5 Ways To Help Your Kids Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is an essential part of our daily lives, more so, for our growing little boys and girls. Sadly, most children aren’t getting enough sleep that they need in order to help their complete and holistic growth.
Sleep is critical for our child’s brain development and how it directly influences daytime functioning, performance, mood, and behavior.
When a child is sleep deprived, it is like the feeling of being in debt. You need to work at depositing at least the same amount you lack back into the account just to break even. Then once you break even, you need to be vigilant with the deposits to be in a win-win situation. This doesn’t happen overnight, which is why helping your child be on track towards a healthy sleep routine is a positive habit to enforce to make sure they are on the right path towards a healthy lifestyle.
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The good news is, if you are a consistent parent, you will start to see some changes right away. Here are 5 ways to help you get your kids dozing off in no time:
1. Make sure they get enough physical activity.
Children who are more physically active during the day requires less time to fall asleep, sleep longer, and seem to have a more deeper and comfortable sleep. In addition to physically being active which ensures better sleep, another big factor is that sleep can decrease the risk of being overweight.
One of many ways for them to be active is to let them play outside or bring them to the park in the afternoon, ride a bike around the block, run around or dance all crazy, these are some activities that you can do with them as well– just make sure they don’t do any of these activities close to sleeping time. Having unused packs of energy come night time will make it hard for anyone to sleep, especially kids. An extra-busy day can make anychild feel ready for bed earlier than usual compared to when there were no rules for sleep.
2. Establish a routine
Kids love routines. They’re very predictable and reliable. Try establishing a bedtime routine for you and your child to do each night. Activities that are calm that will help them wind down are best.Winding down each night with the same calm routine — bath, book, tooth brushing — signals that it’s time for sleep, especially for younger children and kids who seems to have all the energy in the world.
In reality, there is no one right routine for everyone, but in general, your cycle should include all the things that your kids need to do before they go to sleep, including activities like brushing their teeth, washing up or taking a shower, putting on their favorite PJ’s, and having a snack or drink of milk. Your child may also want to be read to, talk about the day, or be told a story. Whatever method or style you choose to do, keep the routine short, 30 minutes or less, not including a bath, and be firm about where it ends signaling that it’s time to sleep. This is one of the quickest ways to begin to catch a child up on deprived sleep.
3. Keep screens and devices out of reach.
Kids nowadays are more inclined to use their gadgets and video games, which takes up almost all of their time. Gadgets like phones, tablets and handheld video games, especially the computer and television offers limitless entertainment which makes them hard to put down even when they’re really sleepy. The best way is to turn off electronics at least one hour before the designated bedtime, because the blue light from these devices throws the body off of its natural sleeping patterns. Too much use of electronics for kids can also affect their school performance in relation to their lack of proper sleep, so putting a limit to usage is the best option for parents in monitoring their child.
4. Make the bedroom cooler.
Many parents have agreed that cooler rooms make for a more comfortable sleep. In fact, even adults sleep better in a well-ventilated room. The suggested temperature for the Z’s is around 18 to 22 degrees Celsius. A good rule of thumb is to keep the room cool, not cold, and to dress your child comfortably for sleep as you dress yourself. Keep in mind that younger children often kick off the covers at night and are unable to cover themselves, so the choice of clothes should be able to cover their tiny bodies well enough during their slumber. Also make sure the bedroom is dark and lit with dim light as much as possible, ensure that it is quiet and the noise level in the house is low. Giving them a transitional object also helps, like an old blanket that your child loves, or a favorite shirt or pillow, a stuffed bear or doll can also do the trick in making sure that your child sleeps comfortably. This way, again, parents don’t have to be there in order for their kids to fall asleep.
5. Be consistent
If you have started on this important mission of getting your child to sleep better, make sure you do follow through. Consistency is key.If your child learns that the rules are only enforced a few times or only “when mom likes it”, he’ll start to think that it’s okay to not follow them and bend the rules overall. For good sleeping habits, a consistent sleep and wake cycle is important. As most parents know, kids thrive on routines. Adults also do, too. For instance, if you are going to see a movie together, see an earlier showing o buy your tickets in advance. Kids usually tend to stall before bedtime. They would want you to read them just one more book, give them one more hug and kiss and get them another glass of milk or cookies. It is usually harder to enforce bedtime rules and habits for working parents because many of them can feel a bit of guilt that they haven’t seen their kids the whole day. But you shouldn’t feel guilty about imposing good sleep patterns in kids. Children who sleep better perform better inschool work and activities and have a better mood in general.
So don’t allow small little stall tactics to become their own routine. Set limits with your children in a kind and calming way.