Sleep Remedies for Kids: What to Do When Your Child Can’t Sleep
So your little tot or scowling teen has been doing their best vampiric impersonations yet and staying wide awake at night. Of course, they love doing that in the middle of another frantic midnight googling of sleep remedies for kids.
The silver lining in this whole situation is that sleep problems are rather common among children, especially the younger ones. Actually, you’ll find that 50% of children will experience a sleep problem of one kind or another.
Whether your family has been battling insomnia, night terrors, or sleepwalking, you don’t have to figure out a solution all by yourself. Keep on reading for our full breakdown of the best steps to take to give your kids (and yourself) better quality sleep.
Sleep Remedies for Kids 101: Set a Bedtime Routine
Before we start delving into more nuanced ways you can better your children’s sleep hygiene, we can’t ignore the power of setting a simple bedtime routine.
Whether it’s for the kids or your own sleep, you’d be surprised at how energetic you feel in the morning, once you’ve set up a concrete bedtime routine.
Basically, start by having your kids go to bed at the same time each night, with no exceptions. If you have younger tots, this is a great time to implement the tried-and-true sleep plan that has been successful with many parents, spanning the entire globe.
It’s the bath, storytime, and bed combo. This will calm down your younger kids, and help them feel ready to sleep. As for the older children, you can always incorporate some quality chat-time about how their day went, followed by some alone-time where they can do what they want before you turn the lights out for the whole household.
Add Relaxation Time Before Bed
If you don’t already have a relaxation activity before bedtime, now is the time to add one to your routine.
This can be storytime, playing calming music, or even some mindful meditation before getting into bed. If you’re noticing that your child is still a bit excited before going to bed, then you’ll want to increase their wind-down routine for longer than 30 minutes.
This isn’t necessarily a sign that your child has a sleeping disorder. Simply put, we all have different wind-down needs and some of us need more time to actually transition into the sleeping phase, nothing more.
Set Regular Wake Times
After following a solid bedtime routine, it’s time to tackle your sleeping pattern issues from the other end of the spectrum.
Regardless of what day of the week it is, you’ll want to train your children (and yourself) to wake around the same time every single day.
It’s not an easy pattern to establish at first. But, once you stick to your plan, you’ll find that both your child’s and your body clock is following a regular and healthy pattern.
Keep Midday Naps Short
Generally speaking, most children try their best to avoid nap time until the age of five. Following the regular schedule of American education, after that age, there will be minimal or no chances for naps at all.
But, if your kid happens to buck the trend and keep napping during the day, you’ll want to make sure that those naps aren’t longer than 20 minutes in length. Also, you’ll want to prevent any naps from happening later than the early afternoon.
The problem with later naps is that they sabotage your kid’s ability to sleep easily and deeply at night.
Boost Your Child’s Feelings of Safety at Night
Of course, this is more of an issue with the younger ones. But, don’t underestimate how hard it can be to go to sleep when you’re too busy being scared out of your wits.
The same rule applies to your kids. The less exposed to bedtime anxiety, the better off they’ll be.
And, if your kid has been asking for a night light, give it to them. Reward them for being brave, and make sure that they’re not consuming any sort of scary content before bedtime.
Check the Noise and Light Levels
The blue light coming in from our screens, tablets, and television all work in tandem to suppress your children’s melatonin levels. As a result, their bodies don’t make them feel appropriately sleepy when it’s actually time for bed.
You’ll want to keep any screens out of your children’s room at least an hour before bedtime. Also, you’ll want to dim the lights, and it’s better to have those lights be warm in tone rather than cool.
The same thing applies if your kid has a nightlight. You’ll want to pick something that immits soft and warm light, nothing too bright.
Moreover, you might want to invest in some melatonin drops for kids. Those will ease the sleeping process as well.
Increase Exposure to Natural Light In the Day
Similar to the previous tip, you’ll want to actually increase your kids’ exposure to natural light during the daylight hours.
Not only is it great for their body’s ability to create vitamin D, but it’s also critical for melatonin suppression. Basically, it willhelo them feel wide awake in the mornings, and feel more sleepy around bedtime.
Eating Properly at the Right Time
This is about getting the right nutrition, specifically the evening meal at a reasonable time before bed.
If your kid is either hungry or too full before bedtime, they’ll be feeling uncomfortable and alert when they should be feeling tired instead.
Make sure that your children are getting their last meal of the day at least two hours before their bedtime.
You’re probably already aware that caffeine is the enemy of sleep.
However, caffeine doesn’t just exist in coffee. It’s also available in soda drinks, energy drinks, tea, and chocolate. So, you’ll want to avoid giving those items to your kids from the late afternoon onwards.
It’s always preferable to go caffeine-free from 2 pm on.
Ready to Shake Up Your Sleep Routine?
If the current one isn’t really working for your kids, then it’s definitely time for a change. Remember that your children dealing with sleep issues is a perfectly normal phenomenon. All you need to do is tweak your habits around the right sleep hygiene protocols, and you’ll be good to go.
Hopefully, our explainer of the best sleep remedies for kids, in terms of behavioral change, has given you some ideas to implement.
And, if you liked our article, make sure to check out our additional tips and tricks, all available to you in our health section.