Getting enough sleep is essential for children's health and development. It helps them to grow, stay healthy and learn. Sleep physically restores the body and can help improve brain function and mental health. Not getting enough sleep can affect children’s behaviour, their emotional well-being and their mental health.
With many kids struggling to get a good night’s sleep, parents play the biggest role in helping to shape a better sleeping pattern. We have put together a few ideas on how you might be able to help your child’s bedtime routine.
1 Be Patient
Firstly it is important to remember that changing sleep habits takes time, so be patient and understanding as you help your child improve their sleep. Remember, not everything will work for every child, so be encouraging, supportive and celebrate each success along the way.
2 Establish a Consistent Bedtime Routine
Children tend to thrive on routine, and having a regular bedtime can help them wind down and prepare for sleep. This can include activities such as reading a book, taking a warm bath or even singing a lullaby.
3 Limit Screen Time Before Bed
The blue light emitted by electronic devices like phones and tablets can disrupt the body’s production of melatonin, which is a hormone produced by glands in the brain. It helps to regulate the body’s sleep-wake cycle and is often referred to as the sleep hormone. Melatonin levels naturally rise in the evening, signalling to the body it is time to sleep. The levels decrease in the morning, telling us it is time to wake up.
Encourage your child to turn off all devices at least an hour before bed.
4 Create a Sleep Conductive Environment
A quiet, dark and cool room can help your child feel relaxed and drowsy. Make sure the bed is comfortable and consider investing in quality bedding to ensure maximum comfort and snugness.
5 Encourage Physical Activity
Regular physical activity can improve sleep quality and help your child feel more rested. As obvious as it sounds, making them more tired during the day through exercise will help them to fall asleep more easily at night. Encourage your child to participate in activities such as a sports, dance and yoga.
6 Avoid Caffeine
This might sound more like one for the coffee loving adults, but with so many high caffeine drinks aimed at children, it isn’t surprising that many are struggling to get to sleep. Encourage them to avoid energy and fizzy drinks as much as possible, but especially in the evening.
As we mentioned, every child is different, but hopefully these tips help you to find the perfect bedtime routine for your child and help them on their way to the better night’s sleep they need to grow, learn and thrive.