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Sleep is essential for the development of your child’s mind and body. If your children don’t get enough sleep, they’ll have mood problems, fatigue, poor grades and they probably won’t let you go to sleep as well.
These are just some problems associated with lack of sleep. A night of quality sleep is super important for your child’s physical health and mental health.
In this post, we’re going to share 10 tips for helping your children get quality Zzz’s.
10 Sleeping tips for children
1. Individualized bedtime
When it comes to sleep, all children are not the same. Your child can be an early bird or a night owl. You can’t make a night owl go to bed early, even if you wake them up early, and vice versa.
Create a sleeping schedule that suits your child’s needs, otherwise, they won’t get quality sleep no matter what you do.
2. Amount of time
Like we’ve mentioned before, all children are not the same. Just like children sleep at different times, they need a different amount of sleep.
In general, school-going children need 9-11 hours of sleep. As you can see, it’s not uncommon for the amount of sleep required for two children to differ by 2 hours.
Your child may be rare and need more or less sleep time than what’s mentioned above.
3. Be consistent
Creating a sleeping schedule helps a ton. It keeps your child’s body clock in a regular pattern. Make sure your child goes to bed and wakes up at the same time.
This rule should apply during both school days and holidays.
4. Creating a routine
Setting a bedtime is good, but it won’t be enough to create a good sleeping habit. Routines are a great way to prepare your child for sleep.
Ideally, you should create a night routine that should start after dinner. Make sure to include some light physical activity followed by relaxation.
A small playtime, taking a bath, brushing teeth, and a bedtime story is an ideal routine.
5. Make it dark 2 hours before sleeping
Exposure to light can decrease the amount of melatonin (a sleep chemical) in your child’s body. According to studies, exposure to light right before bed can lead to a delay in sleep by 30-60 minutes.
If your kids use the phone, watch TV, or play games near bedtime, stop them. It’s a much better idea to read them a story or play games that don’t involve electronic devices.
Ideally, you shouldn’t let your kids anywhere near electronic devices 2 hours before bedtime. If 2 hours are too long for any reason, do your best to make it at least an hour.
6. Reduce stress levels
Melatonin isn’t the only chemical that affects your child’s sleep. Cortisol (a stress chemical) also has a big impact on your child’s sleep.
If your child has trouble sleeping because he/she gets stressed, have them pick a calming activity they prefer. It could be reading, listening to music, or anything that doesn’t involve exposure to light and calm their mind.
If the problem persists, contact a sleep doctor or a chiropractor.
7. Make the older children take short and early naps
Children who are 5 or older usually don’t take naps. If your child does, don’t let them take naps randomly. Your child shouldn’t take a nap longer than 20 mins. Naps that are 40 mins or longer can make it a lot harder to sleep at night.
As for when your child should take a nap, it shouldn’t be any later than early afternoon. Naps during the evening or even late afternoon can have a big impact on night sleep.
8. Make the room pitch black
For some children, staring at even a tiny source of light reduces the melatonin in their bodies. This is why it’s worth it to not only keep the electronic devices away but to make the room pitch dark.
You can either buy blinders or make sure all sources of light are covered or taken care of. The red light of the LED should be turned off, the air conditioner shouldn’t be producing any light, windows should be covered properly, you get the drill.
9. Adjust the temperature
Light isn’t the only thing that affects sleep, temperature matters a lot as well. Ideally, the temperature should be between 65 to 70°F. Also, pick breathable cotton pajamas as a sleep outfit.
10. Help with fears
Many children find it hard to sleep because they are afraid of ghosts. To help with this fear, many parents tell their kids that ghosts are not real. To their surprise, this strategy doesn’t really work.
What you should do instead is tell your kids about this magical spray that keeps the ghost away. They’ll much more likely buy into this story.
I hope this quick overview of simple steps you can take is actionable and more importantly work. There is nothing worse than groggy kids. If you look at how sleep deficiencies affect adults then it is no surprise that these same effects are amplified with kids.
One further bonus solution is to ensure that your child has a great mattress and supportive pillow. There are many kids memory foam mattresses on the market now alongside kid’s pillows. These can add that extra little bit of extra comfort and support your child needs to sleep soundly consistently.
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