Sleep is essential for healthy health, but problems falling asleep aren’t only a part of growing up. Kids can struggle to get enough sleep, and if they can’t sleep, neither can you.
When children refuse to settle in and go asleep, bedtime can become a battleground. However, there are techniques to improve your chances of winning. Use these ten pointers to learn how to fight a battle… and win!
1. Set an individualized bedtime
According to the National Sleep Foundation, school-aged children require between 9 and 11 hours of sleep per night. However, sleep requirements and patterns vary greatly. Regardless of what you do, most children have predictable routines.
Even if you put them to bed later, early risers will still wake up early, while night owls will not fall asleep until their bodies are ready.
That’s why, according to Ashanti Woods, MD, a paediatrician in Baltimore, Maryland, it’s critical for parents to work with their children to establish a reasonable bedtime that allows them to get enough sleep and wake up on time.
2. Set a wake-up time
Set a wake-up time for your child based on how much sleep they require and when they go to bed. Woods advises parents to establish a wake-up ritual as early as the preschool years to help alleviate stress in the future.
And don’t forget to stick to the schedule. Allowing your child to sleep in on weekends is a sweet gesture, but it may backfire in the long run.
Those extra hours of sleep will make it difficult for their bodies to feel weary when it’s time to go to bed. However, if you can keep bedtime and wake-up times within an hour or so every day, you’ll make everyone’s lives so much easier.
3. Create a consistent bedtime routine
Infants, toddlers, and preschoolers need routines more than anyone else. According to Woods, the rest of the evening should include light playtime, a bath, brushing teeth, a bedtime storey, and finally sleeping.
Aim for a soothing and relaxing routine to create the optimal bedtime environment. At the start of the pattern, your child’s body may begin to go asleep automatically before long.
4. Turn off the screens at least 2 hours before bedtime
Melatonin is a crucial component of the sleep-wake cycle. Most people are sleepy and ready for bed when their melatonin levels are at their peak.
Blue light from a television screen, phone, or computer display can interfere with the generation of the hormone melatonin, according to research from 2011Trusted Source.
According to a 2017 study, watching TV, playing video games, or reading through online pages on a phone or computer shortly before bed keeps your youngster awake for an extra 30 to 60 minutes.
Make the bedroom a screen-free zone, or at the very least ensure that all screens are turned off before night. When you’re in your child’s room, put your phone on mute or don’t bring it in at all.
Instead of screen time, Abhinav Singh, MD, director of the Indiana Sleep Center, suggests reading to your child in the evening to give their brain a chance to relax.
5. Reduce stress before bedtime
Cortisol, widely known as the “stress hormone,” is another hormone that affects sleep. Your child’s body will be unable to shut down and sleep if cortisol levels are high.
Pre-bedtime activities should be tranquil. This can help your youngster avoid having too much cortisol in his or her system. “To make it easier to fall asleep, you need to lessen stress,” says Dr. Sarah Mitchell, a chiropractor and sleep consultant.
6. Create a sleep-inducing environment
Soft sheets, room darkening curtains, and relative stillness can assist your child in distinguishing between day and night, making it easier for him or her to go asleep.
“Creating a sleep-inducing atmosphere is vital because it reduces distractions and sets the stage for sleep,” Mitchell adds. “When you’re calm, you’re less distracted and can go asleep faster and with less assistance.”
7. Keep it cool
The sleep cycle of your child isn’t solely influenced by light (or the lack thereof). It’s also temperature-sensitive. Melatonin levels aid in the regulation of the internal body temperature drop required for sleep.
You can, however, assist in regulating the outside temperature. Don’t over-wrap your youngster in blankets or turn up the heat.
Whitney Roban, PhD, a clinical psychologist and sleep specialist, suggests clothing your child in breathable cotton pyjamas and keeping the room temperature between 65 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit (18.3 and 21.1 degrees Celsius) at night.
8. Help alleviate fears
While ghosts and other terrible creatures may not genuinely exist at night, instead of ignoring your child’s anxieties, discuss them with him or her.
If basic reassurance fails, consider having a specific toy stand guard at night or spraying the room with “monster spray” before going to bed.
Roban suggests arranging time during the day to talk about any worries, rather than waiting until evening to do so.
“Children are incredibly smart, and they will quickly understand that if they use the time to voice their bedtime worries, they may stall bedtime,” she explains.
9. Reduce the focus on sleep
It can be difficult for children to turn off their brains for the night. Instead of adding to your child’s worry by urging that it’s time to go to bed (“now!”), focus on relaxing and keeping them quiet.
Teach your child how to relax their body by using deep breathing techniques. “Inhale for 4 seconds through your nose, hold for 5 seconds, then exhale for 6 seconds,” Roban advises.
She suggests that younger children simply practise breathing long, deep breaths in and out.
10. Be on the lookout for sleep disorders
Your best-laid ideas may not always produce the desired results. (Hello, and welcome to the world of parenthood!)
Your child may have a sleep issue if they have trouble going asleep, have frequent nightmares, snore, or breathe through their mouth, according to Mitchell.
If you have any worries about your child’s sleeping habits, always consult your paediatrician. They might refer you to a sleep specialist or give you other ideas to try so that everyone in the family can get a decent night’s sleep!
- How do you deal with kids that wont go to sleep?
If your child will not go to sleep without you
Follow a regular calming bedtime routine.
Put your child to bed when they’re drowsy but awake, then kiss them goodnight.
Promise to go back in a few moments to give them another kiss.
Return almost immediately to give a kiss.
- How do you trick kids to sleep?
7 Tips and Tricks for Getting Kids to Sleep at Night
Know how much sleep your child should be getting. …
Make bedtime a routine. …
Create an ideal sleeping environment. …
Turn off electronics. …
Make sure they get regular exercise. …
Avoid meals and caffeine before bedtime. …
Be on the lookout for signs of sleep disorders.
- Why is my child fighting bedtime?
Allergies, teething problems, earaches, and head colds are just a few of the more typical causes. Then there are the late-night sleep deprivation issues, such as pre-bed screen usage and too much daily excitement, which can usually be addressed without too much effort.
- Why does my kid freak out at bedtime?
An sickness, such as a cold or an ear infection, could induce a sudden commencement of crying at sleep. If your child is sick, they may not want to be left alone. They may also be irritable because to teething, congestion, fever, or other concerns.