Sleep is one of the most important aspects when it comes to your child’s health and wellness but as parents of young children will tell you, kids just hate to sleep! As a result, kids often have trouble getting enough good quality sleep and rest which not only affects their overall health and wellbeing but yours too.
If your kids aren’t sleeping, then bedtime can quickly become a battleground when they refuse to relax and lie down. This can lead to growing tensions that then become argumentative, simply due to them being overtired and you getting frustrated. It’s completely normal, but there are ways in which you can help your children get a good night’s sleep. Let’s take a look at some ways you can do this, along with some tips.
Create A Consistent Bedtime Routine
Routines are vital for children, especially young children. Bedtime is one aspect of their day where routine can make a huge difference as it signals to their brain and body that it’s time to start winding down ready for sleep. Your child’s bedtime routine should start after dinner and the rest of the evening should include tasks that are geared towards relaxation and quiet time, such as light playtime, bath, teeth brushing, a bedtime story then getting into bed.
Your goal should be to set the right bedtime atmosphere. A lot of parents give their child screentime as a way of winding down before bed and, if this works for your child, then that’s fine, but research has shown that the blue light emitted from screens, phones and monitors can interfere with the production of the hormone melatonin, meaning that they feel less tired. It has also been found that playing games, watching TV or scrolling before bedtime can keep your child up for an extra 30-60 minutes on average.
The right bedtime routine is one that is comforting and relaxing. Once you’ve got the right routine set up, your child’s body will automatically start becoming sleepy once the routine starts.
Ensure They Have A Comfy Sleep Environment
Your child’s sleep cycle isn’t just dependent on blue light and the right bedtime routine. Temperature and comfort are also very important. Your child’s sleep pattern will be very sensitive to temperature, so if they’re too hot or too cold, this could cause them to have a disturbed night’s sleep or cause them to wake early, or not be able to drop off.
Be sure to change your child into breathable cotton pyjamas as part of their bedtime routine and change their bedding and duvet dependent on the seasons. For example, during the summer, they’ll likely only need a comforter or lighter tog duvet, whereas, in the winter months, a heavier tog and blanket is enough to create a snug and cosy bed. If you have younger children who are going through potty training, be sure to have plenty of changes and backup duvet cover sets in case of any accidents in the night so that they can be quickly changed without too much disruption to your child’s sleep.
Find A Bedtime That Works For Them
We all have different sleep cycles and this is no different for children. Whilst they need around 9-11 hours of sleep each night, if you focus too much on trying to get them to go to sleep at a time where they simply aren’t tired then, just like adults, they will struggle to drift off.
There is so much variability in sleep patterns and most children have sleep patterns that just can’t be changed, no matter how much you try. Early risers will still get up early, even if they go to bed late, and night owls won’t be able to sleep until their bodies are ready.
Depending on the age of your child. It’s important to work with them in setting a responsible bedtime routine to ensure they get enough sleep. For instance, if you try putting them to sleep at 7 pm and they simply aren’t tired, this can create levels of the stress hormone cortisol to increase, which will only make it worse. If they’re usually always asleep by 8:30 and this has no impact on their day to day, make this their bedtime and adjust their bedtime routine accordingly.