We all want our children to sleep well each night not only so they can concentrate properly at school and elsewhere and remain healthy but also so we have fewer bad moods to contend with.
Plus, if our children aren’t sleeping well, the chances are that they’ll be up in the middle of the night and interrupting our slumber, which we don’t want either. It’s vital, then, to consider any factors that might interfere with your child’s ability to get a decent night’s rest.
Ineffective Bedroom Setup
If kids don’t have a bedroom setup conducive to sleep, they will struggle to rest properly. They might have an uncomfortable mattress or pillow that makes it hard to get comfortable, or there could be too much light in the room or too much noise. The temperature could be an issue, too.
You may need to upgrade your child’s bed to rectify these things. Kids need a strong, supportive bed base and a mattress that suits their sleeping style (e.g., side, back, or stomach sleeper) and preferred level of softness or firmness. When updating products, you might want to invest in an affordable organic mattress to limit the number of chemicals you introduce to their bed and reduce issues with allergies, asthma, and the like. More natural materials like organic cotton are more breathable and keep pests at bay, too.
Change your child’s pillow out for a new one every year or so and ensure the one they use keeps their head and neck aligned right. In addition, add blackout blinds to the room so there’s no worry about them being woken up too early in the morning due to sunlight. You may also want to add double glazing to bedroom windows to block noise or replace windows if the current ones are old and don’t seal properly, thus letting in too many external sounds.
Upgrading windows can also help with temperature control by not letting hot or cold air out or in, as depends on needs during different times of the year. Plus, it pays to install ceiling fans and HVAC so kids can have a bedroom to sleep in that’s pleasant year-round and doesn’t leave them too hot or cold and resting fitfully in turn.
Use of Screens Too Close to Bedtime
Using screens such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops and watching TV screens and the like too close to bedtime is another common factor that interferes with how much and how well children sleep. Just like adults, kids’ brains are affected by the blue light emitted by gadgets, a light that signals the body to wake up rather than slow down and switch off.
If kids spend too much time looking at a screen before bed, they’ll likely find it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep. It’s wise, then, to limit their use of devices near bedtime and switch to things like reading physical books, playing board or card games, or otherwise doing calming activities before they need to get ready for bed.
Lack of a Consistent Bedtime Routine
Another issue with sleep for kids is a lack of a consistent bedtime routine. We adults need to go to bed at similar times and get up at similar times each morning to get into beneficial sleeping routines, as do children. Although there may be the occasional night that’s out of your control due to sleepovers or special events, be strict whenever possible about sending your kids to their room and turning lights out by the same time night after night.
This way, they’ll get used to falling asleep around the same time and shouldn’t have so much trouble going off to dreamland. Plus, consistency like this also trains them not to try to negotiate so much about staying up later.
No Transition Time
To help children accept their bedtime, you can also establish a transition activity or two for them to do. All of us need to have some transition time from one activity to another, especially before bed. So, for example, you might get into a routine of turning off the TV or all computers two hours before your child’s bedtime and getting them into their PJs. Then, the family might read together for 30 or 60 minutes, do some stretching and deep breathing, talk about your days, get clothing and other items ready for the following day, and play some quiet games or complete other activities.
Focus on spending time in a way that becomes habitual and is calming and relaxing so your child’s mind eventually identifies the transition and readies itself automatically for sleep.
Other factors to consider that often interfere with kids’ sleep are:
- Anxieties or fears that make it hard for young ones to switch off
- Eating or drinking too late
- Unexpected caffeine exposure, such as via chocolate or cold teas
- Being riled up and excited before bed
Address as many of these factors as possible, so your child will find it much easier to get to and stay asleep, no matter their age or current patterns.