If you are a parent, you know all too well the challenges that come when you are trying to get your children to bed at night. Even if you somehow manage to get them to bed on time and without a huge fuss, keeping them in bed often poses another challenge.
Still, getting your children to bed on time and sleeping through the night is very important for optimal health.
When children don’t get enough sleep, they have a difficult time controlling their emotions. Most parents know this to be all too true. Tired children can get hyper or irritable, which is no fun for parents, or anybody within earshot of a tired child.
Children who don’t sleep well for several nights in a row can become sleep deprived, which could lead to behavioral problems, having trouble paying attention and becoming overweight. It is important that you do what you can to ensure your children are getting the sleep they need.
River Valley Pediatrics in New Braunfels offers tips that will help you get your child in bed and asleep for the night.
Work as a Team
It is important that you discuss sleep strategies with your spouse so you can work together to solve the problem. If you and your spouse are not on the same page, you can’t expect your strategies to work.
Make Sleep a Family Priority
Once you set go-to-bed times for all family members, you need to follow them all week long, even on weekends. You can’t expect your children to follow strict bedtimes unless the rest of the family does the same.
Keep It Cool
Your children are sensitive to temperature when they sleep, so it helps if you keep them cool. Don’t bundle your children up too much when you get them ready for bed and don’t crank the heat too high. A room that is a little cooler is better as it promotes deep sleep.
Turn Screens Off
Research has shown time and again that light from the television, phone or computer monitor can interfere with the production of melatonin, which is critical for your sleep-wake cycles. When melatonin levels are at their highest, children get sleepy and ready for bed.
A half hour of screen time is enough to disrupt melatonin levels, so turn off the television and shut down computers and smartphones two hours before bed.
Follow a Routine
One of the first things you will want to do is set up a routine for everybody to follow. Kids love routines, they thrive on it and they work. Studies show that a consistent nighttime routine improves sleep habits in children with mild to moderate sleep issues.
Your nighttime routine can begin with bathroom duties, including teeth brushing and face washing. The routine can continue in the bedroom with a bedtime story, which is bound to make any kid sleepy.
There is no single routine that is right for all families, you will have to experiment until you discover what works best for your family.
Many children need more than three meals a day to keep them fueled. A small snack prior to bedtime can help them stay fueled through the night. Just make sure you are offering healthy snacks and nothing with sugar.
Set a Wake-Up Time
Allowing your children to sleep in on weekends and holidays is generous and kind, but it can set your child up for a sleepless night. Those extra hours of sleep will affect your children and make it harder for them to feel tired at bedtime.
Keep the Evenings Mellow
Cortisol is another hormone that plays a role in sleep. When cortisol levels are high, your children will have a difficult time falling asleep at night. To avoid this, you need to keep activities before bedtime calm and the environment quiet.
Treat Sleep Like a Gift
Many parents tend to fall into the trap of using sleep as a punishment. If the child is refusing to eat their vegetables at dinner, a common punishment is bedtime with no dessert. You should be looking for ways to make bedtime a gift as opposed to a punishment.
Looking for a pediatric clinic that offers great care? Give River Valley Pediatrics a call today.