Does your kid wake up and cry repeatedly at night? Does your older child refuse to go to bed on time? Do you feel tired and frustrated because of the endless sleep problems of your kids? Many parents with small kids complain that they never get to sleep for even six hours a night. Poor sleeping affects both you and your child. So if you are facing these problems you should try to work out ways to solve your kids’ sleep problems. Here are some ways to fight a kid’s sleep problems and ensure that everyone in your family gets sufficient rest.
If you do not have a fixed bed time routine for your kid then initiate a nightly routine like brushing teeth, give her/him a bath, changing her/his clothes, or reading a story. This signals that it is time for bed. Follow the nightly ritual at almost the same time every night. Make sure that whatever you do both you and he enjoy and he feels relaxed - this will make him feel sleepy and ready for bed.
Make the night time environment conducive to sleep like make his room quiet and comfortable without distractions (such as TV or computer), do not let him watch TV or play for some time before bedtime - children love these activities so naturally he will not like to go to bed. Put him to bed and read a story or play soft music if your child likes it. Switch on dim lights in his room.
Avoid sources of caffeine in your child's diet like chocolate, coffee containing desserts, or sodas. According to experts, children who have one caffeinated beverage daily consequently lose on sleep.
Consult your paediatrician regarding your child's medications (including cold and flu medicines). Make sure that it does not contain any substance that can cause alertness.
Children are bundle of energy and can go on and on even when they are really tired. They stimulate themselves to avoid sleeping. Keep them busy during the day like take your child to park to play, play at home with them – this way they have fun and spend the energy that prevents them from sleeping at night. And most importantly limit their TV and computer time.
Put your kid to bed when he is drowsy but still not asleep, kiss him goodnight and switch off the light. This way he learns to sleep by himself and even when he wakes up in the middle of the night he can soothe himself back to sleep. Give your child a special blanket or toy for bed which s/he can hold and sleep.
Does child resist sleeping because he afraid of dark or afraid to sleep in his room. Reassure him that he is safe, talk to him about his fears and reassure that you are in the next room and will be with him when needed. In addition make his room conducive for good night sleep like (have a night lamp if your child is scared of dark), play music if your child likes it.
If you have been teaching your child to sleep well and still he remains a poor sleeper, try to identify if he has sleep problems. Some common sleep problems in children include multiple night time awakenings, snoring, troubled breathing, nightmares and night terrors. All these can cause poor night time sleep and unhealthy daytime behaviour (such as being overtired, sleepy, or irritable).
Most parents learn ways to put their child to bed so that everyone sleeps well at night. If you have persistent sleep related problems with your kid, consult your paediatrician. Your doctor can guide you further regarding your kid’s sleep problems.
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