05 Apr 10 Tips To Ensure Your Kids Get A Peaceful Night’s Sleep
Estimated reading time 9 mins
Not to show off here but Ariel has always slept through the night from the day she was born. I know right. I am extremely lucky. Sleep deprivation is probably the number one concern parents have during those early years. Today I have a guest blogger Monisha from My Deal to offer her tips for children and getting a good night sleep.
10 Tips To Ensure Your Kids Get A Peaceful Night’s Sleep
By Monisha Iswaran
Many little ones go through a phase of having difficulty settling down for the night. Getting a good night’s sleep is imperative to doing well in school, staying healthy and just generally feeling alert and happy throughout the day. Not to mention, when the little ones are having a peaceful night tucked in bed, their parents are able to sleep soundly without fear of being interrupted! It’s a win-win situation, so here are 10 tips to help your family get the sleep you deserve:
1) Limit Technology Time
Even though the hours before bed tend to be the time that homework is done, and your kids have time to chill out and relax, try to find ways of doing that which don’t televisions, ipads or video games. Studies have shown a strong correlation between use of technological devices in the hours before bed and having a disturbed sleep. Instead, try different activities such as reading a story as a family, playing a board game or simply encouraging your kids to chat about their day with you.
2) Plenty of Physical Activity
Getting your kids to sleep is far easier when they’ve been thoroughly tired out during the day. This doesn’t just mean going to school and being mentally tired out – it means ensuring they get to run around outdoors and use up all that pent up energy. So make sure your little ones are getting their heart rates up in the afternoon when they get home from school. You could take them to the park, or you could even choose to have items such as climbing frames and outdoor playsets in your backyard so your kids can have playtime while you make dinner!
3) Pick The Right Foods For Dinner
Certain foods combined together react to produce chemicals that make us sleepy, while others are more likely to make us feel alert for hours after. Rather than trying to include servings of fruit, try to make meals that combine protein and carbs. If you feel that your little one is not getting enough fruit during the day, let them have a serving of cherries or berries at their pre-bed snack rather than incorporate fruit into dinner. A glass of milk is also a good drink to choose to settle your little one down. Generally, try to avoid foods that are high in fat, such as cheeseburgers, as the resulting acids produced in the body can make your child uncomfortable as they try to sleep.
4) Time Your Meals Properly
It is not only important what your child eats before bed, but at what time they consume their meal. It is good to try not to have dinner too close to your kid’s bedtime. If their intended bed-time is 9.00 pm, consider having dinner around 7.00 pm so that they have a 2 hour block to digest before they get into bed. This is because going to sleep directly after eating can cause digestive problems as they will be lying horizontal as the body attempts to breakdown the food. You also don’t want to send your little ones to bed too hungry, so perhaps have a small healthy snack prepared just in case.
5) Have A Well Set-Up Bedroom
Having a bedroom where they feel safe, comfortable and cosy is imperative to your children being able to fall asleep soundly. Perhaps, if they are old enough, ask for their input when you are adding decorations to their room. Make sure you have a comfortable mattress, pillows and doona, and try to purchase items made of low-allergen materials to reduce the risk of your little one having unpleasant reactions, particularly if they have sensitive skin or sinuses. A comfortable room leads to a far better night’s rest!
6) Create A Nighttime Routine
Familiarity and habit can definitely help when it comes to settling down for bed. Try to avoid rushing, mayhem and stressing your little ones out right before its time for lights out. Attempt to create a routine whereby they get their homework done earlier in the day, such that the hours before bed are reserved for winding down and doing relaxing activities. If you have late afternoons and evenings well-planned out, you can avoid stress and your children will be soothed and ready for sleep.
7) Stick To A Specific Bedtime
This relates to the previous point, but in particular refers to the time you turn the lights out for bed. Try to keep this time the same every night with minimal variations. Understandably, your child’s bedtime might change slightly depending on whether it is a weekday or weekend, if they have a lot of homework to complete, if there is a family get-together or a myriad of other factors. However try to keep the time as regular as possible, and if possible not shift it by more than an hour unless absolutely necessary.
8) Say Goodbye To Nightlights
Even though many children enjoy having a nightlight in their room, this is not the way to ensure they get the best possible quality of sleep. Research has shown that as close to complete darkness as possible is the best way to get a peaceful and restful night’s shut-eye. Try to avoid getting your child into the habit of using nightlights, or at least make their routine such that the nightlight is on while you tuck them in and have a night-time chat, and then turn it off as soon as it is time for sleep.
9) Comfort Objects
Many children enjoy having a soft toy, teddy bear or doll to take to bed with them and snuggle up to for comfort. This can be good for maintaining regularity in the bedroom, as if your child goes to bed with the same stuffed toy every night, it will become ingrained in their mind that when they get tucked into bed with that particular toy it is time to start nodding off to sleep. The brain works with patterns, and forming the pattern of doing this same particular act every night can certainly ease the process of going to bed.
10) Make Bedtime A Positive Experience
Finally, perhaps the most important tip of all! Make going to bed a fun time of day so that your little ones look forward to it rather than try to avoid it. Try to stay away from reprimanding or angry tones of voice before bed, and try to instead have a relaxing chat or story time as you tuck them in. That way your little ones will look forward to the one-on-one attention they get from you right before its time to sleep, and you can look forward to having some relaxing time to yourself with the knowledge your children are nodding off to a peaceful night’s sleep.