If you’re like most parents, you probably struggle with getting your kids to go to bed on time. There are many reasons why growing kids need adequate sleep. Not getting enough sleep can affect their ability to concentrate in school, participate in sports, and maintain good grades. At least one study has found that kids who lose just one hour of sleep have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Establishing a good bedtime routine with some healthy habits is one of the best ways to help your little one get to sleep fast. Here are five tips to help your child sleep better.
- Keep Their Room at the Right Temperature
A room that is too hot or too cold can prevent kids from falling asleep or cause them to wake up in the middle of the night. Experts advise keeping a room’s temperature between 65 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit, but your child’s personal preference may vary by a few degrees. Try adjusting the thermostat until your child is able to sleep through the night.
- Give Them a Snack
Very young children need up to 12 hours of sleep per night and that can be a long time to go without eating. Your child may wake up early as a result because they need nourishment. Giving them a healthy snack about an hour before bedtime can help satisfy their appetite into the night and even help make them drowsy.
Foods such as almonds (for those not allergic to nuts) and pumpkin seeds help muscles relax, while turkey and milk contain tryptophan, which the body converts into melatonin to encourage sleep. Other good choices include cherries, bananas, and high carbohydrate foods including popcorn and crackers (always seek professional nutritional advice before changing any dietary routines of your child). Whatever you provide for a snack, just be sure your child brushes their teeth before hopping into bed.
- Withhold Caffeinated Beverages
Even if your child sips a coke or another caffeinated beverage hours before bedtime, it can keep them awake. Although caffeine’s effects tend to peak in the body about an hour after consumption, it can continue to stimulate the nervous system five to six hours later. Save caffeinated sodas for a vacation break or to enjoy with lunch on the weekends.
- Shut Off Mobile Devices
Try to keep mobile devices away from your child at least an hour before bedtime, preferably two. The blue light that laptop and smartphone screens give off tricks your child’s body into thinking it’s daylight by disrupting their melatonin production. Instead, read a physical book to your child—a bedtime story with a positive ending helps them relax so they can sleep.
- Make Gratitude a Nightly Practice
To help send your child to bed with positive thoughts, ask them to list three good things that happened to them today or that they’re grateful for. This helps take their mind off worrying thoughts so they can ease into sleep. If your child is old enough to write, you may want to get them a journal that they can use to list what they’re thankful for.
For more tips on keeping your child well rested, happy, and healthy, check out our newest posts on the Chapter1 Daycare blog.
Article Courtesy of Krista Harper. All comments are writer’s own. Readers should always obtain professional medical advice for certainty.