Today’s post is courtesy of Whitney Roban, Ph.D., a child sleep specialist and health educator.
At my Pediatric Sleep Consultancy, the most common sleep issues centered almost at bedtime. A process that should last 15 minutes at most and can be a calming way to end the day, instead, is always sought after with arguments, tears, and fights that last several hours in length. . Fortunately, bedtime can be a happy time in every home as long as parents maintain commitment and consistency. Here are my top 10 tips to avoid bedtime conflicts.
10 Tips To Help Kids Get More Sleep
- Set an appropriate bedtime and be consistent with the scheduled bedtime. Typically, children from 4 months to 6 years of age should get 11-12 hours of non-stop sleep per night. Children aged 7-12 years should best get 10-11 hours of nightly sleep. Teenagers need 9-10 hours of sleep a night.
- Wind before bedtime. After dinner is a good time to start ending any motivating behavior such as being violent and playing the game. If bath time is relaxing for your child, make that part of the usual early evening activity. It’s also a good idea to dim indoor lights, wear soothing music, and stop using electronic devices at least an hour before bedtime.
- Create a sleeping environment inside your child that helps with sleep. Make sure the room is quiet, dark, safe, and not disturbing.
- Prepare for bedtime. Make sure you have everything you and your child need for regular bedtime and sleeping in your child’s bedroom before you start the usual activity. This will prevent you or your child from leaving the room once bedtime has officially started.
- Put digital clocks in your living room and in the kid’s room. Having a concrete way to see a child when it’s time to go to bed gives the child a sense of restraint in the sleep experience.
- Make a short, consistent, and unobtrusive bedtime routine. Regular bedtimes lower the level of anxiety for children and adults, as everyone knows what’s coming next. A regular bedtime can consist of meals, books and some special nap time.
- Start your child’s regular sleep activity early so your child can fall asleep before overtaking. There is no bedtime activity that should be longer than 15 minutes in length. So, if you want your child to go to bed at 7:00 you should start at bedtime at 6:30. This allows enough time for routine and for your child to gradually fall asleep peacefully.
- Children are often left awake. They need to know that you can get out of the room and comfort themselves to fall asleep in a quick and peaceful manner. This will allow a child to have the ability to comfort themselves during the night when there is a nightly waking not due to illness or injury.
- For older children, make sure the bedtime conversation focuses on positive and happy thoughts. You can add a “best part of my day” topic to your conversations every night before bed. Set up a specific “conversation time” a day for conversations that focus on whatever is bothering your child. Your child needs to know that you can be used to discuss fears and worries, but bedtime is set aside for talk that focuses on things that make us smile.
- Create a rule -based reward chart. Choose one of your child’s most important sleep rules and write it on the chart. You can help your child decorate the chart so he or she can feel part of the sleep process. Take your child to a 99 cent store and pick up a treasure trove to fill with exciting foods. At the time of waking up, if your child follows the rule of sleep, he should put a sticker on the chart and choose a prize from the treasure chest.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in 2014 but has now been updated.
Builds on Solve Our Sleep and GOOD SLEEP / GOOD WORK, Dr. Whitney Roban sleep is a necessity, not a luxury. She lives and works with the same philosophy: parenting is the hardest job, especially made difficult when a family can’t sleep. Her mission is to provide the gift of sleep to families through her dissemination of information and emotional support -based training systems, as well as her parent and corporate benefit education workshops. She now lives in New York with her two children, ages 10 and 12. Dr. Roban now spends his time away with his two boys resting well to help other parents and caregivers who are struggling with childhood sleep problems.