If you are a parent, you already know that getting your child to go to sleep can be a real struggle. It is a nightmare that keeps repeating day after day. Kids don’t look forward to sleeping; they resist it in every way possible. Although they need more sleep than adults, they don’t enjoy it and would rather be doing something else. However, if your kids don’t rest properly during the night, it can take a toll on their health. It also affects entire families, as if a kid sleeps poorly, so will the parents. If you don’t want to deal with the effects of sleep deprivation, you should do everything in your power to get your children to go to bed on time.
Consistency is the Key
One of the ways to make your kids sleep on time is to have consistent bedtime schedules. It is crucial to have your children go to bed at the same time every day, even during holidays and on weekends. Something like this can be hard to do at first, but after a while, they will get used to it, and you will start enjoying your evenings. Determine how many hours of sleep they need, depending on their age, and set the appropriate bedtime and wake-up time.
Develop a Pre-Sleep Routine
If you want to get your child settled, it is critical to develop a routine and stick to it. They are mainly relevant for young kids and can take the stress out of bedtime, both for you and for them. Doing special things that your children enjoy before bed signals them what comes next. If you repeat the same activities day after day, after a while, they will learn that all of these things lead to them going to bed on time. Some of the things that you should include in the bedtime ritual are turning off the TV and other electronic devices, relaxing bath, brushing their teeth, putting on PJs, talking softer, playing relaxing music, dimming lights, reading a bedtime story, and finally, goodnight kisses and turning off lights. Of course, if your kid is scared of the dark, you can turn on a lamp, or keep the doors open and the hallway light on. Before you even realize it, your children will start becoming sleepy at the beginning of this routine. Give it some time, and after a while, sending them to bed will stop being a nightmare.
Cut Down on Screen Time
Another thing that you should do if you want your kids to stick to their bedtime schedule is to cut down on their screen time. You should make sure they don’t play video games or watch the TV at least one hour before going to sleep. The light from a phone, a computer monitor, and a TV screen can interfere with the production of melatonin. This hormone has a vital role when it comes to sleep-wake cycles. If its levels are high, adults and kids are sleepy and ready to go to bed. However, if your children play games before the bedtime, it will disrupt the production of melatonin, thus making them stay awake longer. You may even want to consider making their room a screen-free zone. It includes removing computers, televisions, games, and other devices from their bedrooms.
Create a Perfect Environment for Sleep
It is crucial to be aware that your kids’ room should promote sleeping. It is the best idea to keep it cool, quiet, and dark. If they are afraid of dark, dimming the lights is a good enough solution. If they have troubles relaxing and falling asleep in total silence, don’t worry, you can always use a fan or a noise machine. A rhythmic and steady sound will help them relax. You can also add a few stuffed animals, as young kids love sleeping with them. However, make sure not to add too many toys as it can be a distraction for the youngsters. Additionally, you should ensure they sleep on soft sheets. If this is not the case, consider buying new sheets for their beds. Their mattresses also have an impact on their ability to fall asleep. If they are old and uncomfortable, you may want to consider replacing them with new models. Many models are available with different features, and you have a wide variety of options to choose from. Taking a look at top rated mattresses can also help you make the right choice. In case your kids can’t fall asleep because of itching caused by allergens, it would be a wise idea to buy organic PJs.
Choose Their Meals Wisely
You should keep in mind that overstuffing your kids before the bedtime is not a good idea. Heavy meals will keep them up at night. The best solution is to have them eat healthy snacks that are not too filling before going to sleep. For example, you may want to consider giving them crackers, fruit, toast with peanut butter, oatmeal, or a glass of milk. Tuna, eggs, and poultry also aid sleep. Whatever you do, make sure they avoid caffeine and sugar. You can allow your kids soft drinks here and there, but not within 2 to 3 hours of bedtime. Keep in mind that caffeine keeps both adults and young ones awake, and it is not very good for kids. Not only they will stay awake because of it, but it also is not a very healthy option for them.
Make Sure They Exercise
If you are struggling with getting your young ones to go to bed, you should ensure they get enough exercise during the day. Sometimes, kids don’t want to go to sleep in the evening because they don’t feel very tired. The best way to prevent similar situations is to do your best to make sure they get enough physical activity. They can do whatever they want, such as riding a bicycle or playing football, it just needs to be something that will make them feel tired. However, don’t forget to keep their last playtime around 4 hours prior going to bed. Otherwise, they may be too stimulated to sleep.
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Also published on Medium.