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As children grow up, all parents know that putting them to sleep is a difficult task. As bedtime approaches, their level of activity increases. This is the time when all parents should be strict because we all know by experience that if kids stay up till late, it means waking them up for school day the next day is practically impossible. So, to end your misery, we have some useful tips that will help you put your kids to sleep easily.
How to Get Your Child to Sleep at Night. 10 Useful Tips for Parents
Putting your kids to bed at night can be a pain for some parents. So, listed below are some tips to help you out.
1. Set a Routine
Would it be far-fetched to think that you can train your child’s body to start feeling sleepy? Get him used to a routine where he can feel sleepy and not put up any resistance. For example…dinner, then homework, followed by a glass of milk, and finally going to bed.
2. Create a Good Sleep Environment
Studies have shown that the surroundings of a child play a big role in determining sleep. Some include reduced noise levels, minimal lighting, and optimum temperature. This means that if you live in a noisy neighbourhood, make sure you close the windows and shut the doors. Unless your child is scared of the dark, there is no harm in turning off the lights, as it can affect his ability to sleep quickly. Finally, during the summer months, make sure that you have a functional air conditioner or cooler in your child’s room.
3. Bed Time Stories
For pre-schoolers, this is a great way to get them to look forward to bedtime. Reading bedtime stories isn’t just about being a doting parent as it may seem. Studies have shown that reading bedtime stories and incorporation of the same as a routine has improved sleep for children below six years. For those who are working, you can make a voice recording to narrate the story. You can also embed instructions into the narrative by saying things like, “now turn the page to see what happens next!”.
4. No Electronic Gadgets Before Bedtime
Your kids will be stubborn but you will have to be a little strict if you want them to have sound sleep. Studies show that the light emitted from computer screens, mobiles, and televisions inhibits the production of melatonin, which is a hormone produced by the pineal gland and helps induce sleep.
5. Proper Diet
Believe it or not, your child’s eating habits can affect his ability to get good sleep. Avoid letting him indulge in sugary treats and desserts during dinner as it can affect sleep. A study by Columbia University showed that eating fatty foods and sugary treats have been known to disturb sleep. Instead, bananas can be eaten as they contain tryptophan, which is known to have a positive effect on insomnia. Giving your kids fibre-rich meals also helps in making them sleep.
6. Make Bed Time Fun
To get your kids to sleep, you may make it mandatory for your kids to sleep at a particular time. While this may work sometimes, this can be counter-productive in the long run as you have no idea if they are lost in thought under their sheets. Instead, what can be done, particularly for preschoolers, is that they can have a favourite toy that they can hug only during sleep time. This will be a motivating factor to go to bed early.
For kids who are a little older (5-8 years), talking to them before they sleep is essential as the school can be tough and they may be facing anxiety issues. Anxiety has been known to cause sleep deprivation, and if your child is having difficulty sleeping, this could be it. Talk to them about school or anything else that you suspect may be affecting them. Talking in itself is helpful and may lead to better sleep even if a solution is not available.
8. Waking Schedule
Just like you set a sleeping schedule there should be a waking schedule too. If you allow them to get up late, in the morning, they will be in a rush to reach to school in the morning. Therefore, try waking them earlier during the day, and you’ll see them sleep much earlier than usual.
A study conducted by Monash University in Australia showed that exercise is not limited to staying fit, it is even for getting good sleep. Make sure your kids get enough playtime in the evening. Playing outdoors is a great form of exercise but your kids won’t consider it as an exercise. This is one tip that can be implemented by you even without reminders!
10. Encourage Self Soothing
For older kids, anxiety can be part and parcel of their life. While you may have talked to them about any issues they might face, they may get up in the middle of the night. Encourage them to calm themselves down and come to you only as a last resort.
Sleep is something that is vital for brain development and if your kids sleep on time and have a sound sleep, their brain stays active throughout the day. As they need 10 to 13 hours of sleep every day, the above-mentioned tips should help in getting the desired effect.
Also Read: How Much Sleep Do Children Need