Mommy, please can I pleeeassee stay up just a little longer? How many times have you heard this, given in and allowed your child to stay up? Sometimes you feel their reasons are valid. It’s the Summer holidays! So you let it go and allow them to stay up, thinking an hour or so won’t hurt. Unfortunately, once that happens a couple of times, it usually turns into a vicious cycle that’s difficult to break. Then the morning comes, and you’ve got a grumpy, irritable, unmotivated. Oh, and did I mention, incredibly sleepy child? Dreading whatever activity you have arranged for the morning. Classic story.
The good news is that there are several things you can do to help your child get a good night’s sleep. Whether your child is 6 or 16. The remedy is simple. Create a routine. I didn’t say it’ll be easy. It’ll take discipline from your end, as a parent. As well as your child but if you do, it will help your child, not only during the Summer school break but well into adulthood. A routine will reduce stress and anxiety levels by eliminating guesswork. When you know exactly when and what needs to be done, the mind relaxes. It will also allow for more time to unwind and help better quality sleep.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, our internal body clock can be regulated simply by going to bed every night at the same time, and waking up at the same time every morning. (yup, including weekends!) Great thing is, once you’ve got your routine set (and you stick to it.) Your entire family will be able to fall asleep a lot easier, stay asleep and wake up feeling energized for the day ahead.
Here are a few of the best tips we’ve found on how to help your child get better sleep.
1. Turn off electronic devices (or place it as far away from your bedside as possible.)
Yes, all devices that distract will need to be turned off. This includes tablets, phones, computers and yes, your televsion! They are a huge distraction for children (and adults too!). Plus, the blue light they emit, disrupts the production of melatonin, a hormone in charge of regulating the body’s sleep cycle. So, yes, turn everything off at least an hour before going to bed. (If your teen loves to listen to loud angry music, it’ll be good to turn that off too…)
Sleeping in a cluttered room is another distraction, and it can have a negative effect on your child’s mental health. According to Christa O’Leary, author of “Home in Harmony.” “If you wake up and are immediately depleted by your surroundings, it will impact your well-being as you move through the rest of your day,” she explains. “Your bed and bedroom should be a sanctuary where you’re able to rejuvenate your mind, body and spirit.”
So as your child’s Knight in shining armor, help get things cleaned up and organized; if there is a desk or an area to do homework, put things in order so there is nothing to take attention away from what really matters. Sleep. Click here for some great tips on how to help make the perfect bedroom for your child to get some rest.
3. Have the pet sleep in his/her own bed
Studies have shown that sleeping with pets can be a detriment to your sleep since they tend to move around a lot. If your child sleeps with the family dog or cat, consider having your pet sleep in his own bed, especially if your child is a light sleeper. Though your child may not fully wake up each time your pet moves, it’s the interrupted sleep that will effect your child’s mood and energy the next day.
4. Get school work or any academic work completed during the afternoon
If possible, have your child do Summer school work mid-afternoon. Perhaps after lunch but definitely before dinner. Schedule it in and stick to the routine. Check your schedule for the best time for Summer school homework (or academic work). Set an alarm to remind you, if you have to. This will ensure your child is not scrambling at the end of the Summer holidays trying to get it completed. Eliminating that stress that could possibly hinder your child’s sleep quality.
5.Create a bedtime routine
Having a bedtime routine isn’t just for babies. Everyone can benefit from sticking to a schedule. Help your child find ways to relax before it’s time to settle down for the night. Such as dimming the lights, taking a hot shower, defusing essential oils or listening to slow meditative music before going to sleep. Having the same routine each night will help the body get into the habit of winding down for the day.
Helping your child get better sleep, does matter. Sleep affects our immune system, hormones, growth, and development. Sleep also nourishes the mind. By improving memory, problem-solving and learning skills. If you’re worried about their mood swings or if your child is having difficulty with concentration. Try to look into their sleeping habits.