Kids can have difficulty sleeping, and if they can't sleep, you can't sleep. When children refuse to settle in and go asleep, bedtime may become a battleground. However, there are techniques to improve your chances of winning. Use these ten pointers to learn how to fight the war... and win!
Tips and Tricks for Getting Kids to Sleep at Night
1. Establish a personal nighttime routine.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, school-age children require between 9 and 11 hours of sleep every night. However, sleep requirements and patterns vary greatly. Most children have patterns that don't alter much no matter what. Even if you put early risers to bed later, they will still wake up early, and night owls will not sleep until their bodies are ready. That is why parents must work with their children to establish a reasonable bedtime that allows them to get enough sleep while also allowing them to wake up on time.
2. Establish a wake-up time.
Set a wake-up time for your child depending on how much sleep they require and what time they go to bed. Experts suggest starting a wake-up ritual as early as preschool to assist parents to avoid stress later on. Also, remember to stick to the timetable. Allowing your child to sleep later on weekends is a nice gesture, but it may backfire in the long term. Those extra hours of sleep will make it difficult for their bodies to feel exhausted before going to bed. However, if you can try to make sleep and wake-up time the same for an hour or so every day, you will be making everyone's lives so much simpler.
3. Maintain a proper nighttime routine.
Infants, toddlers, and preschoolers require routines in particular. According to Woods, the remainder of the evening should involve light playtime, a bath, brushing teeth, a bedtime story, and finally bed. Aim for a routine that is both soothing and calming, creating the ideal nighttime environment. At the start of the regimen, your child's body may naturally begin to feel drowsy.
4. Turn off all screens at least 2 hours before going to bed.
Melatonin plays a vital role in the sleep-wake cycle. Most individuals are drowsy 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 synthesis of the hormone melatonin, according to a 2011 study. Watching TV, playing video games, or reading through online pages on a phone or computer before bedtime keeps your youngster up for an additional 30 to 60 minutes. Make the bedroom a screen-free zone, or at the very least, ensure that all displays are turned off before going to bed. And, while you're in your child's room, turn off your phone or don't bring it in at all. Instead of screen time, read to your child in the evening to help their brain to relax.
5. Reducing tension before going to bed.
Cortisol, commonly known as the "stress hormone," is another hormone that influences sleep. When cortisol levels are elevated, your child's body is unable to shut down and sleep. Maintain a peaceful atmosphere during pre-bedtime activities. This can assist your youngster to avoid having too much cortisol in his or her system. You must minimize tension in order to make your kid fall asleep more easily.
6. Set a sleep-inducing atmosphere.
Soft bedding, room darkening curtains, and relative silence can assist your kid in distinguishing between day and night, making it simpler for him or her to go asleep. Creating a sleep-inducing atmosphere is crucial because it reduces distractions and sets the stage for sleep. When you are calm, you are less likely to be distracted and can fall asleep more quickly and easily.
7. Keep it cool.
The sleep cycle of your child is not just dependent on light (or the lack thereof). It is also temperature sensitive. Melatonin levels aid in the regulation of the reduction in internal body temperature required for sleep. You can, however, aid in adjusting the outside temperature. Don't over-wrap your youngster or turn the heat up too much. Experts advise you to put your youngster in breathable cotton pajamas and keep the bedroom temperature between 65 and 70°F (18.3 and 21.1°C) at night.
8. Assist in calming anxieties and fears.
Ghosts and other frightening animals may not be seen at night, but instead of rejecting nighttime concerns, discuss them with your child. If simple reassurance isn't enough, consider employing a specific toy to stand watch at night or spraying the room with "monster spray" before going to bed. Experts advise arranging time during the day to address any anxieties and avoiding having these talks before night. Children are very smart and will quickly understand that if they utilize the opportunity to communicate their nighttime concerns, they may postpone bedtime.
9. Reduce the emphasis on sleep.
Children may have difficulty turning off their brains for the night. Instead of adding to your child's worry by insisting on bedtime, consider concentrating on relaxation and keeping your youngster quiet. To help your youngster relax, teach them a deep breathing technique. “Inhale for 4 seconds via your nose, hold for 5 seconds, then exhale for 6 seconds through your mouth. Younger kids might simply practice inhaling and exhaling long, deep breaths.
10. Keep an eye out for sleep problems.
Sometimes even the best-laid strategies fail to provide the desired results. Your kid may have a sleep problem if they have difficulties going asleep, have frequent nightmares, snore, or breathe through their lips.
If your little one faces any trouble falling asleep, has frequent nightmares, snores, or breathing problems, they might have a sleep disorder. Always talk to your paediatrician if you have any concerns about your child’s sleeping habits. They will always come to you with some advice or recommendations about the sleeping pattern to try on your kids so the entire family can get a good night’s sleep!