Sleep is one of the most talked about topics in parenting circles. It is always on our minds. We commiserate with parents of a newborn who are functioning on a lack of sleep. We share tips with other parents for saying “good night” to our young child one last time.
You are simply not at your best without a good night’s sleep. This is also true for young children. Sleep is essential to a young child’s physical and mental health. Consider the difference in your child’s behavior when they are sleep-deprived versus well-rested. The American Academy of Pediatrics estimates that up to 50 percent of children have sleep problems. Most children (and adults) need more sleep than they are getting.
Learn more about sleep and health from the National Sleep Foundation.
Tips for Better Sleep
A bedtime routine is important to establish a good night’s sleep. This routine is a signal to your child that the day is winding down. It may include a warm bath, a quiet activity, soft music and a bedtime story. Good sleep habits take time. Here are several tips to help your child sleep well.
- Maintain a regular bedtime.
- Avoid naps late in the afternoon.
- Make the bedroom quiet or use a white noise machine.
- Use darkening curtains. This is especially helpful during the summer.
- Maintain a cool temperature for bedtime (65 to 70F).
- A nightlight can help some children.
- Share a healthy bedtime snack.
- Offer a choice of which pajamas to wear or which book to read before bed.
- Encourage self-soothing or a security item like a special blanket or toy.
- Consider a relaxation or calming activity such as yoga or stretching as part of your bedtime routine.