We all know that sleep is a precious commodity as adults – most people are doing their best to get the recommended 7-9 hours each night amid the hustle and bustle of a crazy schedule ... but what about the kids? Yes, seeing a sleeping child can be a peaceful and beautiful sight…. however, some kids can have just as much trouble getting good quality sleep – same as adults!
Not only does sleep recover kids both mentally and physically for the next day, but it also gives their mind and body a chance to develop – and this is why it’s so critical that little ones get adequate sleep, and to win the possible fight against going to bed each night. Let’s look at five different ways that you can help your kids get better rest each night…and yourself, too!
Set a routine
We all like habits, even as adults…and the same goes for toddlers (and even babies)! A specific plan each night of what will be done before bed can be a very calming and relaxing thing, and will help your child learn what is coming next before they slide in between the sheets. This can look like something as simple as getting a bath after dinner, sitting down in a rocking chair and reading a book, and even a massage with essential oils that can signal a calming atmosphere can all lead to getting ready for bed more easily.
Turn off electronics
More often thought of as a tip for adults that are on the computer or smartphone late at night, the same advice follows for a child; turning off the TV or iPad a couple of hours before going to bed is key for getting good rest. When there is too much light emitting from electronics as we’re trying to wind down, it messes up how well our body produces melatonin – a hormone that is necessary for us to go to sleep. Since we need this hormone to be at high levels to get the best rest, it’s a good idea to turn off the electronics at least two hours before bedtime.
Make it comfortable
Just like adults, too many distractions in the sleep environment can make it hard to get good rest. One pillow might be enough, while two to three might be too many for your little one – and the same goes for toys and stuffed animals. Make sure that the blankets on the bed aren’t going to make your child too warm, or on the flip side, that there’s enough coverage to maintain correct body temperature. Mattress comfort comes into play too, even though it can be more difficult to determine comfort for the bed of a child.
Time it right
A set bedtime schedule is never a bad idea – in fact, it can help to get your child’s circadian rhythm on track, making for better nights of sleep and a ritual bedtime (even on the weekends). Small kids need to sleep 10-12 hours each night, so planning a bedtime that you can stick to consistently will help make going to bed easier ...and waking up easier as well.
Keep it calm
Running around the house like crazy before trying to go to bed usually doesn’t end up well – on the other hand, it makes for wound up kids and a fight for bedtime. When you have a sleep schedule set, try and keep activities before bedtime calm and relaxing; this could mean reading a book, turning off the television, and turning the lights down a bit.
Research has shown that children up to four years of age need to be taught how to sleep, and on a correct schedule. This is where the caretakers come into play, and how these five tips can be utilized appropriately in order to help your kids get some better sleep at night!