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When was the last time you had to stay up throughout the night because your child wouldn’t go to sleep? If you’re like most parents, chances are this happens more often than you can remember. Inculcating healthy sleep habits in kids is one of the biggest challenges today’s parents face.
Nevertheless, the right amount of sleep is essential for your child’s physical and mental development. On the other hand, lack of adequate sleep can adversely affect their behavior, mood, memory, and attentiveness. This, in turn, can take a toll on their academic performance and learning abilities.
Research has also revealed that children who are deprived of an hour of sleep each night for five consecutive nights tend to become more irritable and inattentive in class. While no parent wants to wake up to a groggy and frustrated kid in the morning, it’s a sad reality for most.
The worst part is that when your child doesn’t get plenty of shut-eye, you don’t get enough sleep either. This can quickly spiral into a vicious cycle of unhealthy daytime habits and food choices. Thus, ensuring that their child gets proper sleep every night is every parent’s top priority.
The good news is that developing the right sleep habits in your child isn’t rocket science. Simple changes in their lifestyle and sleeping environment can significantly impact their quality of sleep.
In this blog, we’ll discuss some of the most effective techniques to help your child fall asleep faster and sleep throughout the night. Let’s get started.
1. Establish a Relaxing Bedtime Routine
Ideally, your child should fall asleep within twenty minutes of hitting their bed. If this isn’t the case, you need to create a bedtime routine that’ll wire your kid’s brain for sleep. The idea is to let them unwind and feel calmer so that they can fall asleep faster.
The routine can be something as simple as a warm bath followed by storytime. Older children can also practice mindfulness meditation and deep breathing exercises to feel relaxed. You could also encourage them to have a chat with you about their day and how they’re feeling.
Don’t get caught up with imitating the fairytale-like bedtime rituals you might have seen in the movies. Instead, understand your child’s unique needs and discuss with them to create a bedtime routine according to their preferences.
However, as a ground-rule, you should prohibit certain activities, such as watching the TV or playing video games, before bedtime. Otherwise, the blue light from these electronic gadgets will suppress melatonin production and interfere with your child’s sleep.
2. Use a Weighted Blanket
If you’ve searched for sleep tips on the internet, you’ve likely already come across weighted blankets as an at-home remedy for sleep disorders. What you may not know is that weighted blankets aren’t just effective for adults. You can use these blankets for kids too.
A weighted blanket used deep pressure stimulation to relax your child’s body and mind. It promotes the production of serotonin and melatonin, thereby improving their mood and helping them fall asleep. Also, it fosters a sense of emotional security by mimicking the feeling of being hugged or swaddled.
Thus, if your child is prone to bedtime fears, sleep terrors, or nighttime awakening, providing them with a snug and comfortable weighted blanket is a great idea. Studies have also shown that these blankets improve the quality of sleep in children suffering from ADHD and autism spectrum disorder.
Many weighted blanket manufacturers, such as Hush, offer a wide range of blankets for kids. From regular weighted blankets to iced blankets – you’ll find a diverse assortment of Hush blankets for kids in different sizes and prints.
3. Cut Down Daytime Napping
Napping is common in children below the age of five years. However, if your kid is older and prefers to take a nap during the day, make sure they aren’t sleeping for more than 20 to 30 minutes. Also, it’s a good idea to discourage them from napping post-afternoon. Otherwise, they’ll have a hard time falling asleep at night.
4. Address Bedtime Fears
Children have excellent imagination and creativity. While this is a good thing in most cases, it can also lead them to develop an irrational fear of monsters and ghosts. And these apprehensions get particularly exacerbated during bedtime.
Dismissing their fears as baseless or unrealistic will only make them feel more frightened. Instead, it’s a good idea to talk to them about their fears during the daytime and reassure them that you’ve got their back. You can also take it up a notch by using a fictional “ghost repellent spray” at night to put their fears to rest.
5. Develop Healthy Daytime Habits
If your child doesn’t engage in plenty of physical activities during the day, they’ll have trouble sleeping because of the pent-up energy. Thus, you need to ensure that they spend plenty of time outdoors, playing and running around. Also, you should regularize their bedtime and wake-up time to sync their body clock.
Likewise, providing your child with plenty of natural light during the day is crucial. You should also monitor their diet and limit the consumption of caffeine-loaded beverages, such as energy drinks and sodas.
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