If there’s one thing I’ve always been militant about as a parent it’s been my daughter’s sleep. Sleep is so vital to our children and the benefit of sleep in children is far reaching for them – impacting upon their behaviour, mood, mental and physical development, health and wellbeing, and their overall ability to function as little people.
So today I’m sharing my top tips for establishing healthy sleep habits in children, as practiced religiously in our household:
Don’t give up on these too early. Your child might think they are ready to give up naps at two years old, but the reality is they can benefit from naps beyond this. According to Baby Center whilst a quarter of children stop napping altogether by the age of 3, half drop their naps between ages of 3 and 4, with the final quarter continuing to nap until they’re 5 or 6. Every child is different and if you have an especially busy child – as I did – they might really need to keep the naps for longer than you had expected (hurrah!). More on top reasons to keep the afternoon nap here.
Have a consistent bedtime routine – and stick to it!
It’s so important that children wind down accordingly just before bed to signal to them that bedtime is approaching. Keep to a calm bedtime at roughly the same time every night which will help your child’s internal clock and stop them from being overtired (when they can want to stay up for hours). Having used the old bath, book, bed routine since my daughter was a baby until school age I can vouch personally that this works a treat.
Don’t let the over-tired monster in
When children get over-tired…oh my word – it’s game over! Children can really struggle when they are over-tired because it can often lead them to become hyperactive which can make it really tough for them to wind down and want to go to bed. If you’re struggling with a defiant child who doesn’t want to go to bed, it could be that they are just over-tired but not wanting to fess up to it! Don’t be afraid to try moving their bed time earlier. You might be pleasantly surprised.
Know your hours
Know the recommended sleep amounts for your child’s age and try to orchestrate things so they get it. Often children need more sleep than we think! Here’s a really handy breakdown on children’s sleep needs from birth right up until 16 years.
So there you have it, my top tips on establishing healthy sleep habits in children. What is your approach to sleep in your household? Does the above resonate with you? Or perhaps you struggle with sleep in your house? Do leave a comment and share.