5 Tips to Establish Positive Bedtime Routines

It is widely recognized that sleep is very important for the well-being and health of children.

Most of the time, the lack of sleep is associated with various adverse health outcomes such as depression, obesity, and impaired academic performance and poor concentration at school. The most common sleeping challenges include the fight for bedtime and bedtime rejection (verbal protests, crying, seeking attention).

Many parents know the importance of adequate sleeping for children but they are not sure what the appropriate amount of time for their own children.  Although most studies also indicate that sleep is important, there is no clear evidence indicating exactly how much time each child needs.

However most of the specialists agree on the following:

Age                            Recommended                           May be appropriate

3-5 years                   10 to 13 hours                             8 to 9 hours

6-13 years                 9 to 11 hours                             7 to 8 hours



Here are five tips that will help you to maintain healthy sleeping habits for your child by establishing positive bedtime routines:

 

1. Establish a relaxing bedtime routine. Before going to sleep, start having a few quiet moments that allow your child to rest. Try to include in your routine some relaxing activities, such as, a bath or reading a story.

 

2. Limit television, video games and other electronics to your child before bedtime. Maintain a peaceful environment in your child's bedroom. Television, electronic gadgets and other distractions should be removed from your child's bedroom. Children should sleep in the same room every night, in a cool, dark and quiet place.

  

3. Avoid heavy meals a few hours before going to sleep.  Often, eating at night makes your child uncomfortable and unable to fall asleep easily, and in turn she/he  wakes up more often during the night.

 

4. Avoid drinks that contain caffeine. Sodas and other drinks that include caffeine should be limited in the evening, at least six hours before bedtime, since caffeine can affect the sleeping patterns of children.

 

5. Be a role model for your child. Set your own bedtime routines and be a good example for your child, maintaining a healthy environment at home.

 

The most important routine for bedtime, is not what you do but how you do it. Each family can establish a set of different routines, but if you keep doing the same things every night, bedtime becomes a fun and relaxed tradition that most children will look forward to every single night.

 

By Iuliana Papuc 

 

Source: American Academy of Sleep Medicine Report; http://www.journalsleep.org/