It’s surprisingly difficult for your children to get a good night’s sleep. There are lots of different things that could affect their bedtime. Whether it’s a fear of the dark or too much energy in their system keeping them awake, there are a couple of things that you can try to alleviate their sleep troubles.
- Talk to your child about their bedtime fears
While it can be a little embarrassing for your child, it’s never a bad idea to speak to them about their fears and if something is bothering them at night when they go to bed. For example, maybe they’ve recently watched a rather scary scene in a show or a movie and it’s bothering them at night, or perhaps they’ve developed a fear of the dark.
By speaking to your child, you’ll have a much easier time understanding their fears so that you can help them overcome it. For instance, you might decide to leave on a night light if they have a fear of the dark, or you can help dispel their worries by letting them know that movie monsters are only fictional.
- Establish some kind of bedtime routine
Children build habits really quickly. If they’re accustomed to staying up late and using their smartphones and computers before bed, then it can hinder their quality of sleep and make it difficult for them to fall asleep.
To avoid this, it’s important to establish a bedtime routine that encourages a good sleeping pattern. Routines can depend on what you and your child prefer. For instance, some children prefer a bath then a bedtime story, while some parents prefer to start their routine two hours before bedtime by banning electronics.
- Try a weighted blanket
If your child tosses and turns at night then it can be rather difficult for them to fall asleep. Light sleepers can also be woken up by the smallest of things, so if your child turns over and slips out of their covers, then it can trigger them to wake up.
A good solution for restless children is to try weighted blankets for kids. These blankets apply a bit more pressure to your child when they go to bed, meaning they’re less likely to roll around. It also helps to alleviate stress and can give them a feeling that they’re being hugged. This can help them fall asleep much faster.
- Make sure they eat dinner well before bedtime
Feeling full before bed can make it difficult for your child to fall asleep, especially if their digestive system is hard at work. It’s important to make sure that your child eats dinner several hours before bedtime to give their body time to digest the food. They should wake up feeling hungry and ready to eat breakfast to give them enough energy for the day.
On the other hand, it’s important that your children don’t feel hungry when they go to sleep as well. Going to bed hungry is never a good idea and it can cause your child to develop midnight eating habits.
- Help your child avoid caffeine
Most parents associate caffeine with coffee which is something that children don’t drink. However, there are lots of foods that contain caffeine which your child might consume on a regular basis. For instance, soft drinks like cola and chocolate can contain caffeine. Tea can also contain caffeine, making it a poor choice for an afternoon drink.
Children tend to be a lot more sensitive to caffeine than adults, so it’s important to minimize their caffeine intake throughout the day to encourage them to sleep better at night. If your child does consume caffeine from their snacks and drinks, make sure it’s only around the afternoon and not shortly before bed.
- Discourage long naps
Napping is a great way for your child to replenish their energy throughout the day, but it’s important to limit the number and length of naps. If your child naps later in the afternoon, then they might find it difficult to fall asleep when it comes to bedtime.
Try to keep naps no longer than 30 minutes. Make sure naps take place around early afternoon at the latest and no later. If your child has trouble staying awake, then it’s worth getting them to bed earlier and ensuring they get plenty of quality sleep at night. If they’re still feeling sleepy throughout the day, then you may want to check their diet or even take them to see your physician.
CANDY TAI is a wife to David and mom of 5 with a degree in Communications. She's a native Texan (Hook 'Em Horns!) who's been making her home in the Kansas City metro area for nearly 15 years. She loves being able to shuffle her kids from their various sports activities, piano lessons, and school activities. She enjoys fashion, beauty, reality TV, and moviegoing.