Sleep is absolutely essential for babies and children for their healthy development. Sleep is also crucial for adults so that they can function properly, get work done and look after their family.
Parents that don’t enough sleep will struggle to be patient and to be an attentive parent. When babies and children struggle to sleep at night this often keeps up the whole household.
Knowing how to encourage healthy sleep habits for your entire family is an absolute must.here are some tips to encourage better family sleep:
Routine All The Way
Having a bedtime routine is absolutely essential for babies and children. Make sure that there is a set bed time every night for children and that every night there is a wind down period before they need to go to bed.
Having a set way of doing things every evening will help your children to calm down and be mentally prepared for sleep. Including a bath and a bedtime story are great ways to help your children know it is nearly sleep time. Giving your child a massage before bed will help to induce sleep.
Having your own bedtime routine will also help you to sleep better as your body and your mind will be able to wind down and know when it is time to sleep.
A wake up time is almost as important as a bed time. When you and your family start getting into a routine it may be hard at first but your body clock quickly resets itself and gets used to the times you need to wake up and go to sleep.
Avoid pressing the snooze button on your alarm clock, this will only result in interrupted sleep cycles and make you feel worse for wear. It is also incredibly hard to get over the bad habit of pressing snooze once you have started.
Limit Caffeine, Sugar and Alcohol
Caffeine, sugar and alcohol are all stimulants that will disrupt your sleep. Make sure that you limit the intake of all of those late in the evening to make sure it does not have a negative impact on your sleep.
Make sure your kids don’t have too much sugar late in the day and avoid giving your kids caffeine.
Make Your Bedrooms Comfortable
Make sure that you have a good quality, comfortable bed. Something to take into account when buying a bed is whether you are a co-sleeping family or not. If you are going to have children in the bed with you then you will need to have a sturdy and large bed to accommodate your family. Have a look at all the different styles of beds available to find the best bed for you, such as this Swiss bed.
Make sure you have the right bed for your children. If you have a baby you will need a bassinet or cot, and you can get a special toddler bed for your child when he moves out of his cot before he moves to a big bed.
Buy good quality bedding that is cosy and comfortable. Make your bed and your children’s beds a place of happiness and comfort.
Going To Bed and Staying In Bed
Don’t let your baby sleep in a car seat, or let your child fall asleep on the couch watching tv. These are not good sleeping habits and will prevent your child from sleeping well. The same applies to adults. Make sure that you go to bed to sleep and not fall asleep in front of the tv or anywhere else.
It is important to let your children know how important it is to stay in bed when it is bed time. There will be a stage where your child will keep jumping out of bed like a jack rabbit. Try not to make a fuss or punish your child. Try to be patient and keep taking your child back to bed immediately. Rather in the morning reward your child for staying in bed with stickers or a star on his reward chart. Eventually your child will start staying in bed when it is bed time.
No Screen Time Before Bed
Screen time just before bed will seriously inhibit your chances of having a good night’s rest, this goes for adults as well as children. Make sure there are no devices in the bedroom and that there is a cut off time each evening for children and for adults for any screen time. This is a very important part of preparing for sleep.
Exercise and Fresh Air
Your body needs exercise in order to sleep well at night. If you are sedentary all day chances are high you won’t be getting a great night’s sleep. Plan outdoor activities for you and your family as much as possible. Getting outdoors is great for your health and comes with so many benefits including helping you to sleep better.
Doing yoga and pilates are great forms of exercise for relaxation, you can also try meditation which will help to calm your mind.
Things That Aid Sleep
Drinking chamomile tea is great for inducing sleep as has a very mild sedating effect, so swop your evening coffee for chamomile tea.
Lavender is also great for soothing, calming and sleep. You can put some lavender oil onto a tissue near your pillow, or you can put some lavender oil in your bath. Lavender is considered safe for babies and children due to its mild nature.
However always make sure to always check with your doctor which essential oils for children are safe before using them.
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Also published on Medium.