Did you know that children need at least 7-10 hours of sleep every night to support their growth and development? Unfortunately, getting kids to fall and stay asleep is a challenge that most parents face. By the time you get them in their pajamas, chase them around the house, and somehow tuck them in, hours have past leaving everyone exhausted. The next thing you know, the sun rises, and you’re back to the hustle and bustle.
This pattern may sound familiar, but it is not a healthy one to continue. From moodiness and limited cognitive function to mental health problems and increased illness, the consequences of sleep deprivation are harmful to your family. While one or two nights of chaos on occasion might not be anything to worry about, if your children aren’t getting enough rest, it could be a result of the causes listed below.
If you’re used to sleeping in the same room or bed with your children, they become accustomed to you as a sleep aid. Therefore, when you try to get them to sleep in their rooms, it takes a bit more effort to rest. Separation anxiety is prevalent in younger children. Wanting nothing more than to get in bed with mom and dad, they toss, turn, and cry until it grabs someone’s attention.
If your little one suffers from separation anxiety, there are a few options to consider. You could purchase YNM weighted blankets for each of them. The added weight and comfort can help to soothe their anxiety, allowing them to get more sleep. You might also try giving them an alternative sleep aide like a stuffed animal, a photo of the family, or a white noise machine.
No Set Bedtime or Routine
Another reason your kids may not be going to sleep as they should is that they don’t have a designated bedtime or routine. A regular bedtime allows your child’s body to adjust to a pattern for improved sleep while a routine provides structure and winds them down before turning in for the night.
Based on your children’s ages and your lifestyle, decide on a reasonable bedtime. Then, develop a routine that includes getting cleaned up, putting on pajamas, and doing something calming just before bed.
Eating Too Late
Your body needs time to digest the foods you eat throughout the day. If your kids are eating just before they go to bed, this could be causing digestive problems that keep them awake. Going to sleep when you’re feeling bloated or gassy is especially challenging, make sure they eat at least 2 hours before bedtime. If your kids tend to ask for snacks in the middle of the night, you may want to wean them off of this concept. In the meantime, you should offer them things without any sugar or caffeine, which keeps them awake.
Does it seem as if your kids are wired just when you’re ready to put them to bed? If so, they may have a hard time getting and staying asleep because they’re overstimulated. This extra energy could come from watching television, playing around with siblings, or using tech devices late in the evening.
Calm your brood down before bed by encouraging them to participate in calming activities. Turn off the television, computer, and video games, put smartphones and tablets away, try things like reading books, complete arts and crafts, and spend time talking with the family to get them in a relaxed state.
Separation anxiety, no bedtime routine, eating too late, and overstimulation are just a few of the common reasons parents have difficulty getting their kids to sleep. If, however, you’ve tried the above solutions with little to no results, it may be wise to contact your child’s pediatrician to determine if there might be an underlying health condition that needs to be managed. With medication, therapy, and other treatment options, they can help ensure your children get the rest they need to improve health and wellness.