Whether they like it or not, getting a good sleep is really important for children. Sleep is the time when our body’s repair themselves and get a chance to recuperate and, with all the excitement children encounter each day, they need a proper rest.
Plus, if your children aren’t sleeping well, that can have an impact on your own sleep, so getting those little ones to go to sleep (and stay asleep!) is in everyone’s best interest. Below are some tried and tested pointers that can help your children get enough shut eye.
If your child loves to play video games or watch television - and, let’s face it, most of them do! - aim to turn off any screens at least an hour before your little one goes to bed.
If you have older children and teenagers, try to make their bedrooms as free of screens as possible, even free of phones, so they don’t get tempted to use them if they wake in the night.
The night time can be scary for children. They are without their parents and darkness can create the fear of the unknown. Listen to your child’s fears. Are they scared of monsters under the bed? Whatever it is, hear their fears and give them reassurance that you’re still there to protect them.
Also, some children feel the fear of missing out at bedtime. They may think that they’re missing out on exciting activities when they’re in bed, especially if they have older siblings who can stay up later.
If this is the case for your child, it can be helpful to reassure them that they’re not missing out on anything and emphasise the activities your child will be doing the next day.
Most children love bedtime stories and they have loads of benefits. Not only does reading stories improve your child’s cognitive skills and help you bond, it can also reduce your child’s anxiety and help them to wind down before bed.
Bedtime stories can have a big and brilliant impact on your child’s sleep. If you have an older child who prefers to read independently, giving them 20 minutes or so to read before bed can help them get to sleep easier.
Having a warm bath before bedtime can help your child relax and unwind, soaking away the day. Incorporating bath time into the bedtime routine can be really beneficial for helping your little one fall asleep. Plus, if your child loves bath time, it can be a great incentive for them to look forward to starting the bedtime routine.
For most people, having a cool room temperature at night makes it easier to sleep. Children are no different. Melatonin helps our bodies reach the correct, lower body temperature to help us sleep, but making the room cooler can make it easier.
Light can be really disruptive to sleep. Even a small amount of light can cause children (and adults!) to wake up in the night or cause problems falling asleep. If your child isn’t comfortable sleeping without a night light, this article from Metro Parent can give you some pointers for helping them sleep in darkness.
Eating a meal before going to bed can cause a lot of discomfort and make it difficult to get to sleep. With that in mind, making sure your child eats their dinner earlier in the evening, around 2 hours or more before going to bed, it can help them get a better night’s sleep.
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