We all know that getting a good night’s sleep is important , but poor sleep does more than just make kids tired the next day – it can affect their developing brains, trigger depression, attentional and learning problems, poor judgment and impulse control issues. Sleep is also primetime for growth hormones to be most effective in kids.
So, exactly what happens in the brain during sleep? Sleep helps the brain clean and refresh itself. Without sleep many of our body systems can fail to function properly. We know getting the kids off to bed can often be a parent’s worst nightmare. A kid determined not to go to bed will whine, cry, fight, bargain and beg. Try your favorite simple relaxing, calming techniques. Go into bedtime with a plan. Here are four simple tips for a healthy bedtime routine:
Parents should create a daily bedtime routine for their kids. It can be as simple as brushing teeth then reading a bedtime story. Routines should be followed every night. Parents can also try establishing some calming activities as part of the routine in order to make transitioning to bedtime much easier. Setting a routine takes time, so be patient and firm with your rules.
I recommend parents avoid overly stimulating activities before bed. Rough housing, listening to loud music, reading scary stories, and especially screen time on electronic devices are all disruptive to restful sleep. Electronic screens also disrupt our circadian rhythm, making it hard to fall asleep. Power down and listen to soft music, say bedtime prayers, or do a loving kindness meditation together instead.
Heavy food or lots of pre-bedtime drinks might have kids waking up in the middle of the night and can actually cause adults and children to have a restless night with multiple bathroom trips to disrupt those sweet dreams.
One of my daughter’s favorite bedtime rituals was when my husband would tell her fun stories about animals and friends going on a trip to her favorite places. We would always make it a fun experience and have them all get very sleepy in the story. Without fail, chloe would be sound asleep by the time we finished. Recently Daniel wrote a children’s bedtime book called Time For Bed Sleepyhead, to help parents achieve the same effect with their children. Something tells me your kids would also find it a soothing way to get to sleep.
Following these simple steps will help you and your family get the sleep that you need. Good sleep is crucial for children’s growth and development. Just think of how much happier you will all be when everyone wakes up refreshed. If you’d like to check out Time For Bed Sleepyhead, click here.
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