It is not uncommon for children to have trouble sleeping. They may be anxious in the dark or unsettled without the presence of their parents. This can result in difficulty getting to sleep, as well as disturbed sleep during nights.
Sleep advice for children
Lack of sleep in children can affect their development, as well as affecting the ability of their parents to sleep. At the end of the day, children’s sleep deprivation is clearly something that is best avoided; but how exactly do you achieve this?
A key strategy in improving the sleeping habits of your child is to create a restful environment in their bedroom. Tidy away toys and clothes before they go to bed, thereby creating a clean setting, free from distractions. Embrace relaxing colours, such as neutral greens, soft greys and pastel blues.
You should also ensure temperate conditions of around 16-18°C; meanwhile, light should be eliminated as much as possible. Investing in blackout blinds may be a useful option. Finally, put your child at ease with a familiar object to keep them company in bed, such as a simple cuddly toy. Family photos can also help to make a child feel reassured before the lights go out.
Whether it’s a set teatime, a regular bath time or a consistent bedtime, kids benefit greatly from routine – and even grow to enjoy it.
You child’s bedtime routine should begin an hour before planned sleep. Try to engage them in calming activities, such as a simple jigsaw or colouring. Meanwhile, you should avoid boisterous play, television or computer games at this time.
When your child is in bed, a short, light hearted story can be a great way to encourage them to switch off. Create a regular bedtime mantra to say to your child just before they sleep, such as ‘time to sleep’.
If your child is afraid of the dark, stay by their bedside until they fall asleep. Leave it 10 minutes before exiting the room to ensure they have started their sleep cycle. If at any point your child tries to engage, quietly and calmly repeat the bedtime mantra. Each night stay further away from your child, until they are able to fall asleep without your presence.
It is vital that your child sleep on a suitable and supportive bed. This is true for all people, but particularly so of children to whom discomfort and distractions may be more pronounced.