Do you have difficulty with your children going to bed, going to sleep or staying in their own beds? Many sleep issues that children experience are caused by problems with how they behave, particularly their behaviour around bedtime.
Insufficient or disturbed sleep impacts your child’s physical and mental development, affecting their ability to concentrate and learn. Worse, if your children are poor sleepers’ chances are your sleep is regularly interrupted too. While it may take some initial hard work and consistency, the good news is that parents can help their children improve these behaviours and that means better sleep for everyone!
Introducing a bedtime routine is a great way to start. Repeatedly (and sometimes firmly) helping your child to stick to a routine allows children to prepare for bed. They learn the cues that help them unwind and prepare for sleep. Being a part of your child’s bedtime routine can be a wonderful way to relax and spend valuable time with them at the end of the day. You can even incorporate some fun ways to beat the bedtime battle into your routine.
It is natural for children to wake several times during the night. Often these periods are short, and children will self-settle. If your child is unable to return to sleep, they are likely to wake you looking for help. Teaching your child some simple skills for self-settling in their own bed, from an early age will mean everyone has a better night’s sleep.
Other causes of children waking at night include illness, being too hot or cold, hunger or a nightmare. These causes usually only cause short term sleep disturbances. If they are scared of the dark a night light or comfort toy may help. Like adults, some children will lie awake worrying and be unable to get back to sleep. Check in with your children regularly to make sure there are no underlying issues that are stopping them from sleeping and if you are concerned, seek help from a professional.