Children not getting enough sleep can cause a wide range of physical and mental effects.
These vary from child to child, but most parents recognise them. Lack of sleep in children means lack of sleep in parents too. Long stressful bedtime routines are exhausting for parents and lack of couple time can be a strain on relationships. Bedtime problems for single parents are doubly difficult as there is no-one to share the load.
Here are our top tips for childrens’ sleep:
• Watch for tired cues such as rubbing their eyes, yawning, lack of focus, or generally being upset. That’s time for bed.
• Go for a walk or some other form of exercise-based play before the bedtime routine, but finish this at least an hour before bed.
• Avoid sugary food and drinks, fizzy drinks and fruit juice for two hours in the lead up to bedtime.
• Turn off any kind of screen for at least an hour before bedtime to avoid over stimulation of the brain that can make it difficult to calm down and switch off.
• Create a regular bedtime routine so that your child knows what is coming and when. It takes 30 days of repetition to make something a habit.
• Have a healthy dinner of low sugar, low carbohydrate food, followed later by a warm bath.
You could also read a good, calming bedtime story like Sleeepy Storiezzz, which was written to help children who have problems going to sleep or staying asleep. The book is written using guided Meditation and Clinical Hypnotherapy techniques to guide children quickly and easily to sleep. Taking children through the brain’s natural processes to sleep means that children can sleep more deeply and for longer.