*collaborative guest post
One of the most important factors in having a happy and healthy baby, toddler or child is to make sure they get a good night’s sleep. Sleep is essential in the development of our children’s brains and bodies, but it can be a tricky thing to get right. Many little ones have difficulty falling asleep, and even when they do, they can wake up multiple times in the night.
Not only do sleep troubles lead to an exhausted child come morning, but often an exhausted parent too! Here are a few helpful tips to encourage a good night’s sleep for the whole family.
Have a regular bedtime routine
Being consistent in your child’s bedtime routine is key in helping them get a good night’s sleep. Do the same thing every night before bed and those small activities will signal to your child that it’s almost time to go to sleep. Knowing what’s coming next is comforting to children, and their body will slowly start winding down for bed and getting sleepy.
A familiar routine for most families is a warm bath, pyjamas, story time and then being tucked in. Even the youngest babies can benefit from consistency and routine, so start by singing them the same lullaby every night or feeding them in a semi-lit room with calm music playing.
Turn off the TV
This can be a hard one to break, but studies have shown that light from a television screen, computer, or phone can interfere with children’s production of the hormone melatonin. This hormone helps us to feel sleepy in the evenings, making us fall asleep quicker.
Kid’s TV shows can often have a stimulating effect, with lights, colours and sounds that stay with them as they get into bed. Try turning the TV off two hours before bedtime and see if it makes any difference to your child’s ability to wind down and relax.
Read before bed
Even though TV watching can hinder our sleeping patterns, reading a book before bed can actually be beneficial for both adults and children. Reading tunes into children’s imaginations and helps them escape into the world of the story. Not only does it form a part of a great routine in the evening, but it’s also relaxing and can help kids unwind.
If you’re searching for a new book series to check out, the Harry Potter series is always a hit and you can get the satisfaction of seeing your kids read a book you grew up loving. Plus there’s the added bonus of fun family trips out when they’ve finished the series, like the Harry Potter Studio Tour. Kids can explore Warner Bros Studio Tours in London, and you can see the excitement in their eyes as their bedtime story comes to life.
Introduce a reassuring stuffed toy
Children love to have something to cuddle with in bed, and if your child has issues falling asleep or being scared of the dark a stuffed animal, doll or lovey could help. A lovey is a fairly new term, meaning any item your child might become attached to that will give them some comfort. It usually references a small blanket with a stuffed animal for a head.
If your child is very young, it’s wise to use the same stuffed animal or lovey every night so they get attached to that item. Remember however that babies under the age of six months shouldn’t have anything in the cot with them.
Do you have any tried and tested methods for helping your kids get a good night’s sleep? Let me know in the comments.