Jim had a hard time concentrating in class. His little head would wobble up and down trying to keep his eyes open. At times, he would also nod off at the dinner table. And, at other times he would lie wide awake in bed in the middle of the night.
Have you noticed this pattern with your children as well? One of the reasons could be improper sleep schedules. Some days children may go to bed earlier since they are tired and on other days there maybe guests at home or their favorite show on TV and they may stay up late. It is important for kids to get enough sleep each night. A good night’s sleep is essential for growth and development in children. Proper rest enhances their ability to learn and concentrate in school and also impacts their mood and behavior. Incomplete sleep also negatively affects children’s appetite and eating habits.
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One of the easiest ways to help your child sleep well is by creating a bedtime routine. Bedtime routines should be a consistent and repetitive set of activities carried out before bed every single night. A consistent routine helps children understand that it is time for bed by developing their internal clock. Children get a sense of security and learn to fall asleep on their own when a predictable routine is followed.
Setting a bedtime routine from a young age makes it easier to keep up healthy habits as your child grows older. Not only do children sleep better with a set routine, it also enhances attention, and other cognitive skills in them. Children also tend to perform better academically.
Here are some ideas you can try while setting a bedtime routine for your child:
Do not rush them
Do not rush children to adapt to a new routine and try not to introduce too many changes at a time. You must also consider delaying these if there are other changes going on, such as moving to a new house, starting school or hosting guests at home.
Declutter the room
Putting away books, toys and organizing other things in the room is a good practice. This helps in making the room calmer and peaceful. Also, you can help your child pack her schoolbag for the next day. Keep the clothes or uniform ready for school. Make sure the project that is due is completed and kept in sight to avoid forgetting it at home the next day. Overall, decluttering and organizing your things helps clear the mind and leaves fewer variables open.
Establish a ritual
A fixed set of nighttime rituals can help children fall asleep faster. You can set basic activities like taking a warm bath, getting into pajamas, brushing their teeth, and reading or listening to a story. Following these activities will program the child’s brain overtime and get them in the mood for bed. Rituals like these also ensure proper & regular hygiene in children.
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Getting children to readjust can be frustrating initially. However, it is crucial to remain consistent and be patient. When trying to get kids to settle into a new sleeping schedule inconsistency will only confuse them. Avoid the urge to try new routines each day. It is essential to keep at it until you notice changes and, eventually, children settle into a smooth rhythm. Additionally, you maybe tempted to let children sleep in or stay up late on weekends. However, staying awake for more than an hour from the usual sleep-up time can cause trouble falling asleep on weekdays.
Developing good habits is easier said than done. For any good habit to develop; small, consistent steps with increasing difficulty are most effective. Just like ‘thinking’ is a habit developed by using your mind daily by attempting puzzles & challenges; other habits like a good bedtime routine also requires conscious and consistent effort. Remember that a good night’s sleep is critical for strong brain function & is directly linked to future success!
“Your future depends on your dreams, so go to sleep.”
― Mesut Barazany