Helping children to develop good sleep habits is vital for the development of happy, healthy minds. Promoting growth, alertness, memory and performance, sleep ensures children function well, which helps avoid the development of behavioural problems.
Here are some top sleep tips to help get your little ones sleeping well.
1. Have a bedtime routine
Introducing a bedtime routine at the same time each evening ensures children relax, fall asleep and make it through the night.
A typical routine might include:
- Take a bath
- Brush teeth
- Get ready for bed
- Read a story
- Put your child to bed
- Say Goodnight and turn out the light
2. Encourage your child to fall asleep alone
A child that can fall asleep without parental assistance is more likely to be able to soothe themselves back to sleep when they awake in the night. Encouraging positive associations with sleep will ensure your child makes it through the night without disturbances occurring.
3. Create a relaxing environment
- Don’t let your child have a television in their room and ensure TV viewing is avoided prior to bedtime.
- The temperature of the room should be between 16 -20 degrees.
- Strike a light/dark balance that works for your child.
- Keeping the bedtime environment the same throughout the night will benefit your child’s sleep.
4. Give your child a chance to fall back to sleep
Avoid creating an association between you and your child’s sleep, if you go to your child every time they cry out during the night it’s unlikely your child will be able to fall asleep without you popping in to check on them. Of course there are occasions when it is necessary to check on your child at night, such as when they are under the weather. Video monitors and various phone apps now available can work wonders for peace of mind during night time awakenings.
5. Encourage nap time for young children
Naps and night time sleep are important for babies and toddlers, making these youngsters less grumpy, with many parents swearing that naps promote better sleep at night. Every child is different however; from 6 months of age it’s widely recommended that a child has two naps a day of between 30 minutes to 2 hours. From 18 months it’s usual for two naps to become one and between 2 to 5 years naps generally discontinue.
6. Ensure your child gets the right amount of sleep
The recommended number of hours sleep changes as a child ages. Typically, sleep recommendations are:
- 0 – 2 months – 15 to 18 hours
- 2 – 12 months – 14 to 15 hours
- 1 – 3 years – 12 to 14 hours
- 3 – 5 years – 11 to 12 hours
- 5 – 12 years – 10 to 11 hours
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