"Sleep deprivation in children mimics the symptoms of Attention Deficient Hyperactivity Disorder. "
1. ENSURE YOUR CHILD RECEIVES ENOUGH SLEEP DAILY
Typically, the younger the child, the more sleep they require over a 24-hour period. Younger children also require day naps to manage fatigue. In saying this, most children still require at least 11-13 hours of sleep overnight until the age of 10 years.
2. SET A CONSISTENT EARLY BEDTIME
A bedtime between 6pm and 8pm helps ensure your child receives enough night sleep. Thus, going to bed at the same time each night will keep your child’s body clock in line.
3. HARNESS THE POWER OF A BEDTIME ROUTINE
A good routine does more that physically prepare you for bed. It cues the body and brain that sleep is coming. The routine needs to be long enough for the body to wind down, but short enough for your child’s brain to anticipate what’s coming next. Around 30 - 45 minutes is ideal.
4. LIMIT SCREEN TIME FOR AN HOUR BEFORE BED
The light emitted from screens suppresses melatonin, (the sleep hormone) and this can greatly contribute to sleep issues.
5. ALLOW OPPORTUNITIES TO CATCH UP
Life happens and there will be late nights and missed sleep at times. The key to recovering quickly is to allow your child the opportunity to catch up. That may mean an extra nap or an earlier bedtime for a few days. While you can’t make a child sleep, you can encourage and give them clear social cues that sleep is expected. Please seek help if sleep isn’t going well. Because everyone needs a good night’s sleep!
Kim Corley is a certified baby and child sleep consultant with a Bachelor of Science in psychology and pharmacology. She is also a mother who believes in the healing power of sleep and has helped numerous families solve their sleep issues over the years. You can contact Kim via her website.