Ways to Help Your Child Get To Sleep
Sleep is an important part of everyone’s daily lives, especially when you’re young. The National Sleep Foundation claim that by the time a child is two years old, they will most likely have spent more of their life asleep than awake, and that a child will spend 40% of their childhood sleeping.
Children need a lot more sleep to develop both physically and mentally, however, sometimes it can be difficult getting them to settle down. The following tactics might help to get your child settled for bed:
- Relax before bed
- Avoid electronic devices before bed
- Optimise their bedroom
Throughout this guide, we’ll be exploring these top tips for helping your child get to sleep.
Relax Before Bed
Creating a relaxing bedtime routine can help your child to calm down, making it easier for them to drift off when being put to bed. The following routine may help to relax your child before bed:
- Give them a warm bath.
- Dim the lights to promote the release of melatonin (the sleep hormone).
- When put in bed, give your child the option of reading quietly or listening to some soothing music.
Additionally, you could also use this breathing exercise recommended by the NHS to help your child drift off. This should be used just before bed to help them relax further.
Avoid Electronic Devices Before Bed
The screens on electronic devices (such as TVs, smartphones, tablets and laptops) have been shown to suppress your body’s release of sleep hormones (e.g. melatonin). The artificial blue light emitted from the screens of these devices is largely to blame for this, making it harder to both fall and stay asleep.
Therefore, it can be helpful to set limits on electronic devices, and stop your child from using them an hour before they go to bed. This can help to reduce the screens’ impact on your child’s sleep, and helps them to feel sleepier during bed time.
It might also help to take out any electronic devices from your child’s room whilst they go to bed, so they can’t tempted to play with them instead of going to sleep.
Optimise Their Bedroom
You can also optimise your child’s bedroom for sleep, making sure the room is dark, tidy and at a good temperature (the NHS recommend 16 – 20C). Making sure there’s minimal noise in this part of the house can also reduce disturbances, further helping your child to have a healthy, uninterrupted sleep.
A weighted blanket may also help your child to drift off to sleep, the pressure from the blanket known to increase serotonin and promote a sense of calm. When buying a weighted blanket for your child, it’s important to make sure the product is suitable for children.
How Much Sleep Does My Child Need?
The amount of sleep a child needs can vary considerably depending on their age. Below is a list of the average amount of sleep your child needs a day, from newborns to teenagers:
- Newborns (0 – 3 months): 14 – 17 hours a day
- Infants (4 – 11 months): 12 – 15 hours a day
- Toddlers (1 – 2 years): 11 – 14 hours a day
- Preschoolers (3 – 5 years): 10 – 13 hours a day
- School age children (6 – 13 years): 9 – 11 hours a day
- Teenagers (14 – 17 years): 8 – 10 hours a day
These figures are from the National Sleep Foundation Scientific Advisory Council, and represent the recommended range of sleeping hours for children of all ages.
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