Getting a good night’s sleep is important for the entire family, but, as some of us are well aware of, children and sleep do not always mix well. Getting a young child to bed consistently is sometimes easier said than done, but with the right methods and knowledge, you can help your child find sleep, and you can find some peace.
Sleep issues are one of the most common problems that parents confront regarding their children. It can be difficult to get children to sleep through the night. Sometimes these sleep issues stem from chronic sleeping disorders, and numerous children stumble through the day heavy with sleep deprivation. In the following paragraphs you will find solace in the fact that there are millions of parents around the world who are dealing with the same sleep themed issues you are! You are not alone and there is hope and help, that in the near future you and your child will be enjoying a full-nights rest!
Children who reach school age are still going to require nine to 12 hours of sleep each nights. During this age period, children are more apt to fight sleeping and this can leave them feeling tired, groggy and being sleep deprived. Each child is going to vary on exactly how much sleep she or he needs, and as their parent it is your job to figure out your child’s individual sleep pattern. Children who are getting enough sleep will fall asleep 15 to 20 minutes after the lay down, can get up quickly and easily in the mornings to begin their daily routines, and are alert and responsive during the day and do not require a nap. Be sure that your child knows everyone has different sleep habits. Many times, school-age children compare bedtimes and attempt to use these various times as a bargaining chip with mom and dad so they can stay up later. Remain consistent and let them know there bedtime gives them energy, and makes them healthy and strong.
So here is the bottom line: How can you get your child to have better, healthier sleep habits?
• Bedtime should be a quiet, relaxing and special time between you and your child. Treat your child with tenderness, yet remain firm and consistency. Begin the same routine at the same time ever night. Maybe start with a warm bubble bath, make getting into pajamas fun, read a book of their choice and then tuck them into bed. Uniformity is key; this way your child will always know what to expect and will come to anticipate their bedtime rituals.
• Finding your child’s perfect bedtime takes some preemptive work on your part. Watch your child during the course of the evening and look for signs they are wearing down. The occasional yawn, rubbing their eyes, and slowing down. These are all signals it is time for their little bodies to get some rest, recharge to battery and be ready for the new day. You will want to start their bedtime routine before they actual show these signals, letting them be in their beds by the time they are ready to go to sleep.
• Make sure the routines you establish can take place anywhere. We are not always able to be at home, and consistency during vacations, family visits and holiday travel is important. Stay as closely as you can to what your child expects around bedtime.
• Keep your child active with various fun activities during the day, including lots of fun exercise and fresh air!
• Never lay your child down with juice or milk. This can cause tooth decay and the extra amounts of sugar can actually be counteractive in your quest to get your child into bed.
• Betimes needs to be a friendly, secure time between parents and their children. Do not use going to bed as a threat; children will learn to associate negative aspects of sleep with their bedtimes. Teaching your child to enjoy their moments of quiet and sleep is important, and they will fall asleep much faster with positive connotations for sleep associated with their individual bedtimes.
Sleep issues are always going to exist, but using these techniques you can cut down the bedtime stress and use this time as an opportunity to become closer to your child. Remember, consistency is the key and a positive bedtime experience is just a little bit of effort away.