Sleep is a vital subject for children of all ages, but it can also be one where parents struggle to establish consistent schedules and get buy-in. A good sleep schedule has several major benefits for children, though, and doing your best to move forward in this area as a parent is very important.
At Devlin's Child Development, we're happy to assist in this area within any of our child care programs, which include daycare, preschool, after school care and more. Whether it involves helping your child stick to a nap schedule, educating them on the importance of sleep or any other concept, we're here to help. Here are some of the things parents can do to help improve their child's sleep schedule, especially if you've noticed recent issues with tiredness or sleep.
As they age, child bedtimes will typically get slightly later over time, but it's also a good idea to involve your kids in the process. This will make them more likely to comply and establish a bedtime routine that they're happy with.
Now, this area has to have some natural limits. Some kids would choose 1am as their bedtime if you asked them, but this isn't acceptable for the reality of life. Having your children help decide when it's time to go to bed can be a great way to get buy-in and teach them about positive sleep hygiene, though.
We all get used to routines over time, so creating a bedtime routine for your child is a great idea. This can include something as simple as brushing teeth, reading stories or talking about the day before sleep. Over time this will become something that your children look forward to and it's also an important part of helping them establish positive sleep habits.
For instance, if your child is used to seeing the same nightlight in their room and knowing it's time for bed, they'll naturally become more accustomed to sleep.
Some mistakenly think that while nighttime sleeping should be on a routine, child naps can be more of a wildcard. However, this isn't the case. Even if your child has moved on from napping during the day, establishing a bedtime routine can still be important for them.
And for children who are still napping regularly, having a fixed nap time can be even more important. This will ensure that they're getting the restful sleep they need, and it may also help avoid issues with being over-tired at night.
Even once a routine has been established, there's always the issue of actually getting your children to sleep. This can be tricky, but teaching them how to wind down is a great idea.
This could include things like having them read softly in their room or playing calming music to get them used to the idea of sleeping. Again, consistency matters here, and this is one more way to ensure that your child is getting the sleep they need.
One solid approach that many parents have found success with is limiting technology before bed. This means a screen-free period at least an hour before they go to sleep and potentially even more if it helps your child wind down (especially if there are any age-related restrictions).
This is especially helpful for teenagers and older kids, as the blue light emitted from screens can affect their sleep cycle. Limiting this exposure is important for both getting to sleep and staying asleep.
Exercise and activity are also a major factor in helping children get the sleep they need. Of course, this doesn't mean having them run a marathon every day! However, simple activities like playing tag or taking regular walks outdoors can do wonders for sleep.
Finally, if you're in a situation where your child is in daycare or having another adult care for them regularly, it's always important to be transparent. Having a good relationship with their child care professionals can make all the difference when it comes to sleep hygiene, and letting them know about any changes you make at home can help keep your daily routine consistent.
For instance, at Devlin's Child Development, we're happy to assist with many of the areas we've gone over already in this blog. Kids get regular outside time and exercise with us, for one, and we understand the importance of establishing a routine and helping kids get to sleep. We're also happy to adhere to any kind of nap or related scheduling you have in mind for your child.
To learn more about any of our services, don't hesitate to get in touch! We look forward to hearing from you.