Bedtime for kids can become quite a struggle for some parents. Every night could turn into a bedtime battle. Setting up a healthy bedtime routine not only ensures that your child gets up refreshed and energised but also contributes to their overall development. Even at sleep, the brain is at work, processing information’s, learning and unlearning experiences and consolidating the memory. Sleeping well is very crucial for anyone, let alone a child.
A sleep-deprived child can be a perfect example of crankiness, behavioural issues, problems with learning and attention. Poor sleep may lead to several health-related problems amongst which obesity is widespread.
Here are top tips that will help you set up a healthy bedtime routine:
- Limit the daytime nap: Most of the kids after five years of age need not necessarily nap during the day. Cutting down the daytime nap will improve the sleep-wake cycle in kids. Make them go early to bed. A 9-11 hours sleep is ideal for a child.
- Physical activities: Ample playtime that includes physical activity also induces sound sleep. Let your child play after school hours. Merely being in the front of the television or tablets do not count into playtime.
- Set a pattern: Follow a routine every day when it comes to bedtime. A healthy early dinner, followed by brushing and washing for bed, using the bathroom is an excellent way to indicate that the day is over. Remember, consistency is a key here.
- Eat right before bedtime: Let your child eat a well-balanced but light dinner. A heavy meal may cause disruptions in the sleep.
- Allow the daylight in your house: Teach your child to understand the circadian rhythm. You can show examples of birds and other animals that sleep when the sun goes down and rise at dawn. Allow plenty of natural light in your house. Keep your place well ventilated. Try and keep the lights dim towards the evening. It will help balance the melatonin production, that plays a role in regulating sleep.
- Cuddle up with your child: Reading a story to your child, just cuddling up with them or co-sleeping helps a lot. This quality time relaxes your child. Make it a part of your bedtime ritual.
- Shoo away the fears: There is a good possibility of your child being afraid of darkness. Monsters and aliens are very much part of their lives. Comfort your child and shoo away any fears that he or she might be facing. Give them their favourite toy to cuddle. Let them know that you are nearby to them. Switch on a night lamp or say aloud a magic charm to ward off evils.
- Cut out the gadgets: Tablets, phones, laptops, games and television should be off limit before bedtime. Try to keep the bedroom free of electronic devices. Switch off the Wi-Fi. Restrict its usage time.
- A comfortable space: Let your child sleep in a comfortable nightdress in a well-ventilated area. The temperature should be just perfect as per the weather condition of your place. A clean bed and a neat room would be conducive. The night-light should not be too bright to hamper the sleep.
- Practice what you preach: Most of all, you are role model for your child. Always practice what you preach. Anything and everything that you wish your child to follow should be displayed with live examples. Try and be that example to help your child emulate.
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- Tips for better rest—Standford children—accessed on 25 February 2018– http://www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/service/sleep-disorders/good-night-sleep
- How to sleep better: nine tips for children—Raising Children—accessed on 25 February 2018– http://raisingchildren.net.au/articles/good_sleep_habits_tips.html