How to make you child's bedtime easy
Sleep is vital for a child’s growth, health and wellbeing. However, getting them to sleep isn’t always an easy feat, with most parents running into some problems at bedtime.
Children require more sleep than adults, but often fight the urge to doze off with every fibre of their being. Before you know it, you’ve tucked them in 5 times, and they’re constantly waking up throughout the night.
We’ve put together 6 tips that will help your child to sleep soundly and for longer every night.
Make bedtime a routine
Having a set routine can reduce the stress of bedtime. Structured evenings will help children prepare for sleep and can include several steps such as dimming lights in the home, a warm bath, putting pyjamas on, story time or listening to relaxing music before bed. All children are different, what’s important is that you build a routine that works for your family – and stick with it.
Have set bedtimes
Ideally your child should be going to sleep and waking up within the same 1-2 hour time frame each day to nurture their natural body clock. Changing these times too often can have a negative impact on your child, similar to jet lag, which will drain their energy, put them in a bad mood and make going to sleep even harder.
Create a good sleeping environment
A child’s bedroom should be a sleep sanctuary, with the ideal lighting and noise level to promote heading off to the land of nod. Their room should be somewhere they feel safe, is quiet, cool and dark – unless your child is afraid of the dark, then a small nightlight is recommended. Removing technological distractions from the room such as laptops and iPad’s an hour before bedtime will also help with the wind-down process. As blue light from these devices can trick the brain into thinking it needs to stay awake.
If your child is too full or too hungry before bed it can make them uncomfortable and restless. Ensuring they have a nutritious meal around 3 hours before bed is ideal, with a small bedtime snack if they’re still hungry. Snacks that are high in protein or fibre such as nuts, hummus, Greek yoghurt, eggs or berries are recommended – whilst sugar and caffeine should be avoided.
Exercise isn’t only great for your child’s fitness, cardiovascular health and weight control, but also for sleep. Research has shown that children who take part in regular physical exercise go to sleep quicker and for longer than those with an inactive lifestyle. Allow time for playtime and exercise at least 2 hours before bed, any later and your little ones may still be too stimulated for sleep.
Make sure your child is getting the right amount of sleep
The amount of sleep a child needs varies based on their individual needs and age. So, it’s important to keep up-to-date with the daily recommendations as they get older. To find out the suggested amount of sleep for your child, visit the NHS website here
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