Sleep is such an important factor in the development of a growing child. With so many things and distractions in the world, a good nights rest can be hard to come by. There are some simple tricks to promote a healthy relationship with sleep.
1. How much sleep does a child need?
Know how much sleep your growing child needs. Depending on age they will require various amounts of sleep.
Here is a general guideline to how much sleep a child needs according to age.
- 1 to 4 weeks old need approximately 16-17 hours of sleep a day. With periods of being awake for 1-3 hours at a time.
- 1 to 4 months old require about the same amount of sleep as newborns. At this stage, the night and day sleep cycles start to become routine.
- 4 months to 1-year-olds need a similar amount of sleep, although at this stage they are more likely to sleep throughout the night with the exception of changing and feeding.
- 1 to 3-year-olds. Toddlers need about 12-14 hours of sleep. Usually can sleep throughout the night but need naps throughout the day.
- 3 to 6-year-olds require 11-12 of sleep at night. They may at times need an extra nap, but usually by the time they reach first grade nap time is not needed.
- 7 to 12-year-olds need about 10-12 hours of sleep per night, but often only get 9-10.
2. Create a bedtime routine
About an hour before you start their bedtime routine start to calm them down. Talking softer, dimming lights, turning off electronics or even turning on relaxing music are good ways to casually hint to your child that bedtime is soon. Bedtime routines can consist of many relaxing activities.
Common Bedtime Routine:
- Dressing for bed
- Brush teeth and hair
- Goodnight hugs and kisses
The most important component to a good nights sleep is a routine. Teaching a child to wind down and prepare themselves for sleep will ensure they have a healthy relationship with sleep their whole life.
3. A Space For Sleep
Design a space meant for sleeping. You’re room no matter what age should be designed to promote sleeping, after all, it is the main purpose of that room.
Colour theory proves you can increase your chances of a good nights sleep by what colour the room is. Colours like blue, yellow, green, silver and orange have been proven to promote healthy sleeping patterns.
Make it as comfortable as possible, bedding and pillows, in order to sleep you need a place you feel completely safe and comfortable in. For children, a nightlight may be necessary to make them feel safe and calm for a good nights sleep.
If they have troubles sleeping due to noise or have trouble with really quite spaces a sound machine or fan could help induce sleep.
4. Say NO to Electronics
Turn off and keep electronics like televisions and ipads out of their room, its tempting and can keep them up all night. The background lights and blueish tint from these devices are meant to promote wakefulness. Lights from these devices mimic daylight and can trick our brains into thinking it needs to stay awake.
5. Daily Exercise
Regular exercise is so important for the development of a growing child. Getting the proper amount of exercise during the day can ensure an easy bedtime and a good sleep. Try to avoid playing 3 hours before bedtime, or they may still be too excited to fall asleep.
6. Avoid Meals and Caffeine Before Bedtime
Having dinner close to bedtime can cause stomach aches and wakefulness. Food and drinks that contain caffeine should be avoided within 3 hours of bedtime. Caffeine should be generally avoided as it is not good for children anyways. If your child is hungry before bedtime a healthy snack or warm glass of milk is best.
7. Watch for sleeping disorders
If you have tried all these tip and more but your child is still having issues falling asleep and staying asleep, or have frequent nightmares they may have a sleeping disorder. Talk to their pediatrician about possible sleep test and remedies.