Sleep Hygiene for children
To put child to sleep might be a big task for some of the parents. Young kids and children always are interested in playful activities and making them sleep on time might be difficult for many parents. Children have different sleeping time in different phases of life. The total duration of sleep decreases as child grows older.
Following are the things which you can do so that your baby sleeps well. And it will also prevent development of sleep disorders later.
- Set bedtime and bedtime routine for your children. It will help adjust their body clock and they will be better prepared mentally and prevent development of sleep disorders.
- Bedtime and wake up time should be same on school and non school nights. Change in schedule is very common over weekends as children are allowed late nights by many parents. It is always better to follow a fixed pattern. Body adapts well to it.
- Hour before bed time should be quiet time. An hour prior to sleep should be winding up time and preparing to sleep in quiet and comfortable environment. Best time to sit back and discuss with your children regarding day’s activity or best is story telling time.
- Do not send your child hungry to bed. If child is empty stomach it will hamper proper sleep. So a light meal before sleep is best in order to avoid child waking up at middle of night.
- Avoid products with caffeine for few hours prior to sleep. It can delay the sleep. Avoid too much of liquid intake few hours prior to sleep. It can increase the urge to pass urine during night and disturb the sleep. It is more important in children with bed wetting issues.
- Outdoor Physical activity daily. Regular physical exercise is not only important for growth and development of child but also for to induce proper sleep.
- Bedtime quiet and dark. Bright light or loud music and disturb initiation of sleep. It is best to have night lamp or dim light in case your child is afraid of dark.
- Comfortable temperature. Ambient temperature is needed for good sound sleep. But if the temperature is too cold or too hot it will interfere with proper sleep.
- Bedroom only for sleeping, not for time out or punishment. Bedroom should be meant for sleeping only and all the other playful activities should be done in other room.
- No TV in bedroom. TV / laptop/ computers are absolute no for bedroom. It distracts children a lot and prevents them to go to sleep.
Just to summaries about all the steps in one photo, read the below info-graphic.
If we do not follow proper sleep hygiene steps for children, it can increase the chances of Sleep disorders like sleep terror, insomnia, parasomnia etc. Various sleep disorder we will discuss later in other article.
Dr Rahul Varma
“Healthy kids, Happy Family”