Establishing a healthy sleep schedule is essential when it comes to maintaining proper mental and physical health. There are multiple studies that have shown that children who are getting a regular amount of sleep each night have improved behavior, attention span, memory, learning abilities and overall health. Sleep is simply an essential building block for your child’s well-being, just like nutrition.
While we as adults understand this concept, we also understand that getting children to go to sleep at their bedtime every night is not always the easiest task. It’s essential for every parent to understand their child’s sleep needs. Read on to discover a variety of at-home tips that will help your child get enough sleep at night.
1. Maintain a healthy routine
Good sleeping patterns typically rely on consistency. It’s a smart idea to start getting into a nightly routine with your children to ensure they are getting proper rest. If you have an infant, your routine may include singing lullabies or reading books in a rocking chair, followed by turning on a white noise machine and making sure the room is dark.
For toddlers, this may include establishing a specific time for bathing, getting pajamas on, then reading a bedtime story before lights out. The key to establishing a successful nighttime routine is to make it enjoyable for your children! No child will be super excited to get into bed, so creating fun nightly traditions to get them more excited about bedtime will be very helpful.
2. Encourage and implement independent sleep
Encouraging independent sleep at a young age is crucial for developing a good nightly routine and sleep habits. While it is important to spend some quality time with your kids before they go to sleep, remember to set healthy boundaries early so that they do not rely on sleeping with you at night.
Independent sleep also means that a child should be expected to doze off without needing you to be right next to them. (delete) You have likely read and heard the term, “lay your child down drowsy but awake.” This is really the ticket to successful independent sleep, no matter the age. Learning to fall asleep requires you to feel drowsy. So helping them feel drowsy is helpful, but they need to transition themselves to sleep.
3. Create a comfortable sleeping environment
A comfortable sleeping environment plays a major role in getting your child to sleep soundly through the night.. For most people a cool and dark environment proves to be the most conducive to sleep., Making sure you have blackout shades/curtains in the windows is a great way to keep out sunlight in the early morning. Some children also respond well to sound machines that help to block out any outside noise. If your child uses a nightlight, be sure that it is red or amber so it does not become too distracting and offset the melatonin . All of these factors come together to create a cozy sleeping environment, and will make going to bed much easier for your children.
4. Spend family time together before bedtime
Evenings are usually when children get to spend the most time with their parents if they are working during the day. On the other hand, when a child is with their parent all day they can become dependent on the attention they are given, which can make the separation of going to bed a little tough for some.
Regardless of your daily dynamic, it’s always a good idea to spend a certain amount of time with your child before they go to sleep so that they feel a connection to you and can transition into sleep feeling loved and safe. . These are feelings that put the mind at ease, which will further help children rest. Asking your children about their favorite parts of the day or reminding them of the many reasons you love them is a good habit to get into before bed, going hand in hand with a nightly routine.
5. Set a consistent wake-up time
Just as a child needs a consistent bedtime, they also need to have a consistent wake-up time so that their body can adjust to a proper sleeping schedule. Weekends and holidays should be included with this! Letting your young children sleep in too late can affect their overall routine and cause them to be much more awake when it is time for bed.
6. Turn off screens a couple of hours before bed
This is a big one! Any type of electronic screen is bad for children before bed because the light prohibits their sleep hormone melatonin from being secreted. It’s smart to limit your children to a healthy amount of screen time each day so that they do not become over-stimulated right before it’s time to sleep. Ideally, all electronic screens should be powered off around one to two hours before bedtime.
7. Remain positive
No matter what, the concept of “bedtime” is always going to be hard for a child to grasp at first. It’s important to remain positive when you are in the beginning phases of developing a nightly routine. There will always be good nights and nights that are a little more difficult, but the main thing to focus on is making sure your child feels safe and comfortable. It’s also good to keep in mind that every child is different, and therefore may require some trial and error until you find the techniques that work best for them.
There comes a time in your child’s life that you have to put in a little more effort when it comes to enforcing a bedtime in order to ensure your child has healthy sleeping habits. Remember, this is something that comes with time and consistency. After maintaining a proper nightly routine and sleeping schedule, your child will be able to do this on their own in no time!
Sleepably provides caring guidance and support to help your baby sleep and nap soundly. If you are interested in learning more, you may schedule a free consultation or contact us directly by visiting our website or calling 720-487-ZZZZ.