Whether your child is 6 months or 6 years, sleep can remain elusive, with your little one doing everything they can to avoid bedtime. If bedtime has become a battle of wills, then there are a few things you can do to try and help encourage your child to drift off.
Consistent Bed Time
We get it, life gets in the way and it’s often hard to stick to a strict bed time. But it really does have an impact on sleep. Creating a regular bed time will help your little one’s body clock get into a rhythm, meaning that they are ready for sleep as their bed time approaches. Generally, any time between 6.30 and 8.30 is the best, but to get a better understanding of how much sleep your child needs take a look at our recent blog post on What Time Your Child Should Go To Bed.
Create A Relaxing Bedroom
Our environment really does have a huge impact on how we feel, just think of the old adage “Tidy home, tidy mind”. And the same if most true for children and their sleeping environment. Trying to make sure their bedroom is a calming; serene place will help them feel relaxed and ready for sleep.
The room should be dark, but if needed a soft night light can be used to help them feel secure. Try to include enough storage space, so that all their toys and other bits and bobs can be put away before bedtime, reducing any distractions. And don’t forget the bed, this should be as comfortable and inviting as possible. Perhaps you can let your child get involved in picking the bedding, so that their bed becomes a place they are excited to go to.
It’s hard to sleep when we are too hot or too cold, leaving us to toss and turn uncomfortably throughout the night. The perfect sleep-inducing temperature is about 18.5 degrees, so try to keep your little one’s room as close to this as possible. You may need to change their duvet as the seasons change, to a higher or lower tog, and it’s a good idea to have a selection of pyjamas, both fleecy and thin cotton.
Whilst TV and smart screens are no doubt a huge part of modern day life, the blue light that is emitted from their screens can interfere with the production of the hormone melatonin. Melatonin is essential in creating the natural sleep and wake rhythm of our body clock, so any interruption to its production can have a negative effect on sleep. Try to avoid any screen time for at least an hour prior to bedtime. Instead, use this time to prepare your child for sleep; run them a bath, read them a story or simply talk to them about their day.
Some children find bedtime quite a daunting prospect, which is understandable. They’ve spent the day surrounded by noise, people and fun, and suddenly they are on their own, in the dark. Introducing a comforter can help them feel secure and less lonely. This comforter can be anything, from a huge cuddly teddy bear to a small scrap of blanket they had when they were first born, whatever makes them feel relaxed, calm and ready to drift off to sleep.