Kids can be enormous bundles of energy. But like all people, they still need to recharge their batteries. The appropriate hours of sleep for a child depends on their age, with younger children needing more sleep to help their bodies grow. For example, kids between the age of 3 to 6 years old need between 10 to even 12 hours of sleep. Not all this sleep is done at night, with parents heavily encouraged to put them down for afternoon nap times.
However, for the main event at night, it can be difficult to get your kids to settle down, especially if they are excited. One of the best ways to get your kids to sleep better and quickly is through an efficient bedtime routine. If you are struggling to get your kids enough hours of sleep, try these tips for an effective bedtime routine:
Limit the Sugar:
Unless you want to start rooting around your medicine cabinet for expired melatonin, you do not want to feed your children anything overly sugary after dinner. Not only can they become hyperactive from too many sweets, but the resulting sugar crash can also make their night’s sleep uncomfortable. This means you need to regulate the kind of dinner you give your children.
First, avoid sodas and sugary drinks and instead serve fruit juices or even just plain water if possible. If your kids still want to eat dessert, you may opt to give them only a small amount of something. Or you can choose to give them fresh fruit.
After they’ve eaten, it is now time for them to have a bath. Research has shown that taking a bath about 90 minutes before going to bed can be helpful in cooling down the body and getting you into a more restful state.
Remember to use bathing products that are appropriate for their age. For example, some facial foam brands are formulated to clean skin that experiences heavy exposure. Although this is great for adults who routinely spend time outdoors, it can be strong for children. Make sure to temper their bathwater as well, making it warmer if it’s chilly or a little cooler if the summer air is too hot.
Your kids may want to use the internet or some form of digital device to watch their favorite cartoons or play some games. After dinner, it may help them wind down to have about a half hour to an hour of screen time. This can mean playing with a smartphone or some time in front of the television screen. Just make sure to supervise the content that they are viewing.
Read to Them:
Reading to children at bedtime has been a custom with children for centuries and it is a great way to bond with them. You can also expect them to develop vivid imaginations and enjoy reading, a useful hobby to instill early on. Let your kids select their own reading material from a selection of books and be sure to ask them frequently if they have any questions.
Kids take time to comprehend what’s happening and you may need to read something slowly or repeatedly. Picture books will be a sure hit with kids since they allow children to visualize what they’re reading with you.
Careful with the Light:
A final consideration that many parents have to face is whether to use a nightlight. These devices are used to comfort children with illumination when they are still afraid of the dark. However, some parents may feel that a nightlight only keeps kids awake due to the illumination. You can avoid this by buying a nightlight with adjustable brightness and placing them close to the floor rather than high up, where the glare can wake your kids. Finally, you may wish to employ some strategies to slowly wean your kids away from using them.
A successful bedtime routine can help your kids settle down at night and get the rest they need. Fine tune these tips to accommodate your their needs and you can look forward to restful evenings and healthy children.