Right from the time a child is born, it is very crucial to moms that the child gets enough sleep. This is because they understand that sleep is vital to the health of their child.
Every time kids sleep, their bodies renew their cells and their minds are replenished. In the course of these, energy is restored and tissues are rebuilt. In fact, you can link cranky and unhealthy children to poor sleeping habits. Poor sleep in kids also end up in long-term impacts on the health such as an increased risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, decreased immune function, obesity, depression, etc. Learning and behavioral problems can also be kick-started in many of these children (who get poor sleep) with symptoms building up leaving an impact for life. All these facts show how important it is for every child to have a perfect night’s sleep every single night.
Children generally need to sleep even better than adults as they need it for their growth and development, which is relatively rapid. However, for a start, many parents don’t even know how many hours of sleep are necessary for each child. For newborns, 11-19 hours of sleep is required. Infants ranging from 10-18 months and preschoolers require 8-14 hours of sleep. Children of school age need 7-12 hours of sleep.
However, the quality of their sleep is not only dependent on the number of hours. The sleep must also be uninterrupted and be in line with the child’s natural biological rhythms.
To say they had a healthy sleep, all factors must align with the goal of having a perfect night’s sleep.
Since it’s a priority of every parent (especially moms) is to see their kids have a perfect night’s sleep, here are the top 5 tips to help in preparing your child for a perfect night’s sleep:
- ·Prepare them by using a routine
While raising children, you can’t take out the importance of routines as they make the duty of raising them easier. They make it easy to get them through school days and even holidays, as they become aware of the next thing to do overtime. If they know the next thing to do, then that’s one less stress for you as a parent. Maintaining a particular sleeping routine for your preschoolers, toddlers and even infants make them accustomed to that pattern of doing things and consequently, their body’s mechanisms will get its natural rhythm to settle into a regular sleep-wake cycle.
Notice what works best for your child and your entire family. This could be based on the time you have dinner as well as other family traditions you may be keeping. If you want their sleep time to be consistent, it is important that you factor all these things in. This way, your child will know when it is time to sleep and it will soon become a time they anticipate. The routine could start with turning off the TV, letting them have a warm bath, reading them a bedtime story and then, it could end with singing them to sleep.
- Abide with their sleep schedule
Abiding by the regular sleep schedule you have prepared for your kids will help in making them wake-up and realize they had a great night. It must not be above or below the time you have allotted for them in times past and they have gotten accustomed to. This way, their internal body clock will be used to that particular time. Even on weekends and vacations, keep up with this timing. This way, your kids will not wake up grumpy (from not getting enough sleep) or sluggish (from sleeping too much). Consistency is very crucial here.
- Work on their bedroom
It is great to sleep for the appropriate number of hours, but if the proper support needed for adequate sleep is not in place, you would be putting the health of your child at risk. Ensure you invest in a comfortable mattress as well as comfortable pillows, as bad ones could come cheaper, but they will harm your child overtime. Their mattress may simply need repairs, and this is why you need to check your child’s mattress often. A common problem with air mattresses (for instance) is a leak. An air leak will make an air mattress unsupportive, and may leave you wondering how to find a leak in an air mattress.
While working on their bedroom, don’t forget the importance of sheets that make your kids comfortable to sleep well. Cotton bedspreads and pillow cases generally feel great on the skin of children. This is because the material can take in moisture despite being soft. In the cold weather, cotton sheets would keep your child warm.
Make the temperature of your child while sleeping a top priority when choosing sheets and any other bed accessory. The temperature of 18-22 degrees is safe for babies and children, so keep the room at that temperature. Also check to see if there are things in or around their bedroom that may cause noises and disturb their sleep.
- Work on the lights
Your child can easily settle into and sleep in a room with cool lights. A dimly lit and quiet room naturally puts kids (in even adults) in the mood for sleep. Blue lights and white lights help to put one in the mood for action and reactions, hence aren’t suited for sleep. Total darkness aids sleep best, but if you want a light source even at bedtime for your child’s room, you can open the window blinds or use night lights. As for night lights, orange or red would work best
- Ensure your kids eat at the right time and in appropriate amounts
This tip doesn’t have to do with only dinner. As a parent, you need to give healthy foods to your kids in the right amounts and of course, at the right times. Taking a cue from babies, when they are well-fed during the day, they sleep very peacefully at night. This doesn’t change for older children or even adults. The only difference is that older kids and adults won’t cry at night like babies. Pay special attention to evening meals and make sure evening meals are taken at appropriate times. For instance, if your child would sleep by 9p.m, dinner could be for 7p.m. This gives room for digestion and at the same time, your child would not be too full or too hungry at bedtime; making it easy for the child to go to bed. If the digestive system of a child is not in order, then sleeping can become a hard task.
Do not also forget the importance of breakfast as in helps the body to get started in preparation for another cycle that ends with the child falling asleep. Breakfast must also be served at a good time; if possible, great discrepancies in time should be avoided, so the child’s body is used to a system that makes it easy for them to fall asleep later at night. While you feed your child properly, also remember to ensure they are physically active.
The preparation involved to ensure your child has a perfect night’s sleep is not one that can be worked on in only a few hours. You have to work on whatever might affect your child’s sleep such as the state of their room or the need to make any changes in their schedule before night fall. Also, as you establish their bedtime traditions over time, with each night, it gets easier and the dream of having a perfect night’s sleep becomes more achievable for every single night.