Best Sleep Practices for Children Many things can prevent kids from getting the necessary quantity of sleep. School is often too early and sports sometimes end too late in the evening. Be that as it may, sleep is important for a child’s growth and development. Children benefit just as much, if not more than adults do from maintaining a good sleep schedule. To ensure your child is getting the sleep they need, design a sleep plan that encompasses a nightly sleep ritual. A good sleep routine provides a peaceful transition from day to night. It can also help your child develop good sleep habits that may last a lifetime.
Kids Need Quality Sleep, Too
Sleep impacts nearly every aspect of our lives and so it makes sense that it would affect children in similar ways. Not to mention how growing children especially rely on sleep to help their bodies grow and thrive properly. Where sleep helps adults stay focused, when kids get enough sleep, they also experience improved attention. For children, sleep is important to minimize behavioral issues and lessen emotional dysregulation. Everyone seems to be in a better mood after getting good, quality sleep on a regular basis.
Preparing for Sleep
Start preparing your child for bed about an hour before they actually need to go to sleep. This is a good time to switch from high energy and maybe stressful activities such as homework, to calmer ones. This is also a good time to cut out any stimulating foods or beverages that contain sugar. Instead of watching television or playing on electronics, encourage your child to go for a walk or draw. This cuts out unnecessary light exposure which can disrupt your child’s ability to sleep. About twenty minutes before bedtime, start your nightly ritual.
The Pathway to Better Sleep is Routine
Recognizing how much sleep is necessary for your child will help you establish a reasonable bedtime. The National Sleep Foundation itemizes sleep duration requirements for different age groups. These recommendations were compiled by a committee of sleep experts and doctors from a variety of fields including pediatrics. Once you decide how much sleep is needed, determine the appropriate bedtime and wake time for your kids. Take into consideration any activities that could impact the sleep schedule including evening sports, school starting time and weekend commitments such as church.
The best pre-bedtime schedule is a consistent one that has repetitive steps each night. This method will help your child know what to anticipate and understand what your expectations of them are. A predictable schedule can really help the evenings go smoothly. Typically, a bedtime routine will consist of steps such as:
• Evening Bath • Getting Dressed in Pajamas • Snack • Brushing Teeth • Storytime • Tuck In • Lights Out
To engage your child, allow age-appropriate contributions to the plan. For example, a child could choose their pajamas, the book to read or their snack from a couple healthy options provided.
If It’s Good for Your Sleep, It’s Probably Good for Theirs There are many ways to improve your sleep and the good news is that these can also help improve your child’s sleep. A good, steady sleep schedule is a simple way to start. Sleeping on the right mattress can help, too. Other well-known ways to get better sleep include cutting out caffeine, sleeping in a dark room, and eating less late in the day. Combining a good sleep schedule with these other best sleep practices can result in better sleep for everyone!