Tips on How to Make Sure Your Child Gets a Full Night’s Sleep
Sleep needs change as your child grows older, but whether you’re dealing with a 2-year-old toddler or a stubborn teenager, research shows that a consistent bedtime routine is helpful for making sure your child gets enough sleep. Whatever activities you choose, try to do the same ones every day in the same order so your child knows what to expect.
A typical bedtime routine might include:
- Turning off computers, TV screens, video games, and other bright lights
- Putting on pajamas and brushing teeth
- Reading a light book, singing a lullaby, or taking a bath
- Picking a stuffed animal or security blanket for the night for toddlers
The best time to put your child to bed is when they’re sleepy, not when they’re already asleep. This helps them learn how to fall asleep on their own. If preschool children wake up in the middle of the night, walk them back to their bed. It’s best not to let infants sleep in your bed, as co-sleeping increases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome.
Sleep Hygiene Tips for Kids
Daytime habits also affect sleep. You can promote restful slumber in your children by following basic sleep hygiene rules:
- Arranging a balanced schedule with interspersed periods of rest and play
- Keeping a regular bedtime
- Making the bedroom, and especially the mattress, a no-screen zone, even during the day
- Providing a healthy diet
- Setting the thermostat to a slightly cooler temperature
- Using dark curtains to block out light, or a nightlight if they’re scared of the dark
- Keeping the bedroom quiet, or using a white noise machine to mask outside sounds
- Avoiding caffeine, large meals, and sugary treats before bedtime, opting for a healthy bedtime snack if necessary
It’s important to give your child regular exercise, but don’t fall into the trap of exhausting your child to have them sleep better at night. More often than not, this will make them overtired and actually make it harder to fall asleep. Learn to recognize the special level of hyper that means your toddler is too tired, so you can put them to bed before things turn sour.