As most experts will tell you, a regular sleep routine is a key ingredient to a happy, healthy, and well-adjusted child. Various studies have shown that children who get insufficient sleep or who are not on a regular bedtime schedule are prone to being moody, difficult, irritable, non-compliant, and exhibiting poor focus and memory skills. This can negatively impact school performance, social interactions, and overall behavior.
The health benefits of getting enough sleep
3-to-5-year-olds need approximately 11 to 13 hours of sleep per night. 6-to-10-year-olds need 10 to 11 hours. Anything less and you will have a problem on your hands. Sticking to this consistent sleep pattern and schedule will result in happier, calmer, and more emotionally stable children. Hyperactivity, which is a child’s way of communicating that they are tired and overwrought, will decrease significantly. Healthy eating habits, good communication skills, mental focus, and positive behavior are all likely to increase when a child receives a decent night’s rest on a regular basis. Keyword: regular.
But as many parents know, getting your child to go to sleep on time can be a nightmare of epic proportions. Tantrums, crying, endless excuses, and other challenges may await you in the nightly struggle to get your child to dreamland. Read on for some helpful tools of the trade.
Shortening the distance to bed
- Stick to a strict schedule.
- At the same time every night, begin the wind-down process. This may include bath time, cuddling, and/or reading books.
- Before turning out the lights, create the right atmosphere.
- Make sure the child’s room is dark, comfortable, and quiet.
- Have the child’s favorite stuffed animals around and choose comfy pajamas.
- Make sure the temperature is set at 68-70 degrees for optimal sleeping conditions.
- Make it clear that sleep time occurs at the same time every night, whether it’s dark outside or not, no matter what.
So, even though your child may try every trick in the book to delay or avoid bedtime, stick to your guns. Your wee one’s health depends on it—and so does your sanity.