We all know that the foundation of good habits starts at a young age, so developing healthy sleep habits in children should be a priority for parents. Yet, high levels of energy and poor impulse control can turn this into a decidedly uphill task. Here are some tactics you can field to help make this less of a struggle:
Communicate the value of sleep
Does your child know how important sleep is, or are they forcing themselves to fall asleep just because you say so? Let your kid know that even reducing an hour of sleep per night can reduce their cognition and ability to be attentive. In other words, they won’t be able to enjoy the next day as much. Not only that, lacking sleep at a young age can also lead to diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular issues and obesity. It may also contribute to a higher risk of developing emotional and behavioural conditions such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
Have a routine
Having a simple night ritual can help condition your child's brain to feel sleepy and fall asleep at a certain time. Perhaps it can be a warm bath or listening to a relaxing bedtime story. Whatever it is, it’s implementation must be consistent for it to work.
Manage their stress levels
Like adults, children may also be unable to sleep due to stress. It may be an upcoming test that’s causing them a lot of worry, or anxiety about doing a show-and-tell in front of their whole class. To prevent these, have an open conversation with your child about the things that may be bothering them. Exercising and physical activity in general is another great way to balance out the weight in your child's mind.
Prevent sugar rushes
Consuming good proteins and healthy fats to regulate blood sugar is important. On top of limiting sugar and caffeine intake, have a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the day to keep blood sugar and cortisol levels in balance during the sleeping hours. This can help your child to relax and provide better sleep conditioning.
Venture into herbal remedies
Give natural supplements and herbal remedies a try if conventional methods fail you. You can choose to boil some caffeine-free tea to soothe your child's nerves and calm them down. Camomile, lemon balm, passionflower and lavender are just a few options to consider. Diffusing essential oils is another alternative that works great for adults as well.
As parents, you can consider using some of these tips as well if you have trouble catching forty winks yourself. Remember that being healthy allows you to care better for your kids. You don’t want to end up falling asleep on the job after all!