Lack of sleep may give rise to lot of other problems, including unacceptable behavior, poor concentration, and bad health. Moreover, parents whose children don't go to sleep on time don't have the chance to enjoy a few minutes to themselves in the evening. Therefore, it's important to establish proper bedtime routines for your children to make sure that both you and they get the right amount of rest.
According to Kristen Hedger Archbold, RN, PhD, an assistant professor of nursing at the University of Arizona, "In an ideal world, all children would be on a sleep schedule throughout the week, month, and year - to bed at the same time, rise at the same time, all year round."
Check out these following tips to help you establish a sleeping schedule for your kids so that they hit the bed on time without any fuss:
Follow the same sleeping schedule every night
Start the winding-up process an hour before you want your kids to hit the pillow, so bedtime doesn't start immediately. This is also a good opportunity for some quality time with your child. If possible, switch off your mobile phone, TV, and computer; your focus should be on being together.
Give them a warning
Some experts suggest that giving your child a 15 Minute warning before bedtime is effective and lets your kids know that it's time to start settling down for the night. After 10 minutes, start the bedtime schedule. You can also try setting a timer, as it will help the child understand the value of time. The key is to help your child's body develop a pattern so that they get used to going to bed at the same time every night.
Make a bedtime to-do list
Help your child decide what he/she would like to do before climbing into bed, such as brushing their teeth, changing into pajamas, or reading a bedtime story.
Set a bedtime that allows for enough sleep
If your child is expected to get up at around 6:30 to 7 a.m., that means that their bedtime should be 8 to 8:30 p.m. Stick to this routine every day.
Use the bed only for sleeping
While reading is a good habit, Kyle P. Johnson, MD, an associate professor of psychiatry and pediatrics, says "[Have your] kids read in a separate chair or bean bag, so that the bed is used only for sleeping." This will help your child associate their bed with sleep, and allow them to automatically doze off more easily at night.
Avoid foods that keep children awake
Certain foods, like caffeine, can wreak havoc on a child's sleep schedule. "It is best that children don't consume caffeine, if they do, however, it should not occur after lunchtime," suggests John Turner, MD, a sleep disorder specialist at Park Plaza Hospital in Houston.
Create a nice sleeping atmosphere
For a child to be able to sleep soundly on a regular basis, they will need a relaxing environment. According to Aneesa M. Das, MD, a sleep expert, "Nightlights are okay, but otherwise, you should keep the room dark, cool, and quiet." Some children respond well to white noise, such as from a fan or a white noise machine.
Allow your child to fall asleep on their own
Don't let your child rely on your presence. Promise your child that you will come back after a little while to check on them. This way, your child will know that you're watching over them, without having to have you there in the room.
Be sure to set clear rules
Let your child know what the rules are, and make sure that they follow them. The best way to get children to develop good sleeping habits is for parents to follow them too.