Children need an adequate amount of sleep so that they can grow and develop normally. A healthy amount of sleep helps children develop mentally and physically while maintaining their normal routine and sleep schedule. Without good sleep, a child may become overly sleepy during the daytime and experience difficulties in mental tasks.
Every parent wants the best for the child and that includes a good night’s sleep. Here are a few tips on how to help your child rest well during the night, so that you can, too.
Know how much sleep your child needs
A child should get just the right amount of sleep-not too much and not too little. Knowing the amount of sleep your child needs is important to avoid changes in their normal Circadian rhythm.
- Newborn babies: 10.5 to 18 hours per day
- Infants (4-11 months old): 9-12 hours per day
- Toddlers (1-2 years old): 11-14 hours per day
- Preschoolers (3-5 years old): 11-13 hours per day
- School-aged children (6-13 years old): 9-11 hours per day
Make sure not to let your child sleep too much or sleep too little. Too little sleep can hinder normal development, decrease concentration, and increase irritability, while too much sleep can make them feel extra lethargic during the day and ruin their normal sleeping schedules.
Make a bedtime routine
Children are creatures of habit and structure. Establishment of a bedtime routine can give them a sense of safety and security, as opposed to the feeling of dread and pressure when you tell them that it’s time for bed. A regular bedtime routine can also help you set a clear sleeping schedule for your child, which is very important for their development.
A bedtime routine should start with ‘winding down’ time for about fifteen to thirty minutes. During this period, turn off the TV and games, dim the lights, state the end of playtime, and talk and move slower so that your child follows your cue. Then, you may start your bedtime routine and do it however you like, but it needs to be consistent and stress-free.
Make your child’s bedroom ideal for sleeping
At night, your child’s bedroom should be conducive for a healthy and quality sleep. Here are some tips to make your child’s room more sleep-friendly:
- Turn off overhead lights and turn on small night lights or hallway lights. Use blackout curtains or shades to prevent illumination from the moon or streetlights from seeping through the windows.
- Make sure the room has a comfortable temperature. On a hot day put a fan in the room to keep it cool. In the winter, close up all gaps that can let in a draft, turn on the heating or place a hot water in their bed before they go to sleep to warm it up (just remember to remove it when they get into their bed).
- Put a baby white noise machine in your child’s room. White noise machines produce monotonous sounds that can help drown out other outside noise.
Ensure that your child is getting enough exercise
A child will fall asleep much easier if he or she gets enough exercise during the day. Plenty of exercise is great for their mental and physical development, but make sure that physical activities end at least three hours before bedtime. In this way, your child is more ready to sleep at bedtime but is not too wired or stimulated.
Remember, downtime is very important for children to fall asleep easier. Make sure that you set clear rules on what time playtime should end, and this applies to older family members as well. Advise everyone in the house not too stimulate the child too much before bedtime, which can otherwise make the child’s sleepiness go away.
Remove stimulating devices
As much as possible, keep TVs, video games, laptops, gadgets, and other stimulating devices away from your child’s bedroom. These gadgets and devices can prevent your child from feeling sleepy and can thus increase exhaustion, leading to a low-quality sleep. It is important to set boundaries with gadgets, especially for very young children who tend to be addicted to them.
If possible, don’t let very young children have their own TV or computer in the room with them. Take away phones and tablets when it’s time to go to bed, as these devices can trick the brain into staying awake. As the parent, you should not let them see you on your phone or tablet before bed, as well!
Many parents struggle with bedtime as most children can be difficult to put into bed, but there are a few things that you can do in order to make bedtime much easier for you and everybody else in the house. With the tips highlighted in this article, you can establish a better sleeping schedule for your child and, hopefully, make bedtimes more peaceful and stress-free.
I would love to hear how you have made bedtime work for you?