In today’s world of artificial light, screens and – sometimes – a bit too much sugar; many parents will agree that getting your child to bed at a reasonable time can be a big challenge. No one’s perfect, and no one has all the answers, but these handy tips will help you get your child off to bed.
Start a routine:
A regular bedtime routine can work wonders in getting your child off to sleep without a fuss. For example, a routine you can try includes making your child a good, hearty meal fairly early in the evening (around 6); followed by a relaxing bath or shower; comfortable PJs and teeth brushing; and finally, get them tucked into bed and reading a story. A routine like this gives your child a sense of predictability and comfort, which they get grow to associate with going to sleep.
Limit screen time:
To tie in with a good bedtime routine, screens (phones, iPads, TVs) should be ideally turned off at a certain time in the night. Blue light – from a phone, for example – promotes alertness in your child and suppresses their melatonin production (a hormone that makes you sleepy), so they are less tired at night when they naturally should be. Once the screen is off, it takes a little while for melatonin levels to build up again, so setting a time limit is key here. If your child doesn’t put down the screen easily, start with a cut off time of around 7pm – this will allow them time to get tired and settle of to sleep earlier.
Get them up early:
It sounds simple, and that’s because it is. When we wake up early in the morning, we go to bed early at night. For children, the school week is naturally the best time for this, but holidays and weekends can throw their sleep schedule off slightly, and it can take a while to get it back on track. Encourage getting up early, having a good breakfast, and getting out and about first thing for optimal sleep and an easier bedtime!
Get them out and about:
Exercise has been proven, time and time again, to be beneficial in many ways and improve almost every aspect of our lives. It’s no surprise that your child’s quality of sleep is also significantly affected by exercise. Having some fun and simple outdoor activities or sports for your child to engage in throughout the day will wear them out and ensure a good night’s sleep.
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