10 Practical Tips to Get Your Kids to Sleep
Problem getting sleep is a challenge associated with adults, but kids often experience the same as well. It becomes quite tricky when it’s past bedtime, and seemingly, kids have only become too active. It is never easy, given, as a parent or guardian, you work on a schedule, and you have to wake up early the following day for work. As much as you’d love to, you cannot sleep before your kids have slept, unless you’re prepared to handle the noise and the mess you wake up to. To help you pull through this predicament, here are ten practical tips that will get your kids to sleep.
1. Make a workable sleeping routine
Getting a kid to sleep when they are not sleepy can be quite a task, but with time, it is practically possible. When you notice that your kids are always active at the time when they are supposed to be asleep, introduce a routine. Train them to follow a specific schedule, for instance, doing something they enjoy after dinner, and getting them to bed at a particular time. It gets them accustomed to your routine, and you’ll no longer be faced by the same challenge again.
2. Give a proper diet
According to studies, particular foods given to kids during dinner could derail their sleeping patterns. For instance, fatty and sugary foods contain elements responsible for insomnia, and they should be avoided at all costs. If they must be served, let them eat long before bedtime as some of these substances are essential for kids’ health. Nutritionists suggest giving kids foods rich in fiber as they entice them to sleep. Also, consider easily-digestible foods for dinner.
3. Create the best atmosphere for sleep
If the environment is not right to get kids to sleep, then you have a big problem in your hands. A pleasant sleeping atmosphere entails silence, the right temperature, and peace of mind among other factors. What happens in the surrounding not only determines whether your kids will sleep, but also the quality of the sleep. A noisy environment can have a significant impact on the quality of sleep. Close the windows, minimize the noise coming from outside, and dim the lights.
4. Bar them from using electronic devices during bedtime
Besides getting all their attention, electronic devices such as toys, phones, and even a television set emit light which bars the production of melatonin; the hormone that induces sleep in humans. These are kids, and they can play with their toys for as long as they have breath. You don’t have to be too strict denying them the opportunity to play or watch TV, but you can confiscate the devices when you feel it’s time to do it. If need be, stamp your authority and train them to follow your schedule.
5. Share some bedtime stories
It may sound like an old school approach, but bedtime stories are magical for kids below the age of six. A kid won’t mind a story he’s heard over a million times, but always make sure you pick a story that does not get them scared. Horrific subjects will get them terrified throughout the night, and you’ll have done more than good. Keep going until they are finally off.
6. Waking schedule
If you let your kids oversleep during the day, you will have a problem getting them to sleep at night. Just the same way you have a sleeping routine, introduce a waking schedule and stick to it. The body system easily adapts to the changes, and in days to come it becomes a habit. Kids begin sleeping and waking up at the required time.
7. Play and exercise
A tired body quickly succumbs to sleep, provided there is no pain. If you can get your kids to engage in outdoor activities in the evening before converging in the living room, you are on the right track. When kids are playing, they are exercising as well, and one of the benefits of exercise is inducing good sleep. When encouraging evening time exercise, do not make it appear like you’re forcing them to do it. Make it fun for them all through, and let them long for days like that.
8. Make peace and reduce stress levels
It happens to both adults and kids that a disturbed mind is difficult to relax. When the levels of cortisol (stress hormones) are high, the body becomes unable to shut down and hence, lack of sleep. Let peace prevail before bedtime, and calm the kids if you notice anything out of the ordinary. As a parent, you’re your kids’ superhero, and they’ll take your word when you assure them that everything is going to be alright.
9. Keep the bedroom cool
Just because it’s freezing outside does not mean you cover your kid like an Eskimo. His sleep cycle depends on both light and temperature, and if the room is too hot, then it will be hard for them to sleep. Average room temperature is the most suitable for sound sleep, but if you feel the room is hot, you can regulate the air conditioner to appropriate levels.
10. Check for any related disorders
No matter how much effort you put in trying to get your child to sleep, you are less likely to get them sleeping soundly as long as they are suffering from a sleep disorder. It doesn’t occur to most parents that young souls could be experiencing disturbed sleep, but in reality, kids are even more vulnerable. Some of these disorders are inexplicable, and it takes the intervention of a pediatrician to identify them. Also, attempt to communicate to your kid in the language you can both understand, sometimes it’s better to try than to do nothing at all.
Kids can be an unpredictable lot, but once you can find a way around them, it becomes easy handling them. Some of the things that cause kids not to sleep past their bedtime are man-made and can be dealt with flawlessly. It calls for some psychological mitigation to correct these problems, but doing it wrong can have far-reaching adversities. Treat kids as the sensitive beings they are, and understand that their health revolves around their mental and physical wellbeing.