Kids are very active throughout the day and super energetic as well. However, they get tired without really realizing it. A good night time routine and certain healthy sleep rules for children are therefore, a must to ensure that their energy stores are replenished for the next day. When we follow the right sleep rules for children, they not only fall asleep and get up on the same time, but it also lays the foundation for a healthier lifestyle for years to come.
Important Sleep Rules for Children That Every Parent Must Follow
#1. Make sleep time important for every member
Kids learn by observation. Therefore, it is important for the whole family (parents included) to follow a sleep regime. You must know or find out how much sleep does each member of the family require based on their age and then form sleep routines that suit individual needs. The best way would be to either keep the wake-up time common for the whole family or the bedtime the same for everyone. This will help set a family routine while leaving flexibility for individual needs as well.
Also read: Top Tips To Get A Good Night’s Sleep During Pregnancy
According to the US National sleep foundation, here is an insight into how many hours of sleep do we need age wise:
#2. Set a sleep regime and stick to the timings
The sleep time routine and regime should be clear to every member of the family. Consistently insist upon everyone following timelines. Younger kids must be able to observe everyone around getting ready for bedtime and they will follow suit. You must explain nigh time expectations to all members of the family and be patient if you are just starting a system.
#3. Some basics that must form part of the sleep regime
Brushing teeth, washing the face and feet, changing into clean night suits, applying moisturizer, combing hair, are some basic activities that must be part of the bedtime regime in your house. It is important that kids see everyone following these everyday.
Also read: Most Common Myths About Sleep In Babies
#4. Set the stage for bedtime
As you near bedtime, ensure that all bedrooms are neat and comfortable to sleep. Start switching off additional lights in the house. De-clutter the sleeping area, tidy up the beds, stretch and straighten the sheets, dim the lights in the room, lay out the comforters or quilts and adjust the room temperature as per the season. If you have a newborn, make sure you do not swaddle the little one too tightly. If using a blanket for infants and toddlers, never take them over the shoulders. Kids must be put to bed wearing loose and comfort or a toddler, never swaddle too tightly at bedtime and ensure they are wearing loose clothes to bed.
#5. Allow bedtime accessories and activities for easy transition
Do not make bedtime a ‘no-fun’ time. Smaller children often relate bedtime with separation from the parents. Therefore, allow them to sleep with a soft cuddly toy or a blankie, or let them listen to a bedtime story. Form your own loving bedtime specials like hugging, cuddling, singing a lullaby, or simply having some pillow chat before saying goodnight to the little one. If your child feels scared in total darkness let her use a night lamp.
Also read: Interesting Facts About Your Baby’s Sleep
#6. No Snacking or sweetened beverages at bedtime
Make sure that everyone has eaten at least two hours before bedtime so that there is ample time for easy digestion. Once teeth have been brushed, no one should eat anything. Avoid giving liquids to kids at bedtime as toddlers end up bedwetting or stay disturbed at night due to frequent washroom visits. Sweet foods increase energy levels at night and are therefore, best avoided.
#7. Say goodnight to gadgets at bedtime
Preparing for bed also entails putting all gadgets aside. You cannot expect your child to sleep if you are watching television, chatting on phone, or playing a game. It is best to put your mobile phones on silent mode. Many parents assign a separate charging zone for their mobiles, which is in a common place out of the bedroom to avoid any distractions. You can always watch television on low volume once the kids have fallen asleep.
Also read: 10 Precautions To Take While Co-Sleeping With Your Newborn
Tips for better sleep regimes
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- Identify sleep disturbances and issues in your child early in life. This may include blocked nose, nasal congestion, snoring, or simply stalling to go to bed. Sleep issues when addressed timely help improve overall health and wellbeing.
- As far as parenting and sleep rules for children are concerned, make sure your partner and you are on the same page.
- Remain consistent in your systems and approach. Changing systems leave the kids confused.