Play, eat and sleep — three things that your children can do like a pro. While playing and eating comes more naturally to them, getting them adequate sleep can sometimes be a problem. In fact, it’s a common and exhausting problem faced by most parents out there. After all, little things can disturb their sleep. They might get up to light, noise, fear or even some other subdued stuff.
Therefore, children should be taught that sleep is a pleasurable state to enter and a fearless state to be in. So, don’t bang your head on the wall yet, and learn some smart tactics to provide adequate sleep to your children because it’s a vital biological need for them.
Developing a Bedtime Routine
Children don’t have a fixed timetable. They might think that 3 a.m. is a good time to kick-start the day. And the worst part is, they don’t even need an alarm clock to wake up exactly at the odd hour. Sadly, this could turn into a routine epidemic, and you might think that you have run out of luck. Getting them back on track is more about effort and less about luck.
To ensure that they sleep throughout the night, you should develop a soothing and consistent bedtime routine for them. So, here’s what you can bring to the table to develop a good bedtime ritual.
A nice bath followed by a diaper change will signal the kid that it’s time to sleep. Little bit of mild body massage can also be incorporated over here. For a bit older kids, it could be brushing teeth, changing pajamas or reading story books. There’s no cap on bedtime activities.
Basically, you need to follow a fixed ritual every night to get the kids ready for sleep both mentally and physically. A series of predictable things done before bedtime can make way for a good sleep routine.
Help them Distinguish between Day and Night
As a newborn into the planet, most kids won’t know the difference between day and night. To get the idea across that daytime is not meant for sleeping, you can expose them to light and noise. It’s a nice tactic to ensure that your baby does not have too many naps during the day. Now, this doesn’t imply that daytime sleep should be a taboo in your house.
Kids sleep much longer than adults. So, they will need some extra sleeping hours during the daytime. It’s all about maintaining a balance. Make it quiet and dark during bedtime to help them sleep long at night. Slowly and surely, they will be able to catch up with the difference.
Set the Stage for Uninterrupted Sleep
There are many things that we could be doing unconsciously to disrupt our children’s sleep. Here are some common mistakes to avoid. Don’t feed your children with caffeinated stuff few hours before sleep. Make sure that they are wearing comfortable clothing, and the room temperature is not too cold or too hot.
If your child calls you at midnight, wait for some time before responding. This will remind the child that it’s the time of the hour to be asleep. Children generally don’t repeat habits that don’t work for them.
Don’t let Stress/Distractions Affect Them
Kiss goodbye to all the electronic items including electric toys, at least an hour before going to sleep. TV, laptops, and cellphones are sleep vampires. The light generated from them can lower the sleep-inducing chemicals in our body. So, keep them away from your kids during bedtime.
Just like adults, kids can get stressed as well. A good hug is an instant worry-breaker. Other than that, you can teach your kids how to transfer stress to their toys. Let them talk to their toys with full liberty and emotions. Their worries will get transferred to a lifeless toy, while your kid will be able to enjoy a good sleep in a peaceful manner.
Food Before Sleep
Food is the power source for our kids. Proper food and sleep can recharge the brain’s battery. So, don’t let your kids go to bed with a hungry stomach. Sleep matters a great deal, and depriving kids of bedtime food is a surefire way to endorse interrupted sleep during the night.
Balanced food intake before sleep will provide enough fuel for the body to enjoy prolonged sleep. Foods loaded with too much sugar should be avoided because they can leave the kid hungry again in a matter of few hours.
Ban Furry Companions
Do you let your furry companions enter your kid’s bedroom at night? Most of the four-legged pets out there like to disrupt our sleep. Having them sleep beside your kids could be a recipe for restless sleep. No matter how much you love them, keep them away during bedtime, if they are causing sleep nuisance.
What might appear normal could actually be a floating danger because cuddling the furry pets can trigger allergic reactions in some kids. As a result, kids may not be able to enjoy a good sleep. One’s best bet would be to vacuum clean the kid’s bedroom to keep the fur from floating around.
For kids, you are the role model. On your mission to enforce bedtime rules, do not lose your guard. Consistency is a must to win this battle. After all, inconsistent efforts will lead to inconsistent results. You could be back to ground zero in no time.
Remember, kids can always relearn how to sleep. However, it will require vigilant efforts on your part to get them back on track towards a healthy sleeping routine. Practice what you preach. So, it won’t be a hard sell for you. Older children might question your rules, if you end up being a routine rule breaker. Therefore, it’s important to model healthy sleeping habits.
Remember, every fruitful act is a return on investment. In a display of resilience, tag team with your partner to stay consistent throughout the course. There is strength in numbers, especially when you feel like you are on the losing end of the battle. With consistent efforts, you will start seeing encouraging changes down the road. Pretty soon, you will be able to incorporate a consistent sleep and wake-up cycle in your children’s life.