Sometimes all you want to do is just get your child to sleep. But how? A common issue faced by most parents but do not fear! Read on for tips and advice on how to get your child to sleep and how to create an undisturbed night.
Sleep varies from child to child
All children are different. That is also true of their need for sleep and why they won't sleep. That means there is no answer book you need to peruse, thereby guaranteeing that your child will sleep through and get the sleep he or she requires if you simply follow the rules. But there are some basic tips, which can definitely help your child - not to mention your own sleep routine.
Why won’t my child sleep?
This is undoubtedly a question, which many parents have tried asking themselves. Child sleep problems can result from a variety of causes: for example, growing pains, a sudden and significant change in the child’s life or other forms of unrest. The number of hours of sleep also affects a child’s mood, activity level and curiosity. That means that lack of sleep may lead to a child being lethargic, tired, irritable and hysterical – a problem, with which most parents are all too familiar.
How do I get my child to sleep?
Most parents are familiar with the problem of over-tired and hysterical children who cannot calm down. Unfortunately, there is no specific answer to the question. Nevertheless, there are a number of methods which are worth trying, and which may help you to get your children to sleep through the night.
- Create a regular routine - a child needs a regular framework to relate to, because unrest and imbalance can have a negative effect on your child’s sleep routine. With regular sleep routines and fixed waking-up times, you will help your child acquire some fundamental circadian rhythms, which will also result in a better sleep rhythm
- Avoid certain food and drink before bedtime - avoid sugary desserts or snacks before bedtime. Sugar doesn't help calm your child down and it certainly does help your child feel sleepy. Alternatives to after dinner snacks for your child could be raisins, fruit or nuts
- Avoid screen time before bed - it's a good idea to turn off the TV and hide away any tablets or mobiles a few hours before your little one has to go to sleep. Studies have shown that even our small electronic devices emit sufficient light to confuse the brain in thinking it is the midst of daytime. This is the same for adults as well as children
- Read a bedtime story - bedtime stories can be perfect to help get your child to sleep. A quiet time with mum or dad under the duvet with a nice story calms most children down and makes them sleepy. Avoid action packed stories or being too dramatic in your reading and use a low voice
Children’s need for sleep and their sleep rhythm
Children’s need for sleep varies according to their age. A 4-6-year-old child should preferably sleep 10-12 hours at night. 7-12 year olds should preferably sleep 11 hours and 13-18 year olds should preferably get between 8 and 10 hours of sleep at night. It is also important, even at an early stage in your children’s lives, to establish a regular sleep rhythm, since this can be crucial for children’s sleep cycle for several years to come.
Read more about the need for sleep at all ages.
Light has a regulatory effect on children’s sleep
Light and dark automatically have a regulatory effect on the body’s sleep rhythm, whether you are a child or an adult. So, when a child needs to get his/her night’s sleep, the amount of light in the room is very important. Total darkness in the bedroom is the best thing for your child when sleeping at night. However, many children does not like the darkness. If your child requires light try to leave the door a little open instead of having a lamp directly over the child's bed.
Read more about how the colours in a room can affect sleep.