Many parents find themselves trying to figure out how to help their children sleep better at night. They may have tried a variety of things but end up feeling like they are running in circles. This blog post is for those looking for some helpful tips to improve the quality and duration of the child’s sleep.
Set a Fixed Bedtime Routine
Bedtime routines are one the essential thing for putting your child down for sleep. They’re also a healthy way to raise your kids. Children love routine and knowing what will happen next in their day, so set a fixed bedtime routine that you follow every night before they go to sleep. For example, include activities like bath time with some bubbles or reading a favorite story on an iPad before tucking them into bed. It will be something they know and look forward to, which makes getting ready for bed much easier.
The routine doesn’t have to be complicated but should be something relaxing and enjoyable. It will help them relax and anticipate activities because of how consistent your bedtime routines are every evening.
Let Them Relax Before Bedtime – Tell a Bedtime Story
Help your kids relax before bedtime by telling them a bedtime story. The slower and calmer the voice is, the better chance they will fall asleep easier and stay asleep longer. Start with something fun to get their minds off of stuff that stresses them out, then transitions into saying nice things about themselves, such as “you are so brave,” or “I love how hard you work.”
This should be in a whisper while stroking their faces gently until they’re almost asleep. Convincing children to get ready for sleep might take some time. They may come up with all sorts of excuses like being too busy playing outside or not feeling well enough to go inside just yet. So have patience and keep trying new ways of getting them to go to bed.
Keep Regular Sleep and Wake-Up Times
Your children will be able to fall asleep easier and sleep better at night if they stick with a regular bedtime schedule, which means going to bed and waking up at about the same time every day of the week. If your child needs an earlier or later wake-up time than usual on weekends, then don’t push it back too much during work days when they need to have enough rest for school. It’s also best not to let them go past 12 hours without sleeping to avoid difficulties falling asleep.
Keep Older Kids’ Nap Time Short and Early
One of the best ways to make a child sleep better is by limiting their nap time. Nap times should typically be 30 minutes or less for children to get enough rest. Older kids should be able to go past one hour, but not much more than that. By sleeping too long after naptime, they will have lost some of the deep REM cycles which happen at night when it’s dark. Consequently, they’ll feel tired earlier because they’re missing this vital part of their nighttime routine.
For kids in elementary school and older, nap time should be short (20-30 minutes) and early. This is because older children typically need less sleep than younger ones. A long lunch break also helps to make up for the difference lost during a shortened morning naptime.
A newborn nap schedule is different as the infant is still developing; therefore, can sleep multiple times during the day and night.
Additionally, kids who take short naps are more likely to fall asleep faster at bedtime (putting them in an optimal position for quicker sleep)
Give Them the Right Amount of Food at the Right Time
Please don’t give your kids too much food before bed, or it will have adverse effects when it comes time for your kids to go to dreamland. One popular rule is no more than three hours before bedtime after having dinner early in the evening – although many experts recommend waiting four hours between dinner and going into slumberland.
However, for toddlers, you might need to give them something before bedtime because they’re still growing and may feel hungry after a while.
There are plenty of foods you can give them to help with their sleep. Some options are peanut butter, milk, or cheese because they will provide all the nutrients they need. But if your children are older and pickier, try giving a banana, rice cakes, applesauce, or apple slices as an option for dinner before bedtime.
If your child has difficulty sleeping, then make sure to provide them with something before bedtime. For example, they can have milk and cookies to help relax their body for sleep.
Check the Noise and Light of the Child’s Bedroom
Kids are not little adults and need different things to sleep well. So it’s up to parents or caregivers to make sure the kid’s bedroom is as quiet, dark, and comfortable as possible before bedtime. Here are a few tips:
If your baby sleeps in their room, you may consider using blackout curtains for less light coming through windows during nighttime hours. In addition, keeping lights off at night will give kids an opportunity for better sleep quality.
Soft music can also help create a calm atmosphere; turn on some soothing tunes about 15 minutes before they go down, making them feel more relaxed when falling asleep. Avoid turning on any bright electronics like TVs, laptops, or tablets because the glowing screens can affect their sleep quality.
If you have other children in the house, make sure they are not too loud or making distracting sounds for your child, as this creates a more peaceful environment where kids feel safe and comfortable to go off into dreamland.
If you follow these tips, there is no doubt that your kid’s bedtime routine will become less stressful because everyone can get a good night’s sleep!
Remove the Clock From the Child’s Room
You may think it’s a good idea to keep the clock in your children’s room so they can see the remaining time before bedtime, but this makes them more aware of the remaining hours. Unfortunately, it also encourages them to stay up late.
Take away the clock from your child’s bedroom instead and introduce a sleep routine at least one hour before going to sleep.
Let them enjoy their time playing and relaxing before the lights go out, then set an alarm clock on your phone for half-hour intervals until it’s close enough to sleep time (the goal is about one hour).
That way, you’ll be able to gradually shorten the length of playtime and remind your child that there is not much more left, and they should start getting ready for bed.
You can also use this technique to help kids learn how long they have been up. So, if you put them down at seven, for example, tell them “we’re going to count five minutes now,” and let each five-minute interval lead to a different activity (five minutes of getting ready for bed, five minutes of brushing teeth).
This way, your kids will be less likely to stay up past their bedtime, and they’ll get the right amount of sleep than keeping a clock in their room.
It’s also worth mentioning that if it takes your child more than 15-30 minutes to fall asleep when you put them down in bed, then they are probably overtired and need more time to wind down before going to sleep.
Overtired children are more prone to developing bad habits such as napping during the day, which can mess with their natural circadian rhythm and make them even more tired at night. Set an earlier bedtime for your child and remove all distractions such as a clock and other electronics to avoid this scenario.
Avoid Caffeinated Drinks
Caffeine takes about six hours to wear off and can keep kids awake for much longer in the evening. This is especially true if they go from a caffeinated drink during the day into an afternoon nap or bedtime. So the first tip worth mentioning when talking about how to help your children sleep better at night is avoiding caffeine.
Caffeine will make it more difficult for kids to fall asleep later in the evening because of increased levels of arousal courtesy of caffeine’s effects on developing brains. They may also experience heightened periods of REM sleep, disrupting their sleeping cycle and causing difficulties waking up for school in the mornings.
So, instead, let them enjoy some decaf herbal tea before bedtime so they’ll fall asleep faster and sleep deeper all through the night.
These are the top eight ways to improve your child’s sleep quality and get them to bed early. This is their number one concern every day for many parents because it can affect so much else in a child’s life – from school performance to mood swings and everything in between! But, if you implement these strategies for success now – before becoming an expert on toddler-parent relationships – then you and your kid will be happier with the results.