind and body are built.
Unfortunately, many children don’t meet the recommended amount of sleep in a 24-hour period, despite parents’ best efforts to create the best conditions possible.
Maybe your child is struggling to fall asleep or stay at rest. A sleep patch can help, but it’s not a fix-all. It’s time to get to the root cause and take steps to fix their sleep now when it matters most. Here are eight reasons to consider and some tips to help.
1. Make the Most of the Day
Most sleep problems–for both children and adults–stem from inactivity during the day, in addition to a lack of natural sunlight and other insufficiencies. Simply put, we don’t live naturally in the modern world, and our bodies’ rhythms are thrown off-balance as a result.
To remedy this, focus first on maximizing movement and outdoor activity during the day with your child if possible. Morning sunlight will set a standard for energy expenditure and ensure your little one is ready for lights out soon after sundown.
2. Avoid Energizing Drinks & Snacks
So much of our food–even the “healthy stuff”– is loaded with sugar and sources of artificial energy that keep kids wide awake for longer than necessary. Keep in mind that any form of sugar or caffeine has a far greater impact on a young person compared to adults.
Therefore, aim to limit sugar intake in the second half of the day, and keep the soda off limits with the exception of rare occasions. This sets a good precedent for general health and adequate sleep.
3. Follow a Bedtime Routine
We are creatures of habit, and good routines must be formed early on for best effect. Set a strong example as a parent by walking through a bedtime routine with your child, including all the scientifically supported techniques.
This means a bubble bath, relaxing music, winding down, reading a book, singing a lullaby–whatever works for you and your family. Try different tactics and make changes as needed.
4. Avoid Screens Before Bed
We know: screen time is out of control for everyone, parents and kids alike. While it’s hard to avoid computers and tablets during the day, shutting down the screens before bedtime makes a big difference on sleep quality and duration.
Set a nightly deadline to limit screen time and be sure to enforce the rules. Without blue light exposure and stimulation from videos/games, your child will undoubtedly sleep better.
5. Regulate Temperature and Humidity
Children are highly sensitive to all aspects of their environment, particularly when it comes to sleep. Take control of the air quality and temperature in their sleeping space and see the impact it makes.
In general, humans sleep better in cooler conditions with moderate humidity, wrapped up in a blanket with some ambient noise. Test these variables and discover the magic formula for your child.
6. Stick to the Same Schedule Daily
Remember the last time your sleep schedule was thrown off due to travel or a stressful life event? It might have taken days or even weeks to get back on track. With kids, schedule is so crucial, especially to keep them on track with school and socialization.
If you notice schedules getting off track–even just by an hour–steer things back on course and ensure they are ready to take on the week ahead. That means no late nights on weekends, at least within reason.
7. Be Present and Assuring
As a parent, you are the single most important presence in your kid’s life, and being there at bedtime is critically important. If your child has any fears or discomfort at bedtime, do what you can to make them feel safe and calm before letting them rest.
8. Try Supplements and Sleep Aids
After you try all the tips above, see what you can offer your child in terms of supplementation to help them sleep. All-natural is the only way here–nothing artificial or habit forming.
Essential oils are your best bet in this case, since they are plant-based with no additives or questionable ingredients. You can disperse oils through the air, create a warm bedtime tea, or use oil-infused stickers to administer these relaxing substances directly.
When paired with a balanced evening routine and active lifestyle, these oils and supplements can truly work their magic.
The Miracle of Perfect Sleep
You aren’t alone in your efforts to help your child achieve quality sleep, as many parents are in the same situation. Now that you have a plan in place, follow through with these strategies and see the changes for yourself.
You might even enjoy some better sleep yourself; you’ve earned it!