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4 Ways to Help Kids Get to Sleep
From the moment our children are born, many of us wonder how we can maximize their sleep potential so that way not only do we have a happy and rested child, but that we are also happy and rested! A solid and predictable sleep routine is key whether you have a ten year-old at home or a ten-month old. Having routines and getting into good habits, rather than bad habits can help children get accurate rest. This is very important.
If your child is cranky due to fatigue, he or she may:
- Have difficulty concentrating in school
- May overeat– many studies show that when people are overtired, they eat more
- Have behavioral issues: meltdowns, difficulty behaving in school, etc
The list grows. Our brains and bodies need sufficient amounts of rest. If you are not sure how much sleep your child should be getting, you can view this chart to see how much sleep your child should be getting, based on his or her age.
In the meantime, follow these four tips to help make your child’s bedtime routine a bit smoother!
Watch What He or She Eats
Dessert is nice after dinner, but it can also be the victim of your child’s inability to get to bed! Every child is different but for my kiddo, I noticed that even one small chocolate square was enough to send her into a hyperactive overtired tizzy! Be mindful of when you give sweets!
Also, a heavy or spicy dinner could take some time to digest, leaving your little one up and waiting.
Have a set routine that your child could repeat at almost any age.
Typically it could be: bath time, reading and then rest. You need a structure that your child can predict, even as young as infancy that way bedtime as a particular rhythm. For my little infant it was, bath, a massage with lotion from time to time, read a baby book, and nurse to sleep. Whatever it is you do with your child, make it predictable and at the same hour each night, or as close as possible!
Avoid triggers (other than foods) in order to help give your child a good night’s rest:
- TV or Tech time. Experts tell adults to put down the phone and tech at least an hour before bedtime, so why would your kid be any different? Some children do need noise to sleep, but getting in the habit of falling asleep to the TV is not a good one. Try white noise or music if your little one needs background noise.
- Starting the routine too late: If your child is already tired, chances are the bedtime routine is going to be painful. Starting out sooner than later is recommended. Remember– kids like to stay up, so they’ll suck every last minute out of you, so start early.
- Heavy discussion: If you have older kids, right before bed may not be the best time to break out heavy discussions as the anxiety of the conversation could keep your kiddo up all night.
- Everything in place: Set out school clothes and homework the night before, making the day “end” with a finality and organization for the following day.
Massage, Music and Story
Infants love massage and hey, what mom or dad doesn’t love massage too? A little head, back or neck massage could make any child or adult a bit sleepy.
Music: soothing music or white noise helped our newborn get to bed and for many of my friends’ children, it still does years later!
Story: story time is a cherished time and should be started as soon as possible, and continued for as long as your children will allow! It is a great way to relax and decompress from a long day for parents and the kids!