How to Get Children to Sleep at Night
Putting a child to bed is either easy or one of the biggest challenges that you’ll face as a parent. There’s really no in-between. For most parents, the latter is the usual scenario. This is due to a lot of factors. However, the former is not impossible either. In fact, many parents have no trouble getting their child to go to sleep peacefully and without a big fuss.How, you may ask Well, read on below to learn more.
There Is No ‘Best’ Way To Get Children to Go to Sleep
First things first, there’s no way that’s the best way. All children are different. This means that what worked for one child may not work for another and vice versa.
So, if you’re worried that whatever you did or are doing for one child isn’t working for his or her sibling, that’s okay. They’re not the same. You’ll just have to figure out what works for your other child.
With that said, let’s get back to the question, how do you really get children to sleep quietly and peacefully at night?
1. Establish a Bedtime Routine
Our bodies react better to routine things. This is basically how some drivers who are on the road all of the time can seem to be on “autopilot” and safely drive for dozens of miles without really knowing what happened in between.
The same thing applies to sleep.
Establishing a structured and predictable sleep routine can help make your children sleep better and more. Not to mention, it makes them feel secure and safe.
So, as early as possible, work on establishing a bedtime routine for your child. Ideally, the routine should start 30 minutes to 1 hour before the actual routine starts. This should give them plenty of time to wind down from the day’s activities. Then, as for the routine itself, it can be anything from no electronics and TV, to playing their favorite music, or even talking softer and turning off the lights.
A routine isn’t just one big change, it’s a series of small and subtle changes that eventually, will teach your child and their body to recognize that they’re about to go to sleep.
Just remember, there’s no fixed universal routine. Children’s needs are different from each other. Also, what works for children is always changing. This means that your child’s bedtime routine could change from time to time, but even if that’s the case, do try to maintain consistency while still being flexible.
2. Create an Ideal Sleeping Environment
If you want your child to fall asleep, the room they should be in should be conducive to sleeping as well. This means keeping the room quiet, cool, and dark at all times. However, be open to leaving a little bit of light on. A lot of older children sleep better (or feel more secure) if there’s a little light inside their rooms.
If complete silence doesn’t work or if the house or neighborhood is too noisy, you can try drowning out the noise with a white noise video or a fan or even the air conditioner.
3. Minimize Meals and Beverages Before Bedtime
Sleeping with a full belly is always a bad idea. This is especially true for children, whose bodies have not fully developed yet. This is because their bodies will have to work overtime to burn through all of that food they just ate before bedtime, which can seriously mess with their sleeping habit.
In addition to avoiding large meals before bedtime, avoid caffeine and other sugary drinks as well. They’re neither healthy nor filling.
If your child wants something to eat or drink before sleeping, try a glass of diluted fresh fruit juice water and a small snack. Don’ t forget teeth brushing!
4. Let your Child Move Around During the Day
Sometimes, the reason why your child is having a hard time falling asleep at night boils down to one simple fact: they are not tired.
Physical activities are an important part of a child’s growth. They need it for their physical and mental well-being. More importantly, they also need it as an outlet for their energy so that, when the night comes, they feel tired and aren’t too stimulated to fall asleep.
Fair warning though. Playtime should be kept at least 3 hours before bedtime. Otherwise, they might be too stimulated to feel tired and fall asleep.
5. Try Not to Focus Too Much on Sleep
Whether you believe it or not, kids can develop anxiety.
Too much focus on sleeping and forcing them to fall asleep can make them feel anxious. This, in turn, can have a negative effect on how they view sleep and the quality of their sleep, among other things.
To prevent this from happening, shift the focus from the importance of sleep and try to get your child to relax and calm down at night.
Remember, sleep will come eventually if your child’s body is relaxed and calm.
As you can see, getting a child to go to sleep is not just a one-step process. It involves multiple steps. This is why it’s important to be willing to experiment. However, there are cases where, no matter what you do, your child just won’t, or rather, can’t fall asleep.
For persistent sleep issues that’s accompanied by night terrors and/or nightmares, do consider consulting a pediatrician to have your child checked for a genuine sleep disorder.
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