How To Form Good Sleeping Habits In Your Child
Many parents have a variety of methods for getting their children to sleep. Some swear by these rituals and that others could benefit from using them. While each child may be affected on different levels, there are a number of consistent ways to get results.
1. Set an individualized bedtime
For a child to develop properly, an adequate number of hours asleep is essential. From the ages of 0 to about 5, tiny humans should be getting at least 12 to 15 hours of sleep. When they are going to school, that number is still high, around 9 to 11 hours.
Getting into a routine where a child goes to sleep at a specific time can help avoid headaches for you and your child in the future.
2. Set a wake-up time
While your child may wake up early on their own, it’s important to set a specific time to wake. You want to ensure your child gets at least 9 hours of sleep before going to school the next day. Having specified bedtime and wake-up time will allow your child’s body to re-energize. Also be sure to keep bedtime and wake up time as close to your designated hours as possible.
3. Create a consistent bedtime routine
For children ranging from infant to pre-school age, routines are the best way to keep things copasetic. Whenever I’m putting my niece to bed, she always loves to have a bath before being tucked in. Having a ritual such as bathing or reading Dr. Seuss books can get a child excited in a way that has them relaxed for bedtime.
4. Turn off the TV at least two hours before bedtime
Whether staring at your phone, TV, or a computer screen, such devices emit a blue light that interferes with the circadian rhythm (sleep-wake cycle) of the human brain. A protein known as melatonin is responsible for the sleepy feeling we get near bedtime. The light is enough to keep your child awake for longer than wanted.
Once you have them in the bedroom, enact a ‘no screen’ rule. Others may wish to simply put the device away in their room. When my niece is over, I simply take away her device and don’t return it till morning.
5. Reduce stress before bedtime
Human experience a minimal but constant level of stress throughout the day. This feeling is caused by the ‘stress hormone’ known as cortisol. When we experience events that get our heart racing or increase our nervousness, cortisol is produced in such great amounts, it can cause health problems.
Conduct activities with your kid such as coloring or reading a book together. Keep the activity quiet and calm. Instead of having the ceiling light on, get your kid a bedside lamp to reduce light levels.
6. True quiet
Another method one can employ to promote sleep for their child is to start with getting them soft sheets. Reduce the number of toys in the room to remove distraction. Consider investing in night lights that project images onto the walls and play music at the same time.
A place that appears and sounds meant for sleep will usually garner a positive response.
7. Keep it cool
I personally have a problem breathing through the night when the environment is too warm. It’s important not to make the temperature too high or too low in their room. Deep sleep is always better achieved in a cooler environment, but be sure it is not freezing.
8. Be their protector
Many children experience nightmares that spill into their waking world. Don’t simply tell your child to suck it up and go to sleep. You can offer to stay in their room to fight the “monster under the bed” or ‘ask’ one of their current toys to protect them.
9. Shift your focus
You ever feel more awake after jumping right into bed? The same might happen to your child if you haven’t wound them down from the day they’ve had. Increase the length of calming activities.
10. Eagle eye
If the techniques you employ don’t seem to be working, your child may have an underlying issue. Take your child to a pediatrician to see what that issue may be and how you can help your child get sleep.