If you're anything like me you have gotten a little relaxed on the bedtime schedule during the holidays. For my family and I the holiday time is when we take a moment to reflect, reconnect, but also relax on the structure. Many of us are so busy with our day to day lives and we need to create time for our minds slow down, explore and absorb positivity. There were many nights that we stayed up until 2 o'clock in the morning watching movies like "Black Adam- Must see!" which is something we would never do when school is in session. The kids absolutely love it but I have to admit we enjoy it as well. Now that it's the mid week of January it's time for our babies to return to their normal schedule. Whether you're a parent like me just trying to transition back into the routine after the holiday break or you're a new parent who's unsure how much rest your precious child needs I hope you'll find this information useful.
There's no magic pill but through trial and error I've found out that it depends on the age of a child, their behavioural patterns, but most children could do with a little more sleep. Let's be honest we could benefit from the structure too!
Here are a few tips to make lights out a little easier.
How Much Sleep Should My Child Get?
If you have a baby, expect them to sleep a lot. Newborns will sleep a total of 16 to 17 hours each day though older babies and toddlers will sleep between 12 and 15 hours. For children of preschool age, 11 to 12 hours is ideal. Children from ages 7 to 12 will need 10 to 12 hours while teens can do with 8 to 10 hours of sleep.
The best way to ensure your child gets enough sleep each night is to build good sleep habits as soon as possible. Here are 5 tips and tricks that will help them get more sleep.
1. Start with a bedtime routine
Young children thrive on routine. If you don’t yet have a bedtime routine, make one. Even older children can have a routine to follow, though if you set one when they’re young, they’ll automatically start their routine on their own.
Dim the lights and make the mood in your home more serene. Younger children should have a bath (lavender fragrance is ideal), put on pajamas, brush teeth, and have story time before bed which also gives you time to bond together.
2. Make sure their room is ideal for sleep
Your child’s bedroom should be conducive to sleep. At bedtime, their room should be dark, cool, and quiet. Babies and toddlers may do well with white noise to help block out other sounds in the house or outside. Bedding should be appropriate too, allowing for maximum comfort for a good night’s rest.
3. Power off electronics 1 hour before bedtime
Older children won’t be happy to hear this, but those electronics shouldn’t be turned on in their rooms an hour before it’s time to go to sleep. They put out blue light which serves to stimulate the brain. Have you ever noticed that your child is extremely fussy after sitting infant of the Television or tablet for too long. Have your kids turn them off an hour before they go to sleep and encourage them to pick up a book instead. Our 9 year old daughter is now old enough to read books on her own overnight and it's become very soothing to her.
4. Keep them active each day
Just as children need plenty of sleep, they also need plenty of activity. During daylight hours, run them around in the yard or involve them in an activity they enjoy that keeps them moving. Sometimes our 4 year old has a challenging time falling to sleep before bed and I've learned that having the kids race in the driveway after school is a great way to prep him for bedtime. All the exercise will wear them out, making for great sleep.
5. Say ‘no’ to caffeine
Children really shouldn’t be having caffeine anyway, but especially not close to bedtime. If you do let your child have soda, keep them from drinking those 3 hours prior to bedtime. The sugar can wind them up while the caffeine can disrupt their sleep cycle.
With these tips, your whole home can rest easy and wake feeling refreshed and ready for the day ahead!