Getting to sleep – and staying asleep – isn’t just a problem that adults have. Unfortunately, kids can have the same issues! Even though there are varying needs and timeframes of sleep that are necessary for proper growth and development, many kids have issues obtaining quality sleep; and many of these problems correspond with not getting a proper and consistent routine down before bedtime.
So much vital growth and development is happening in babies and children as they sleep, which makes it imperative to find ways to help them get to sleep soundly, and stay asleep during the night so they can be well-rested. Let’s check out five different tips that you can incorporate into your routine each night in order to help your little ones stop fighting sleep — and drift off to dreamland!
SETTING A SCHEDULE
This is important not only going to bed at nighttime, but also waking up each morning. Since most kids that are in school need between 9-11 hours each night, try and make a consistent time to start winding down each evening before going to bed and subsequently aiming to wake up within the same timeframe each day – including weekends. It can be tempting to sleep in later on the weekends, but try not to – it can throw off their bodies and make it harder to get to bed at night!
TURN OFF ELECTRONICS
When it begins to get dark outside, our bodies produce a hormone called melatonin. This particular hormone is crucial within the cycles of sleep, and the more we have of it, the easier it is to get to sleep. Unfortunately, when we’re watching tv, playing with the iPad, or watching videos on a smartphone, it can interrupt the production of melatonin, making bedtime difficult. Aim to turn off electronics at least an hour before bedtime, if not two! This can limit the time that is spent trying to get a child into bed at night.
CREATE THE SLEEP ENVIRONMENT
This can be done in many different ways, and it will all vary depending upon the needs of your child and what they are or aren’t stimulated by. For example, some children sleep just fine with a stuffed animal or toy nearby; for others, this can make going to bed that much harder, and turn into a big bedtime distraction. The same goes for blankets, pillows, and even shades or blinds that make your child’s room into the perfect area for restful sleep.
USE WHITE NOISE
Typically a blend of a bunch of different sounds at different pitches, white noise can be extremely useful in helping your child go to bed. Not only is it particularly soothing for kids (and adults) to help block out distracting noises that might be present, it can also improve sleep quality. There are many machines out there to choose from, so you can find one that is right for you. From the sounds of the forest to rain drops and ocean waves, a white noise machine is a fabulous tool for improving sleep.
WATCH THE TEMPERATURE
Not only is your child sensitive to sounds and light as they fall asleep – they’re also sensitive to temperature. If your child is too hot, quality sleep will be hard to obtain. In order to get the best deep sleep, try and make your child’s room a bit cooler than normal to help them sleep more soundly and deeply.