Lullaby & GOODNIGHT
Your child NEEDS enough rest in order to maintain a happy, healthy lifestyle. Now, with children currently staying at home and indoors, a regulated bedtime is crucial to maintaining your child's health & sanity as a parent.
A recent British study conducted found that parents and teacher (And we teachers here can back this up!) Rated children who had inconsistent bedtimes as being more hyperactive than their better rested peers, and as having more social, emotional and conduct problems.
And yes, we know it seems strange that kids require much more sleep than adults do, yet many resist going to sleep with every fiber in their body. #wefeelyouparents.
The good news is that children's behavior noticeably improve when switching to an earlier bedtime!
So, how can you, as a parent, regulate your child's bedtime?
1. Know How Much Sleep Your Child Should Be Getting
Based on your child's age, they will require various amounts of sleep. From total hours slept everyday, to how many hours a night they sleep, to typical napping habits, understanding your child's sleeping needs will help you set limitations and bedtime rules for your kids.
2. Make bedtime a routine.
Creating a bedtime routine for children can take the stress out of bedtime for both the parents and the child. Kids crave and thrive on structure, as it gives them a sense of safety and security. Getting your child into a nightly bedtime routine helps them develop sleep associations that helps prepare them for bedtime. It's a good idea to begin the bedtime ritual with a wind down period that begins 15-30 minutes before their actual bedtime routine begins. This can include turning off the TV, playing relaxing music, dimming lights, talking softer, and even moving slower. All of these subtle changes are cues that your child will pick up as signs that bedtime is approaching. Actual bedtime routines can comprise of many relaxing and sleep promoting activities. Here is a typical bedtime routine:
A relaxing bath
Putting on pajamas
Brushing their teeth
Story time in bed
The routine itself can be altered or changed entirely depending on what you find works for your child's individual needs. It's not so much the components of the routine that are important, but the consistency that is key.
3. Create An Ideal Sleep Environment
Your child's room should help promote sleeping. It's best to keep their room dark, quiet, and cool. Some children (especially the very young) want at least a little light in their room, so a nightlight or a dim light is perfectly acceptable. If they can't sleep in silence or you want to drown out some of the noises from the rest of the house, use a noise machine or a fan to create a rhythmic, steady sound.
4. Turn OFF the electronics.
Like remove phones, tablets, computers, games, and other electronic devices from their rooms. These devices promote wakefulness through both stimulating content as well as the light emitting from them (LED) which mimics daylight and tricks the brain into thinking it needs to stay awake. Electronics should be turned off or taken away at least an hour before bedtime. Allowing TV's and computers in their rooms provides them with possible distractions that you won't be able to control once you're out of the room.
5. Make sure they're getting regular exercise.
It's important that your children get plenty of exercise during the day which will help them wind down quicker at night. However, be sure to keep their last playtime at least 3 hours before bedtime or they may still be too stimulated for sleep.
6. Avoid heavy meal and caffeine before bedtime.
Caffeine is a stimulant and is NOT recommended for children. However, if you do allow your child the occasional soft drink, make sure that they don't have any drinks containing sugar and caffeine within 3 hours of bedtime. (Sprite, Fanta, Coca Cola, Sting, etc.) Snacks are perfectly acceptable before bedtime as long as they're healthy and not very filling. If your child asks for a food or drink before bedtime give them a warm glass of milk, or a light healthy snack such as fruit or crackers.
- Your DK Team.