As parents, we all want our children to sleep through the night, but sometimes kids have difficulty sleeping. There are many things that we, as parents, can do to help our children get a good night’s sleep, such as establishing bedtime routines and making sure the child has the best of the best when it comes to mattresses. We will discuss ten tips on how to help kids sleep through the night. Hopefully, by the end, you’ll have some solid ideas that will help your little one catch some zzz’s so you can too.
1. Set a Bedtime Routine and Stick to It
A bedtime routine is essential for getting your child to sleep through the night. By sticking to a set pattern, you can help your child wind down and prepare for bed. Additionally, a bedtime routine can help to prevent bedtime problems from arising in the first place. According to research published in the Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, regularity in routines is key because it helps children know what to expect each day.
There are a few key things to keep in mind when setting up a bedtime routine. To begin, try to keep the routine consistent from night to night. This will help your child know what to expect and make it easier for them to fall asleep. Next, make sure that the activities in the routine are calming and relaxing. Avoid anything that may be stimulating or exciting, as this will only make it harder for your child to fall asleep. Finally, keep the routine short and sweet. A lengthy bedtime routine can be overwhelming for both you and your child.
2. Establish a Regular Sleep Schedule
Establishing a regular sleep schedule is one of the best things you can do for your child’s health and well-being. But what is a sleep schedule, and how do you make one that works for you and your child? A sleep schedule is simply a plan for when you will go to bed and when you will wake up. It helps to standardize the body’s natural sleep cycle, making it easier for your child to fall asleep and stay asleep.
When creating a sleep schedule for your child, it’s important to be consistent with bedtime and wake-up time. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, children between the ages of six and twelve need from nine to twelve hours of sleep per night, so be sure you set times that accommodate this.
Also, it is helpful to create a wind-down routine (see above) that signals to the body it is time to start preparing for sleep. Last, it is important to stick to the schedule even on weekends and holidays. If there are too many exceptions, it’s no longer a schedule and none of the benefits will be reaped.
3. Keep a Cool, Calm Sleep Environment
Your child’s bedroom, and their sleep environment, can have a big impact on their ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. Ensure their bedroom is cool, dark, and quiet. This is ideal for promoting restful sleep.
To keep the room cool, set the thermostat to a comfortable temperature (between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit is often best) and use breathable bedding such as cotton sheets. To make the room dark, use blackout shades or an eye mask. And, to keep the room quiet, consider using a white noise machine or earplugs.
4. Make Your Child’s Bed as Comfortable as Possible
In addition to ensuring their room is a place of calm before bed, you want to do as much as you can to make their bed a place of comfort. This means investing in a good mattress, sheets, and appropriate bedding pillows that will support your child’s developing body.
An easy way to upgrade the comfort level of a mattress that might be worn out, or simply protect a new one, is to invest in mattress pads or toppers. These provide an additional layer of cushioning that sits on top of the mattress and provides extra support and comfort. They have the added bonus of being easily removed and washed, which helps to keep them clean and fresh.
5. Limit Screen Time Before Bed
We all know that too much screen time can have negative effects on our health, but did you know it can also impact your child’s sleep? It’s important to limit your child’s exposure to screens (television, phones, tablets, etc.) in the hours leading up to bedtime. The bright blue light from screens can stimulate the brain and make it harder for your child to fall asleep. Additionally, the content on these screens (violent games, exciting shows) can be disruptive and cause nightmares. Instead of screens, try to encourage your child to read or do another quiet activity before bed. This will help them to wind down and prepare for sleep.
6. Avoid Letting Your Child Nap Too Late in the Day
Napping can be a great way for your child to catch up on sleep, but if the nap is too late in the day, it can have the opposite effect. When a child naps too close to bedtime, it can make it harder for them to fall asleep at night. This is because their body isn’t tired enough, and they don’t need to sleep as much.
Ideally, you want your child to take a nap no later than 3:00 p.m. This will give them time to wake up and be productive for the rest of the afternoon while still being tired enough to sleep soundly through the night.
7. Encourage Your Child to Be Active, Exercise and Play
It’s important for children to expend their energy during the day so that they are tired come bedtime. A tired child is a sleepy child, and a sleepy child is more likely to fall asleep quickly and stay asleep throughout the night.
There are many ways to encourage your child to be active. If the weather is nice, go for a walk or bike ride together. If you have access to a playground, let them run around and play for a while. And if it’s raining or cold outside, there are still indoor options like playing tag, dancing, or doing some simple exercises like jumping jacks. Make it a group or family activity and have fun with it.
8. Beware of Food with Hidden Sugar or Caffeine
Nothing will wind your child up more than a snack packed with sugar or, worse, caffeine. While it might be tempting to give them a little something to eat before bed, it’s important to be aware of the types of foods you’re feeding them.
Foods with hidden sugar include things like fruit juices, flavored yogurts, and granola bars. And caffeine can be found in sodas, some types of tea, and chocolate. All of these will make it harder for your child to fall asleep and stay asleep. So, instead, opt for a small snack that is high in protein such as cheese or natural peanut butter.
9. Talk to Your Pediatrician or Sleep Specialist
If you’re concerned about your child’s sleep habits, a pediatrician or child sleep specialist may be able to offer advice and assistance. They can help to rule out any underlying medical conditions that might be causing sleep problems and provide guidance on how to create better sleep habits.
10. Be Patient – Every Child Is Different
Every child is different and will develop at their own pace. So, don’t be discouraged if your child isn’t sleeping through the night after implementing these tips. Just keep working at it and, eventually, they will get there. In the meantime, enjoy those middle-of-the-night snuggles. They won’t last forever