Sleep – or rather lack of it – can be a major problem in a young family’s life.
As one of the most widely discussed subjects when talking about our children, sleep is a hot topic, with many different schools of thought. How can we really make sure our children are getting enough sleep – or even us for that matter?
One of the first things to establish is just how much sleep your child should be getting. The amount of sleep required will largely depend on the age of your child, activity levels and of course, as with anything to do with child rearing, individual needs must be taken into consideration. The truth is that there is no magical or exact number of hours of sleep that a child or adult needs, but there is no doubt that sleep is important for healthy growth and development.
Creating a relaxing evening environment to help your child wind down is a good first step to everyone getting a better night’s sleep. Start simple bedtime routines at an early age. Keep lively activities for the daytime and quieter activities like story time or puzzles for bedtime wind down. Make sure their room is cozy and inviting and somewhere that your child looks forward to resting in. Nightlights and music can help soothe a child who is scared of the dark.
It is important to consider your families sleeping habits, sleep deprivation can lead to many problems within your family, from bad tempers to decreased short-term memory. Children may show decreased attentiveness and academic performance may be inconsistent. Conditions such as ADHD can be aggravated, which again piles on the pressure.
We have put together some guidelines to follow, but it is important to remember that not every child will fall into these categories, and you know what is normal for your own family better than anyone. The amount of hours will probably be broken up into a longer night-time sleep and one or two day-time naps. If you have any concerns about your child’s sleep or need advice, you should contact your health care professional. Never under estimate the value of a good night’s sleep for everyone in your household.