Children need about 9-11 hours of sleep each night – that’s a lot! But adequate sleep is critical to keeping them both cooperative and healthy.
Sleep patterns matter nearly as much as getting the proper amount. Kids thrive on routine.
This becomes especially important when school starts back up. Keep reading to learn tips for creating childrens sleep schedules.
Slowly Break Them Into a New Schedule
Summer vacation often results in late nights of fun and excitement. Kids then get used to sleeping a little later as well.
The beginning of their next school year calls for a much more rigid schedule. But throwing them into it all at once can feel jarring. Wean your children into the schedule weeks before school.
Each night start to put them to bed a little earlier so that they wake up sooner. They will adjust much better by easing into it a little at a time.
Set Strict Schedules
Once you ease your children into their schedule, set strict times. Going to sleep and waking up at the same time each day will help set their circadian rhythm.
This biological sleep clock tells the body when to produce melatonin for sleep and cortisol to wake up.
Set their wake up with an appropriate time to get ready. A good bedtime for kids leaves them room for 11 hours of sleep each night according to their morning alarm.
Routine helps kids feel safe and thus reduces anxiety. Therefore it helps them sleep better.
Make your child’s days feel as structured as possible. When they wake up, teach them to do things in order, like shower, brush their teeth, get dressed, eat breakfast, etc.
The nighttime routine will prove even more useful for getting them to sleep. Begin it with dinner, and then set several steps leading up to bed so that they know when it’s time to wind down.
People often think of dessert as an after-dinner treat. But sugary foods can postpone sleep because carbohydrates energize the body.
Even healthy sugar from fruit can keep your little one awake. In fact, you may want to limit the amount of sugar they eat throughout the day.
Save processed sugars for special occasions. Move your child’s healthy dessert to an after-school snack to keep it early in the day.
Lower the Lights
Your body responds differently when it senses light and when it doesn’t. This makes appropriate exposure to light important.
During the day, your child should see an appropriate amount of sunlight and bright artificial lights. At night, start dimming your lights around dinner time to mimic the sun going down.
At bedtime, turn off bright electronic screens completely. Keep their room completely dark if possible.
Address Sleep Disorders
Improving sleep habits can feel like a losing battle if your child struggles with a sleep disorder. Sometimes parents think their child is acting uncooperative when they don’t sleep at bedtime.
But this can signal an issue, especially when you create a healthy routine for them. Seek help if your child regularly does not sleep well.
Set It and Stick With It
You cannot set a routine if you do not stick to it. Childrens sleep schedules may take an adjustment period, but then they tend to work well.
Good sleep helps children feel good and focus well in school. If your little one seems to struggle, contact us.