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It is hard enough getting your own quality sleep, but when your kids aren’t sleeping, neither are you in most cases. Here are some easy tips for helping your kids get the best sleep possible.
Set Your Child’s Bedtime
The very first thing you should do if your children are struggling with sleep is to choose a bedtime. There might be some nights where they don’t quite get to be don time, but the more consistent you are with when they need to be in bed, the better off everyone will be.
Choosing a bedtime isn’t just good for ensuring they get enough sleep before having to wake up the next morning, but for the purpose of good sleep habits. By knowing their bedtime, they also understand when it is time to start their nightly routine of getting ready for bed. It is really important for your children’s development.
Be Consistent with Bedtime Routines
Once you have chosen their bedtime, you can start working on their bedtime routine. This is a routine that should be done every night, which helps get them ready for bed. It might include taking a bath or shower and brushing their teeth, reading a book in bed, drinking a glass of milk to get them sleepy, and maybe taking medications if they have anything they need to take in the evening.
It is also when your kids usually stop watching TV or playing games, and do more relaxing activities. Maybe you start the routine an hour before their bedtime, so they can change into their pajamas and sit on the bed to relax and talk a bit before bed, or you read them a story. These activities get both their brain and body used to the idea of bedtime coming soon.
These sleep habits are a lot more important that you might think, and it is equally important that the routines are consistent.
Create a Relaxing Sleep Environment
Make sure your kids have a bedroom that is calm and soothing. You want them to have a relaxing sleep environment, even beginning with the color scheme of their room. It should have calming and soothing colors, usually on the lighter side, like light blue, green, yellow, purple, and pink. It is okay to have a good amount of color if that’s what they want, but try to avoid anything too bright, as it will make it hard for them to adjust to being relaxed at night.
They should have quality mattresses and bedding, along with proper temperature control. It is difficult to get good sleep in a room that is too hot or too cold, or if it gets bright. A pair of blackout curtains is great to have in their room.
Keep Their Stress Levels Low
If there is an evening when your child is a little stressed, such as a big school project coming up or they had issues with a kid at school, try to relieve their stress before sending them to bed. It is just as hard for a kid with stress to get good sleep as it is an adult. They need to be fully relaxed and eased of any stress or tension before getting good quality sleep, so this might mean talking to them or getting their mind off what they are worried about with a book or cartoon before bed.
Don’t Push Pressure on Sleep
While you want your children to get good sleep, don’t put too much pressure on them. This can actually create more stress and make it even harder for them to sleep. Don’t tell them they NEED to be asleep in a matter of minutes or how early they have to wake up. Just continue their nightly routine and be consistent with their bedtime.
How much sleep do your kids need? This will depend on the child and their age, but most children need about 9-10 hours of sleep on average. As they get older, this will decrease, but it is a good place to start.