As a parent, it is only natural to want the best for your child, and ensuring they get enough sleep is an important part of that. Although children’s sleep patterns can be erratic when they are born, it is essential to establish regular sleep habits from an early age to ensure they get sufficient and consistent sleep.
Failure to do so can result in disrupted sleep schedules, which can have a negative impact on their growth and well-being. In this article, we will provide 9 tips for children to sleep better, promote growth, and optimize their overall health.
The Importance of Bedtime for Children
Getting enough sleep is vital for children, and it is crucial for parents to understand the reasons why. Here are seven reasons why sleep is crucial for children, as reported by parents.com:
- Sleep promotes growth
- Sleep helps children reduce the risk of damage to blood vessels
- Sleep can prevent excess weight gain
- Sleep can help children fight germs, as during sleep, children produce proteins called cytokines that can fight disease in the body
- Sleep reduces the risk of injury
- Sleep can improve focus in children
- Sleep can enhance learning
According to kidshealth.org, parents can ensure their children get the required amount of sleep based on their age. For instance:
- Babies aged 0-3 months need 14-17 hours of sleep, including naps
- Babies aged 4-12 months need 12-16 hours of sleep, including naps
- Toddlers aged 1-2 years need 11-14 hours of sleep, including naps
- Preschoolers aged 3-5 years need 10-13 hours of sleep, including naps
- School children aged 6-13 years need 9-12 hours of sleep
- Teenagers aged 14-17 years need 8-10 hours of sleep.
Tips for Better Sleep for Children
Here are some tips that parents can follow to help their children fall asleep quickly:
- Establish a Bedtime Routine: Create a relaxing routine to help your child anticipate bedtime. Thirty minutes before bedtime, engage in quiet play, turn off electronic devices, and start to dim the lights to prepare your child for sleep. Set a regular bedtime and wake-up time to establish a consistent sleep pattern.
- Maintain a Regular Sleep Schedule: Keeping a regular sleep schedule helps regulate a child’s body clock, creating an ideal environment for sleep.
- Create a Conducive Sleep Environment: Ensure that your child’s bedroom is conducive to sleep. Keep the room dark, quiet, and cool to promote restful sleep.
- Turn Off Electronic Devices: Electronic devices emit blue light that can interfere with melatonin production, making it harder for your child to fall asleep. Additionally, watching stimulating content can increase heart rate and make it challenging for your child to sleep. Turn off electronic devices at least an hour before bedtime.
- Keep the Room Cool: The body temperature decreases during sunset, signaling to the body that it is time to rest. Lowering the temperature in the room can help to induce drowsiness and reduce alertness.
- Encourage Physical Activity: Regular physical activity helps promote better sleep in children. Encourage your child to engage in physical activities such as exercise in the morning to aid restful sleep at night.
- Avoid Energy Drinks: Avoid giving your child sugary drinks that contain caffeine and sugar, which can interfere with sleep. Instead, give your child snacks such as warm milk, whole wheat cereal with milk or fruit, or a biscuit. However, ensure that the snacks are light, as an overly full stomach can disrupt sleep.