Some moms are just lucky: their children can drop off to sleep on any spot. However, most kids need time to close their eyes together and keep their parents awake, too. Today we will find out how to help kid fall asleep, and what shouldn’t be done before bedtime.
The golden rules of perfect sleep
Lack of rest is a vicious circle: the less a kid sleeps, the harder it gets to calm down and fall asleep. The more fatigue accumulates, the longer it takes to fight overexcitement. If you notice your child doesn’t have any certain sleeping pattern, don’t kick back – it can affect health and the nervous system.
Falling asleep is a skill that can be taught
Both parents and kids need to have enough sleep – it’s essential. The ability to fall asleep on one’s own isn’t an inborn quality – it is a habit should be developed. “They’ll fall asleep right off the bat when they get tired” is not a way to go. An overexcited kid can be struggling to fall asleep for long, which will only irritate family members. When overexcitement isn’t collected, sleep onset comes more naturally.
Don’t let your kid shout to his heart’s content to fall asleep – this method is doomed from the start
Before we plunge forward, pay utmost attention to the recommendations for healthy sleep:
- Keep in mind how many hours of sleep your kid needs. Oversleep can take its toll, so don’t force your kid to sleep when he’s full of energy. Figure out your kid’s individual needs.
- Create an ideal sleep environment. Make sure that the temperature in kid’s room is neither too cold nor too hot. Provide optimal ventilation and make the bed clothing comfy as heaven.
- Stick to the schedule. Go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day. Following a certain schedule is easier when a kid attends school, but these time frames shouldn’t be ignored on weekends, too.
How to Help Kid Fall Asleep?
Are you sure you’ve tried all means in your repertoire? These are surefire ways to help kid fall asleep and enjoy the dreams.
Introduce a Ritual
It can be:
Toddlers can tell their parents what they want to see in dreams, discuss their wishes and fears. Whatever ritual you choose, it should be performed in bed to set up the right mood and atmosphere.
Follow the Same Daily Routine
Shower and bath, changing clothes, brushing teeth – these are bedtime rituals, too. Repeat the same actions over and over again, and the brain will get the signal to get rest. Find what works for your kid and stick to the evening activities.
Darkness Is Your Friend
Getting used to a nightlight isn’t a good idea. Sleep expert Alanna McGinn says that use of nightlights is justified when kids start developing night fears. Otherwise, it disturbs sleep. Switch off the lights to help kid fall asleep, stay for a couple of minutes, and your little one will drift away in a jiffy.
Darkness triggers production of melatonin – a natural sleep hormone
Mind the Diet
I’m pretty sure you don’t give your small kids coffee. However, caffeine is also contained in:
- ice cream;
- green tea;
- soft drinks.
Avoid giving your child big meals before nighttime – the stomach should be almost empty when we go to bed. Please, note that second-hand smoking and some medications can also cause sleeplessness.
Off With Gadgets!
Even if you can’t fall asleep without the white noise, such as fan humming, monotonous songs and TV programs, your kids shouldn’t be exposed to gadgets for at least 2 hours before sleep. Why? Small ones are susceptible to overexcitement, and staying in front of a bright screen prior to bedtime will only annoy the nervous system. Offer to listen to calm music instead.
Forget About Counting Sheep!
Although this practice is widely spread around the world, studies show that counting sheep does not help! It’s useful for people with insomnia only. Instead of wasting your time on this technique, focus in the right breathing, or read a bedtime story.
Make a Bath
For my daughter, this is a magic bullet to make her drop dead in the bed. Bubbly bath with tickseed or essential oils will soothe and calm down. Make it 30-60 minutes before nighttime to help kid fall asleep.
Be The One
Do not let other people stay in kid’s room while you’re performing your nighttime rituals. The rest of the family members will only distract you both. If you help kid fall asleep by simply staying in bed together, break this habit, too. Reduce this time minute by minute – the child should learn to fall asleep alone.
Keep Tabs On Kid’s Emotional State
If your kid has learned to fall asleep alone and suddenly started getting back to your room, you should check his emotional state. Probably, there’s something disturbing – too many impressions, fears and things that cause worrying. Make sure that your little one is relaxed in the bed, and spare time to assure your kid that you’re always nearby and will come whenever he calls you.
When All Else Fails – Breathe
There’s one simple trick that can work. I found it here. Hug your kid, relax, and start breathing deeply and soundly. When your child hears you breathing deeply, they start repeating. It’s contagious like yawning! Pretty soon, your sweet pea will enjoy dreams.
What Will NOT Help Kid Fall Asleep?
These practices should be avoided:
- White noise from TV and radio.
- Counting sheep, monkeys, or whoever comes to your mind.
- Rocking (it’s supposed to be used for newborn babies only).
- Waiting till the kid runs out of power and switches off.
- Sleeping together the entire night.
Parents can help kids fall asleep without spending hours in bed reading books and singing lullabies. There are many other useful techniques and tricks. Establishment of the new habit can take 2-4 weeks, or even more. However, it’s absolutely worth it: every parent dreams of sleeping soundly while the kid is also resting in the arms of Morpheus.
How do you manage your bedtime to improve the quality of sleep? Share your ideas in the comments!