Helping Your Child Have a Better Night's Sleep
Imagine if there was one simple thing that would help make any child healthier, happier and even smarter. It turns out, there is: a restful night's sleep.
Research shows that getting enough sleep (10–11 hours a night for school-age kids) helps children think more clearly, get better grades and avoid some health problems. While you can't force your child to drift off to dreamland, there are definitely steps you can take to help him get a better night's sleep:
Set the Stage: Make sure your child's room isn't too warm, is dark enough and that the bed is comfortable (are there toys or crumbs lurking under the sheets?). Monitor intake of liquids as bedtime nears, and make sure she makes a trip to the bathroom right before bed. A consistent bedtime with a predictable routine — even on vacations and weekend nights — will help your child make the connection between bedtime activities, like tooth-brushing and story time, and falling asleep.
Listen and Reassure: Whether she's scared of the dark or anxious about an upcoming test, your child may have a hard time falling asleep if she's worried.
Lend a listening ear, talk about her concerns and reassure her that everything is OK.
If she's too scared to sleep alone, try sitting with her in her room until she falls asleep. She'll start to realize that her bedroom is safe and sleep is a happy place.
Choose Media Carefully: Did you know that children with television sets in their bedrooms get less sleep than kids who don't? Still, all parents need a break from reading bedtime stories now and then. You can add variety to your bedtime story lineup with audio stories.
Find Solutions: If your child has an especially hard time falling asleep, you may need to work with him to find ways to make him feel more comfortable and secure at night. Try to pinpoint the problem. Is he scared of the dark? Maybe a night-light would help. Is he spooked by shadows outside his window at night? Perhaps he'd rather sleep with his bed facing a different direction. If he's worried about nighttime accidents, try using GoodNites® Bedtime Pants or GoodNites* TRU-FIT* Underwear made with a softer, quieter material (and graphics he'll love) that will make him more comfortable and less anxious. If your child comes up with an idea to make himself feel more comfortable, give it a try! Even if it sounds silly, it may give him the confidence he needs to fall asleep ... and stay that way through the night.