Sleep is important for everyone, especially kids. A child who sleeps well has many advantages to the sleep-deprived one. Since good sleep helps them develop well physically and mentally and are energetic enough every morning to face their day. However, it is not enough knowing that your kids require to rest well at night. Nonetheless, it is important to have a schedule or plan that will help you achieve this. Below are some suggestions that can help your kids rest better at night.
1. Have a plan
Having a plan and implementing it is one way to ensure your kids sleep well. Create a bedtime ritual for your kids and you can ease into it yourself. For instance, sing a song to an infant and switch on the white-noise machine. Read a book with a toddler or ask them what they would like to do before they sleep and help them choose as well. Put this plan in a sequence trend like freshening up, putting on pajamas, reading and lights out, ending with sleeping. There are many ways to handle this and make it fun for your child. Try one with pictures where they get stars once they progress to the next level of the plan among others. Practice the new sleep plan daily until it gains momentum. This will eventually become the norm once the kids internalize it.
2. Respect the routine
Having a sleep routine is essential if your kids are not getting enough sleep. However, respecting the sleep routine by sticking to it is what is most important. It also helps them feel secure as it is predictable. Although it will not be as perfect throughout. It can have a give or take of 30 to 60 minutes without fail. Where possible, the routine should be followed during weekends as well. This is to avoid any disruptions of the circadian rhythm. Also, it helps to avoid the struggle of waking up Monday morning as it drags through the week messing up the routine. Therefore, allow young kids to hit their Sealy Posturepedic before 9:00 p.m. so that they sleep enough hours. Plan the routine minding the hours that are enough for their ages for a full night’s rest.
3. Be positive
When your child can tell time it is easy to share with them the sleeping time and help them follow through. However, kids that are still young are best helped with charts or special clocks that change color when it is sleeping or time to wake up. Also, keeping the mood positive while establishing a routine can be quite a challenge. Therefore, reward kids for following through with the sleep schedule. This makes it fun and it is a win-win for everyone involved. During the initial days it will seem like a never ending struggle. Thus, it is important that you don’t show your frustration to maintain the positivity. This will avoid any negative experiences linked to sleeping time and it will help you and them in the long run.
4. Give some attention
Since all kids are different and are bonded to their parents on different levels. Introducing a routine or plan that has to be followed for bedtime can make them unsettled. Therefore, if you are used to spending time together before bed. Keep doing it and withdraw from it slowly one night at a time. Especially, if you work the whole day and in the evening is when you get time to stay with them. This will require sacrifice on your end by arriving early to satisfy their longing for attention. This also applies to parents who are home throughout and the kids are used to their presence. Starting a different plan will be a challenge as they have to separate to sleep at a certain time. Therefore, as part of your plan and sleep routine have time to talk about their day and having a healthy snack as a relaxing activity you do before bed.
5. Switch off electronics
Today, kids are too familiar with different electronics. Hence, just as the adults it takes away their sleeping time and keeps their brain alert making it difficult to fall asleep. Therefore, try to power down an hour before bed to boost the production of serotonin and melatonin that are hormones that help with sleep. Also, having control over their screen time will help them in other ways not only sleep. Such as, it makes them more keen on following through and also they do not become addicted to the screens. Keep the circadian rhythm in check and power down to switching of the light for the body to rest easily.
6. Practice without fail
Practice makes perfect. This works in everything including practicing good sleep hygiene. During the first week of practicing your new plan. Most parents give up as the kids get fussy and throw tantrums as they do not want to sleep early. However, if you stick to your plan and practice it every night with love and no harsh words. After a few days, you will be able to witness positive results as they will follow through. Also, ensure that your child’s bedroom is associated with sleep only and not with doing homework and as a playing area. Since this will make it difficult to sleep. Practice more to get their minds to practice relaxing and falling asleep in their room for it gets easier with time.
In summary, it is the responsibility of the parents or caregivers to help their kids to sleep. Although it is quite a challenge especially for children below five years old. Getting a routine in place, listening to them, helping with their fears among other things will help them follow through. However, helping out with sleep is just a phase that shall pass like any other. All in all, if you have done all it takes to get them to sleep and it is not working. There is no harm in contacting a sleep doctor to help you through this process and get other suggestions that work.