Getting Kids to Sleep: 5 Ways to Help Your Child Adopt a Healthy Attitude Toward Sleep by 30Seconds Mom
Sleep is essential for everybody, and getting enough sleep is important for your family's health. Sleep provides the foundation for all of your daily habits and decisions. "Sleep deprivation can negatively affect your mood and temperament, as well as your ability to focus on daily tasks," according to the Mayo Clinic. Sleep deprivation is also an overlooked cause for behavior and performance issues in some kids. But when you’re a child, sleep can be the last thing you want to do. Why spend eight hours asleep when you could be playing a game or watching Disney+ instead?
We know it’s important for our kids get the American Academy of Pediatrics' (AAP) recommended eight to 14 hours of quality sleep, depending on age, every night. If bedtime is more of a battle than a relaxing routine in your household, here are some tips to help you help your kids adopt a healthier attitude toward sleep:
1. Don't Use Going to Bed As a Punishment
Telling kids, "go to your room," is a common way of disciplining children, and it can be effective in the short term. But you also may run the risk of your child making negative associations with being in their bedroom, which won’t help them embrace the idea of going to sleep. Instead, consider alternative yet just as effective ways of disciplining your child when needed, like grounding them from playing on their gaming console or taking away other privileges for the rest of the day. For younger kids, a time-out can be effective instead of having them go to their room.
2. Create a Bedroom They Love
Having a bedroom that really speaks to their personality and a space that they can make their own can help get kids more excited about going to bed. Let them get involved with decorating the bedroom with their favorite colors or fun wallpaper with their most-loved movie characters. Allow them to pick out their own bedding and create a sleep space where they love spending time.
3. Upgrade Their Bedroom Furniture
As children grow, they need bedroom furniture that is suitable for them at each stage of their development. Sleeping on a bed that’s too small or too big might make it difficult to fall asleep at night. Make sure that they have a bed that’s a good fit for them and a comfortable mattress, too. You might want to invest in a really fun bed like a top bunk with a gaming station underneath, or a cozy day bed that can double up as a reading nook during the day.
4. Create a Relaxing Bedtime Routine
Creating a relaxing bedtime routine for the whole family is important for getting everybody in the mood to start winding down and thinking about going to sleep. Sleep plays an important role in health and well-being at every age, and if getting to sleep at night is an issue for your child, a change in routine might be needed. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that you stop using electronic devices at least 30 minutes before bedtime. HealthyChildren.org suggests dimming the lights prior to bedtime, controlling the temperature in the home and not filling up the bed with toys. So turn off devices and help your child wind down with a bath, reading a book and listening to relaxing music.
5. Set a Good Example
Setting a good example may encourage kids to develop healthy sleep habits. No matter how much you tell your children to do something or to improve their habits, if they see you doing the exact opposite, they will pick up on it. Getting enough sleep is just as important for you, so let your child see you practicing your own relaxing bedtime routine, keeping your bedroom clean and getting enough sleep every night. Your child will ultimately look up to you and copy you, and when you demonstrate a healthy attitude toward sleep, they may follow.
When you’re little, sleep can be boring. But parents can do their part to make bedtime something kids look forward to.
The information on 30Seconds.com is for informational and entertainment purposes only, and should not be considered medical advice. The information provided through this site should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, and is not a substitute for professional care. Always consult your personal healthcare provider.
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