Children who sleep well function better at school as they are more responsive to new ideas and information. Uninterrupted sleep will also boost your child’s immune system, meaning fewer sick days off from school.
As sleep is an important part of your child’s growth and development, try to encourage good sleeping habits from a young age. These include a regular bedtime, even over weekends, and a set routine. Babies and younger children will benefit from a wind-down period before they go to sleep, while older children can use the time to read or listen to stories.
Read more tips on getting your child to sleep like a baby.
One way of ensuring that your children get enough rest is by creating an environment that is conducive to sleep.
- The bedroom should be dark when they are sleeping, so turn off the lights. If children need some light to sleep, get a night-light and place it where it won’t create scary shadows. If the sun rises early or sets late, try using blackout curtains.
- TVs and computers are a distraction and shouldn’t be in the bedroom. If possible, move the computer to a study area. If it has to stay in the room, try placing the computer out of sight of the bed, so children aren’t thinking about homework, or playing games, when trying to sleep. You can also try dividing the room into separate work, play and sleep areas.
- Make sure cellphones are turned off and put away for the night.
- Keep the bedroom quiet by limiting the amount of noise nearby.
- The temperature in the bedroom should be relatively cool. Babies and toddlers can’t easily regulate their body temperature, so they may need a slightly warmer room.
- Fresh air also helps. You may want to use an air purifier or a dehumidifier if these will make the room more comfortable.
- Choose a good mattress that is comfortable for your child. Change the linen regularly and ensure the bed gets made every day.
- An uncluttered bedroom can improve sleep, so have a place for toys, clothes and books and make sure everything is put away before bedtime.
- Use calming scents, such as lavender, in the room. Soothing music, or a white noise machine, may also help.
- When deciding on a colour scheme, opt for cool colours, such as blue, purple or green, as these will help children calm down for bedtime.