Just like adults, sometimes kids struggle to get to sleep or staying in the land of nod. There isn’t a one size fits all policy with children and sleep – some need nine hours sleep, some need 12, some are early birds, and some are night owls. One of the best ways to help your child to get the sleep they need is coming to understand their specific requirements, instead of following advice strictly. There are some things you can do, though – take a look at these ideas for helping your kid to get the best night’s sleep.
Follow a bedtime routine
Routines are important for people of all ages, from toddlers to adults, and especially important in getting us to sleep – we need to train our bodies to know when to wind down. Ensuring they go to bed at the same time each night is a good start, but it can also help to follow the same stages, in the same pattern on the lead up to bed, so their brain starts to enter relaxation mode. Whether this is a bath, story time, or cuddles with mommy, try doing it at the same time every night and see if it helps in the long run.
Turn off the electronics
The television, tablets, mobile phones, and other forms of electronic entertainment cause our brains to go into overdrive and make winding down for bed particularly tricky. Turn electronics off for at least an hour, although preferably two hours before bed, and focus on reading, cuddling, and relaxing instead.
Don’t let them oversleep
Kids need a very specific amount of sleep, and it’s individual to them. Allowing them to oversleep at the weekend might seem like a treat, but it has a similar effect to jet lag, in that it confuses their natural rhythm and will stop them sleeping so well at night. Ensure the get the same amount of sleep night after night to guarantee sleep quality too.
Create the perfect environment
The bedroom your kid falls asleep in has a huge impact on their quality of sleep. It needs to be restful, calm and quiet, and feel safe. It also needs to be a room they’re excited to spend time in, maybe with fun decor, cool children’s beds, or full of their favorite things. Blackout blinds and a dimmer switch are really important to creating a restful environment. Many people choose to put their child’s bedroom the furthest away from the living room, so any activity after bedtime doesn’t disturb them.
Help protect from fears
If your child has some bedtime phobias, don’t just dismiss them – discuss them. If you let them get out of hand, then sleep could be tricky for years to come. A special cuddly toy to stand sentry over the bed can be a really good way to help reassure them that they’re safe.
If you have any concerns about your kid’s sleeping, speak to your pediatrician and get any disorders ironed out before they get out of hand. Otherwise, spend the evening creating a focus on relaxation and love, and sleep should come easily to them.