This can’t just be an issue for me, I know lots of parents must struggle with getting their kids to bed. Not only getting them to bed, but keeping them in bed for the duration of the night. Did you know that according to the Canadian Sleep Society 40 percent of young children are sleep deprived. I don’t know about you, that is very surprising to me, especially because sleep deprivation has so many bad side effects on our children. Some of those being the child’s growth, development, learning and behaviour.
Do you ever wonder how much sleep your child needs? Children aged 1-3 need 12 to 14 hours of sleep per night. Children aged 3-5 need 11-13 hours of sleep and children aged 5-12 need 10-11 hours of sleep a night. The numbers are also a lot higher than what I thought, my kids get maybe 10 hours a night. So what can you do for your child to help them get to sleep and stay asleep? Here’s a few things that I’ve learned over the years of raising 4 kids. My 11-year-old son has always had sleep issues so I know first hand, how frustrating it can be.
NO Stimulation: This is one of the biggest things you can do for your child. Screen time is associated with insufficient and poor quality sleep. I have noticed an enormous difference in my children when I remove any and all electronics, including TV one hour before bed time. When our children watch something full of action, or play an exciting video game, even an exciting phone call. It causes their brains to engage and release adrenaline. Once adrenaline is released it is harder for our children to fall asleep. Also having the light from a screen in front of their face, actually tricks our body into thinking it’s daytime and creates alertness. It keeps the child stimulated and suppresses the release of melatonin which is released by the body to help fall asleep and stay asleep.
Bedtime Routine: If you create a bedtime routine for your kids, then they never have the surprise of you saying “It’s bedtime”. A simple routine can be getting a healthy snack, having a nice calming bath, putting on pj’s, brushing teeth and reading a bedtime story. I tell my kids 1 hour before bed that it’s time to get ready for bed. They do everything themselves (older ones) with Sophia (7) I will lay in bed and read with her until it’s time for lights out. With August (2 months) I have a nice warm bath with him, I use Honest Lavender, calming bubble bath. I play classical music and dim the lights to a calming blue colour. It’s quiet and relaxing, I then get him out, put Honest Lavender lotion on him and get him in some pj’s. Then I feed him, he is usually asleep within 20 minutes and he sleeps for roughly 6 hours before he needs to be fed again.
Calming Environment: I try to create a very calming and peaceful environment. All of the kids have an Amazon Echo in their room, they play classical music throughout the night. Aside from Sophia she plays our special song and then switches it to kids music to fall asleep. All of the kids also have an essential oil diffuser in their bedroom. When Sophia heads to bed, I always have her music on, her essential oils going and her night-light on. Then I make sure she has her special stuffy and I kiss both of her hands and tuck her in. The biggest thing to remember is to keep lights low and voices calm.
Reward System: If your child really has a hard time staying in bed and wakes up multiple times through the night. You can try a rewards chart, the internet has tons of free charts that can be printed out. Every time your child goes to bed on time and stays in bed through the night, they get a sticker on their chart. Once they have received 7 stickers, they get rewarded with either a toy or a treat. Something that will want to keep them motivated to keep doing it.
For the bedtime essential oils, any of these 8 can be used to help promote calming and sleep. Lavender (my favorite), Vetiver, Roman Chamomile, Ylang Ylang, Bergamot, Sandalweed, Marjoram and Cedarwood.
Sleep, mom’s suffer when our little one’s don’t sleep well. Whether its waking with them during the night or dealing with behaviour’s from a cranky, tired child the next day. I hope some of these suggestions help, feel free to comment on what you do to get your little ones to bed for the night.