The need for particular amounts of time spent sleeping varies with a child’s age. This can make scheduling somewhat difficult, but remember that healthy sleepers give caretakers extra time to accomplish adult tasks.
Here are some tips that will help children go to bed feeling prepared to let go of their day and drift into dreamland.
Talk to Kids About Sleep: It’s important to help children understand why sleep is important. For younger children it may be enough to explain that it helps their body stay healthy. Preschoolers and school-age kids may benefit from knowing that sleep affects their mood and ability to concentrate throughout the day. Having a dialogue will help children understand why it is important for them to stay in bed after the lights go out.
Keep a consistent sleep schedule: Put kids to bed and wake them up around the same time every day. Keep the schedule even on the weekends so that their bodies know what to expect.
Eat a light snack an hour before bed: Offer a glass of milk, fruit, vegetables and dip, crackers, or anything else small and low in sugar as a part of the nighttime routine. Going to bed hungry is a distraction and may provide your child an extra reason to get out of bed.
Avoid Caffeine: Kids at any age shouldn’t have caffeine in the late afternoon/evening. Be careful to make sure that clear sodas are caffeine free. Energy drinks and chocolate are good foods to stay away from too.
An Hour of Quiet Time: Let the brain calm down and signal the body to get ready for sleep. Make sure that homework, television and computer games are finished up for the night. Spend time reading or listening to quiet music. This time can also be used as part of your nightly routine.
Build an Enjoyable Routine: Help kids expect what will happen at bedtime each night. This will teach them to self regulate. Have snack time and follow it up with a shower or bath, comfy pajamas, teeth brushing, and reading time. If you are reading to younger children, it helps to read for the same amount of time each night. Spend the last 10-15 minutes winding down in the bedroom.
Create a Comfortable Environment: The bedroom should be a serene place that lends itself to rest. Make sure that your child’s room is quiet, dark, and kept at a comfortable temperature. Provide a nightlight for little ones who don’t like total darkness. Comfort items such as stuffed animals and special blankets can help children feel secure while they sleep. Pillows and mattresses are important, too. A bed that feels good to be in provides sleep motivation for kids as well as adults.
Following these tips can get your child invested in their bedtime and help them form a healthy mindset about sleep. A Goodnight Sleepstore can assist you and your child in picking out a bed that will have them looking forward to crawling under the covers.