Sleep is essential for everybody, but especially for kids. Our bodies use the time when we sleep to recover, recharge and consolidate, which is important for both the physical and mental development of kids. However, some kids have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep or getting quality sleep, and it is our duty as parents to provide our children with a restful snooze. Read about sleep tips for kids of all ages to learn how to impact your kids’ sleep cycles positively by building a healthy sleep-inducing environment.
1. Establish a regular bedtime routine
When discussing some tips to get your kids to sleep, tip number one focuses on establishing a regular bedtime routine. It’s essential for kids to be familiar with their own bedtime routine and to respect it more or less strictly. What does a bedtime routine include? Bedtime is the time when kids should wind down and relax, and for the sake of good nights’ sleep, they should avoid doing some activities that are too active and exciting. It is best to start with a soothing bath, which is then followed by a bedtime story. It’s important for kids as well as their brains to be aware of what comes next. This helps their brain relax and prepare for shuteye. Also, kids should go to bed at more or less the same time every night, even on weekends and during holidays. This regular habit helps them maintain a positive attitude to bedtime as well as wakeup time. However, if you let your kid vary from going to bed at 9 pm and 12 pm, you are going to make it really difficult for him or her to get used to getting up early for kindergarten or school.
2. Establish a regular wake up routine
The same as a regular bedtime routine, kids should live by a fairly strict wake-up routine as well. The same as bedtime, the wake-up time shouldn’t differ from more than 1 to 2 hours top. The healthy and regular bedtime and wakeup routines help your kids’ internal clocks stay on a regular pattern. The wakeup time should be more or less the same during school days, holidays and weekends. In order to set the correct bedtime as well as wakeup time, you must take into consideration your kid’s age as well as his/her habits, needs and preferences.
Besides the regular bedtime and wakeup routine, naps are essential for infants, toddlers and children in development. Make sure your kids snooze for a short time during the day. It helps them stay in balance and recharge their bodies.
3. Check the bedroom for essential features
A bedroom where we sleep quality sleep should be cool, quiet and cozy. These are the three characteristics you need to check your kid’s rooms for. In order to assure quality sleep, make sure that the bedroom is not too hot or cold, as it can inhibit the quality of your kid’s sleep. Set the temperature to average at all times. Next, check for any potential noise that can affect your kids when asleep. If your child is noise-sensitive, you can get a fan or a white noise machine. They can lower the impact of the noise coming into the bedroom. The bedroom should also be dark and not featuring any lights that can disturb your kids. However, if your kid is afraid of sleeping in a completely dark room, you can get one of those night lights kids love. It helps them feel safe. Another important feature of the environment is the bed. The bed should be comfortable and suitable for your kids. The kids sheets should be made of quality materials such as cotton. They come in many patterns and themes your kids adore. This is key in order for kids to relate going to sleep with something positive and not with punishment.
4. Limit screen time
In order to avoid potential sleep disorders, which are bound to keep your kids and you awake as well, you can limit their screen time during the day, but especially at night. Research has shown that the blue light emitted from our phones, computer screens and TVs affects our sleep and bedtime routine negatively. Why is this so? Well, when it sees light (in this case, coming from a screen), our brain recognizes it as a sign to wake up. And that’s why we find it difficult to fall asleep after surfing the net for some time and staring at our screen. You can prevent this by limiting screen time for your kids at least one to two hours before going to bed. This will allow the brain to relax. Instead of staring at the screens, you could try reading a story, talking or playing a board game. Some parents even have a policy of bedroom being the screen-free zone, meaning that no screens are allowed in the bedroom. Other parents, on the other hand, have the policy of no-phones in the bedroom during the night, which means when it’s bedtime, kids have to leave their phones and tablets outside their bedroom.
5. Make sure they have regular physical activity
Getting plenty of exercise during the day is a sure basis for good nights’ sleep. Anything from running around, doing some sport, taking the dog for a walk and going to park counts. Any activity that takes them out of the house for at least 60 minutes of physical activity does the trick. This is advisable also because by being outside, your child absorbs natural light, which makes him/her feel awake and energized during the day and sleepy towards bedtime, as bright light suppresses melatonin. It is an important element of our sleeping cycle and high levels of melatonin mean that you’re sleepy and ready for bed.
6. Mind the food and beverages children take
This is something we often forget, but it also affects the quality of your kids’ sleep. Eating a healthy and nutritious meal at the right time is highly necessary for your children. When children eat too much, or on the other hand, don‘t eat (enough) it can make them uncomfortable and uneasy. This prevents them from falling asleep or sleeping through the night. Good eating habits start with a well-balanced breakfast. Moreover, there are some things such as caffeine that you should avoid at all times. Caffeine is found in sodas, energy drinks, coffee and chocolate. Consumption of these groceries can keep your child awake and restless at night, especially if consumed right before bedtime.
Every child is different and has its own needs. This is true for sleeping needs as well. However, some features are mutual for all kids’ good nights’ sleep, and they start from promoting a healthy and regular bedtime routine where kids learn about the way to prepare themselves for bedtime as well as to respect a consistent wakeup time, which helps them maintain a regular sleep cycle. It moves onto the overall conditions of their bedroom, which should be quiet, dark, cozy and cool. It also addresses the contemporary issue of screen time, by advising a certain limit in use. Finally, sleep tips cover the number of physical activity kids do on a daily basis as well as the diet they consume.