The importance of sleep for good health cannot be ignored. As human beings, we need to learn how to fall asleep and how to have a good night’s sleep so we wake up well rested and ready to tackle whatever comes our way throughout the day.
Sleep deprivation leads to many health and behavioural problems. Oftentimes children have difficulty knowing that they are tired or sleep deprived. It is up to the adults in their life to watch for the signs.
Use this checklist to see if your child is lacking enough good sleep:
- Hard time waking up
- Refusal to get out of bed
- Excessive yawning
- Falling asleep in class or while watching TV
- Temper tantrums
- Blowing up easily
- Behaviour problems at school
- Academic decline
The good news is you can help. Here are the top three things you can do to help your child get a good night’s sleep:
1. Create a bedtime routine
Having a consistent bedtime routine helps a child ease into sleep. The routine can be a short one or a long one but the key is to keep it consistent. Children thrive on routine and establishing a bedtime routine is no less important.
Remember the point is to help the child wind down, so a good bedtime routine must not include TV, caffeine, computer, or loud activities.
2. Have a consistent wake-up time
The best way to regulate their sleep cycle is for your child to get up at the same time most days of the week. This way your child’s natural sleep rhythms will become synched with their established bedtime. In a surprisingly short period of time, the child will be tired when it is time for bed.
The child’s natural sleep cycle, appropriate for their age and developmental stage, will take over, and both waking up and getting to sleep will be easier.
3. Teach your child how to fall asleep
Although you may find this hard to believe, it is true that children must be taught how to get to sleep. Relaxation is the key to falling asleep. A relaxed body and mind will fall easily into a deep restful sleep.
Study some of the many relaxation techniques that are you there, and then share what you’ve learned with your child. The two of you can learn together, and you will both benefit from better sleep.
Ryder the Raccoon can help your child get a good night’s sleep
Family TLC has partnered up with Cathy Ness of Therametta Yoga to create a wonderful bedtime story about Ryder the Raccoon, who hates going to bed. With the help of Midnight, a snowy white owl, and the light from a star, Ryder learns how to breathe and relax his body. He also learns how to send any thoughts that are keeping him awake beyond the moon. Your child will love this CD and will learn healthy sleeping habits that will last a lifetime.