Last updated on April 3rd, 2020 at 12:32 am
How we sleep impacts our entire lives: from our physical health to our moods, it plays a vital role in the way we live our lives and the extent to which we enjoy them.
However, as we all know, getting our kids to sleep can sometimes be a challenge, but we also know that teaching them valuable sleeping habits at a young age can help them sleep better as adults. That’s why it’s important that we work on a routine from early on to help our children overcome their natural desire to stay up late.
Here are our six tips to help your kids adopt better sleeping habits:
Determine how much sleep they actually need
In order to sleep well, you need to know how much sleep your children actually need. Their sleeping requirements will change as they age, so you need to stay on top of their bedtime and wakeup times as they grow. Here are some general guidelines:
- 0-3 months: 14-17 hours
- 4-11 months: 12-15 hours
- 1-2 years: 11-14 hours
- 3-5 years: 10-13 hours
- 6-13 years: 9-11 hours
Of course, bear in mind that these are just guidelines, and that your own children’s needs may vary.
Set a bedtime
Going to bed at the same time will help your children fall asleep and wake up more easily. Of course, there will be exceptions to this rule, but as long as there is a guide, you can let them sleep in or stay up late from time to time.
Make sure you factor in how much sleep they need and the time they need to get ready in the morning. Also, make sure you understand their circadian rhythm: some kids will be better suited to going to bed later than others, and you do need to factor that in as well.
Create a routine for bedtime
We all benefit from bedtime routines, so setting one for your children can be an excellent way to help them wind down and get them ready to go to sleep.
This routine can include things like brushing their teeth, taking a bath or a shower, reading a book together, and tucking them in before finally switching the lights off. Try to execute these routine steps in the same order each night, as that is a clear signal to our brains that sleep time is approaching.
Reduce pre-bedtime stress
Kids who have been watching TV, playing loud games, or being active before they need to go to bed will have a harder time settling down and falling asleep.
Try to keep their evening activities light. Play quiet games that require no running around, don’t watch TV or look at any screens, talk calmly and soothingly, and don’t discuss important activities with them before going to bed.
Focus on their environment
Making sure that your children have a safe and comfortable environment to sleep in is also very important. Let them choose their own bedroom décor, allow them a comforting toy or blanket, and make sure the lighting is set to their liking.
If your children are afraid of the dark or think there are ghosts and ghouls hiding in the closet or under the bed, instead of telling them there is no such thing as ghosts, talk to them about their fears. Don’t hesitate to even inspect under the bed to help reassure them and keep them calm.
Focus on yourself
Don’t forget that you also need to be sleeping well, and that will certainly provide your children with a good example. If you preach one thing and do something else for yourself, they will not be as willing to go through their routine.
You can make their bedtime routine your own and brush your teeth together, then have them read or tell you a story while you’re tucking them in. Let them know you will be going to bed soon as well.
Also, make sure you sleep well and comfortably by choosing a mattress that best suits your needs, so that you can also wake up refreshed and in a good mood.
Your children will want to test their limits from time to time and put up a fight when the time comes to go to bed. Instead of arguing about it, try to remain calm and go through your routine nevertheless. When they learn that there is no wiggle room and that bedtime is bedtime, they will get used to the new routine.
Also read — 6 Tips for Setting Screen-Time Boundaries
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