Sleep is paramount for everyone, most especially children. Your kid needs to sleep well for proper growth and development to occur. A child that is not getting enough sleep will be grumpy, fatigued, unfocused, and unfriendly. According to experts, newborns to 5year olds needs at least 10-12 hours of sleep and 1-3 hours nap. And kids above five years old can thrive on 9-10 hours of sleep without napping during the day.
Children need those long hours of sleep because of the intense physical activities they engage in during the day. The knowledge of the hours of sleep your child need will let you know when your child is not sleeping well. There are various practices through which you can make sure that your child is getting enough sleep. Some of them are:
- Develop a bedtime routine: Having a bedtime routine would make a child fall asleep at the right time. Draw out a feasible method. For example, let your child know that he or she must have finished dinner by 7 pm. After dinner would be the time to watch favorite sing along or listen to any choice musicals for thirty minutes. The next thirty minutes would be for brushing and having a refreshing bath. After the bath, get the child into his or her PJ, and lead such kid to bed. Storytime in bed can be twenty minutes, prayer time or whichever activity left should be done within ten minutes. Next is light-out. The routine summarized above would take approximately two full hours to accomplish. If you stick with the routine, your child would be mentally prepared to sleep two hours before the set time every day.
- Keep evening activities minimal: Evening time should not be the time to engage your child in tedious physical activity. Some of the activities that you should avoid include outdoor games such as playing football and basketball. Let your child know that outdoor activities stop probably three hours before bedtime. The few hours before bed should be for things that will not involve significant mental involvement. Listening to music, talking about how the day went, eating dinner, and taking a cup of milk are the acceptable activities when it’s about three hours to bedtime. This practice makes your child sleep soundly with any sudden surge of adrenaline.
- Educate your child about benefits of sleeping: Talk to your older kids about the importance of getting enough sleep. Let your child know that sleep is an important part of both his mental and physical growth. A child that knows about the benefits of sleeping well would not be rebellious when it involves keeping to bedtime routine.
- Teach your kid to sleep independently: Several parents make the mistake of getting in bed with their children to help them sleep. If you have been doing such, you need to stop it. Let your child learn to sleep independently. Get your little one his or her bed and encourage him or her to sleep in it. Independent sleepers don’t have troubles with falling asleep. Such kids would also know how to soothe themselves back to sleep if they happen to wake up during the night.
- Have a consistent sleep schedule: For a child, sleeping should be a part of the activities for the day. Develop a sleep schedule and keep to it. Let your child know the time for afternoon napping is not negotiable. If you have to be at someplace with your child past bedtime, prepare ahead. Take all that you need for your child’s nighttime routine along. Don’t miss a day except when it’s unavoidable.
In a Nut Shell
A child that is grumpy and fatigued becomes a source of worry to the parents. If your child has been exhibiting the signs of poor sleeping habits lately, don’t panic. Help your child get more sleep by making the points above a family routine.
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