Moms and dads have a long list of responsibilities to take care of each day. From making sure their little ones get to school on time to ensure that they eat plenty of vitamins and minerals in their daily diets, there’s an awful lot to think about, and it’s not always easy to keep your kids as happy and healthy as you want them to be.
For many parents, one of the most challenging times of the day is bedtime. Children from three to 12 years of age need between nine and 13 hours of sleep per night, according to the experts, but many moms and dads know from experience that putting little ones to bed isn’t always easy!
Children can have trouble sleeping for a wide range of reasons, just like grown-ups. They might be feeling a little stressed or anxious about things going on in their lives, for instance, or they could be feeling too active and energetic when bedtime arrives due to certain aspects of their lifestyle, like watching too much TV or eating too many sweet treats.
At times, it can seem almost impossible to help your children get the rest they need, and when they don’t sleep, you usually struggle to enjoy your evenings and get to bed too. Fortunately, help is at hand. Here are some useful tips you can try out the next time your child struggles to drift off into a peaceful rest.
Set a Schedule
One of the most important tips of them all is to make sure you set-up a sleeping schedule for your kids. Having a regular bedtime can make a real difference in the long-term, allowing children to get used to going to bed at the same time and helping their minds and bodies get into a routine too.
Bedtime stories will never go out of fashion, and they’ll always be one of the best methods to try when your little one can’t seem to get to sleep. Whether you’re reading a traditional fairy tale or inventing a whole new story off the top of your head, young children always seem to enjoy hearing a story before they sleep, letting them slip into a state of relaxation and taking their minds away from other stresses or thoughts that could keep them up.
Melatonin is a naturally-occurring hormone that helps us relax and fall asleep. It’s produced by the brain naturally, but it can be produced in wildly different amounts, depending on factors like diet and lifestyle. A child with a lack of melatonin might find it hard to get to sleep, so melatonin supplements may be used to help out.
One issue that might be causing problems for your kids when it comes to bedtime is that they’re not tired enough because they’ve already slept earlier in the day. Young children often take naps in the afternoon, and this can be perfectly healthy, but if your kids are napping too much and then having difficulty getting to sleep at night, it might be time to adjust their routine and reduce the amount of naps they take.
Less Screen Time
Scientific studies have consistently shown that the blue light from TVs, phones, and computer screens can have a negative effect on melatonin production in the body, thereby making it harder for people to get to sleep. For this reason, many sleep experts recommend trying to keep screen time to a minimum in the evenings, especially in the hour or two before bedtime. Kids who read books, hear stories, or play with toys, rather than staring at screens, should find it easier to fall asleep.
Cool and Comfortable
It’s not just screens and schedules that can have an effect on your child’s sleeping habits. The temperature of their room and the comfort of their bed-clothes can also make a real impact too. Experts recommend keeping the room at a temperature of around 65 to 70°F for optimal sleeping conditions, as well as making sure your children are dressed in comfortable, cotton pajamas that don’t itch or irritate them in any way.
Sleep is absolutely essential for good health in children, helping their bodies rest and recover from the day’s exertions and building up their energy levels for the challenges of tomorrow. It needs to be taken seriously, and it’s often up to mom and dad to make changes and try different techniques to help their kids get to sleep. If your child has any issues, give these tips a try and contact your pediatrician for more help.