Sleep is one of the most important things for developing children. It is also desperately important that your child gets enough sleep whilst they are undertaking remote learning. In addition, if they are feeling anxious at all, it is essential that they have a good night’s sleep to be able to better face the next day. It is one of many aspects of parenting that has always been a particular challenge. In our modern lives and those of young children, there are so many distractions that make it harder than ever to motivate young ones for bedtime.
Thankfully, there is so much helpful advice available now that can provide useful tips and tricks to help your children get the amount of sleep they need. Here, we’ve collected some of the most effective techniques that will hopefully help your children to embrace their nighttime routine.
Understand the Importance of Sleep
While it can be easily lost on young minds, first and foremost, it’s still helpful to explain to them just how important sleep is for their health and happiness.
According to the NHS, kids around three-years old need around 12 hours of sleep every night, and may take a 45-minute nap during the day, also. As they grow, the amount of sleep they need slowly reduces. For children aged 14, around nine hours of sleep every night is recommended.
There are many reasons why children need more sleep than the average adult. The primary one is that during sleep is when the majority of children’s growth occurs. However, the right amount of sleep is also vital for a good attention span and focus during the day, whether that be at school or doing homework at weekends.
Here at our independent pre school in Devon, we educate children on the importance of sleep in an enthusiastic way to help promote good sleeping habits at home. By explaining to your little ones that sleep will help them become big and strong, they might start to view it a little differently!
Establish a Routine
The most important thing, by far, when it comes to helping children get enough sleep is creating a routine. We are all creatures of habit, children included, so building and committing to a routine is the best way to develop healthy and sustainable sleeping patterns.
Of course, establishing a routine isn’t always easy, especially when there are so many distractions for kids that are available 24/7. To get your kids involved, make sure you keep the routine engaging, thoughtful and something they can enjoy.
There are many things you can and likely will include in a nightly routine, such as brushing teeth or reading a book. However, a handy trick if your children have trouble dozing off is taking a warm bath.
It’s been shown that a warm but not hot bath before bed can help children’s bodies and minds to unwind. By including that as part of their routine every night, the effect will become stronger, and bedtime will feel much more natural to them.
Create a Sleeping Space
While a warm bath can help to relax minds, it’s not as useful if afterwards, they are heading to a room which is not also conducive to sleep. To help kids get to bed and go to sleep, their rooms need to be warm and welcoming, but also free of as many distractions as possible.
Ensure that their bed is cosy and their room is dark and at a comfortable temperature. Sometimes, bedrooms can get stuffy during the night, so it helps to keep the space ventilated as much as possible. While you may not see it at first, how tidy a room is can also subconsciously impact stress levels and sleep quality, so making sure it is organised before bed can also help.
For particularly young children, creating a warm and cosy space can be a bit more straightforward. However, as they get older and electronics become more a part of daily life, it can be challenging to keep them out of the bedroom. Research shows that looking at screens before bed makes a significant impact on sleep quality, and the temptation can be too much to resist for some.
You must keep screens out of children’s bedrooms as much as possible. However, for many modern families, this isn’t possible. Therefore, aim to stop the use of screens an hour before bedtime. You can achieve this as part of the nightly routine, perhaps by swapping the TV for a book or videogames for drawing.
If children have mobile phones and social media, or interactive entertainment such as videogames or YouTube, they can be tempted to use these during the night if they’re struggling to sleep. Therefore, you should remove these from the room as much as possible. Ask that mobile phones be charged somewhere else, or unplug TVs if you sense it becoming an issue.
Talk Through Problems
Ultimately, many factors can positively or negatively impact the quality of a child’s sleep. Sometimes, the reason they are struggling for motivation to go to bed or sleep can be due to stress.
If going to bed, despite a routine, is becoming a frequent issue, something may have happened that is leaving them uncomfortable. Give you and your child the time and space to talk through their day and any problems they might be having.
Even if there is no apparent issue, discussing what was fun or not fun about the day as part of your routine can further help your child to de-stress, which ultimately will aid their sleeping patterns.
For more advice, discover our recent blog on ways of calming and comforting children.
We hope that these tips can help your child get the sleep they need to be at their best and brightest every day! Do you know of any handy tricks to help your young ones enjoy bedtime? Share your advice with other parents in our community through our social media channels!