TEN LIT­TLE STEPS TO THE LAND OF NOD

South Wales Evening Post - - FAMILY HEALTH -

SCREENS OFF

TURN all screens off at least half an hour be­fore bath time and don’t have TVS or com­put­ers in the bed­room.

ROU­TINE IS VI­TAL

A CON­SIS­TENT bed­time rou­tine will help your child feel safe, and ready to sleep, al­though An­drea warns that par­ents with more than one child must be or­gan­ised.

EARLY HOME­WORK

TRY to get home­work done well be­fore bed­time. It’s nice to have quiet time to­gether be­fore bed, chat­ting or read­ing.

NO STIM­U­LANTS

AVOID fizzy drinks, choco­late or other foods con­tain­ing stim­u­lants. En­cour­age your child to have a nour­ish­ing evening meal which is rich in car­bo­hy­drate and pro­tein.

GIVE THEM A COMFY BED

MAKE sure your child’s bed and mat­tress are com­fort­able, and they have the right amount of bed­ding for the room tem­per­a­ture.

AT­TEN­TION PLEASE!

DUR­ING the prepa­ra­tion for bed, give your child or chil­dren your fullest pos­si­ble at­ten­tion, and try not to take tele­phone calls.

“As well as feel­ing safe, chil­dren need to feel loved in or­der to sleep well,” ex­plains An­drea, “so show your child how im­por­tant they are by giv­ing your time, even if that time is be­ing shared with sib­lings.”

BATH THEN BED

HAV­ING a bath will only pro­mote sleep if it’s im­me­di­ately be­fore bed, oth­er­wise it may give chil­dren a sec­ond wind. So af­ter your child’s bath or shower they should go di­rectly to their bed­room rather than com­ing back into the liv­ing room.

DON’T USE BE­D­ROOMS AS PUN­ISH­MENT

CHIL­DREN need to have happy as­so­ci­a­tions with the room in which they sleep if they’re go­ing to re­ally re­lax and sleep well.

GIVE RE­AS­SUR­ANCE FOR SLEEP PROB­LEMS

SCHOOL-AGE chil­dren can demon­strate a wide range of sleep dif­fi­cul­ties, in­clud­ing set­tling prob­lems, de­layed sleep on­set, wak­ing dur­ing the night and night­mares. An­drea says that with most sim­ple set­tling and wak­ing prob­lems, par­ents should work with their child to re­as­sure them and help them to go to sleep hap­pily and alone.

“It’s quite nor­mal for all of us to wake sev­eral times dur­ing the night,” she says, “and if you’re with your child when they go off to sleep, they’ll need to get you back to act as a sleep prompt at later wak­ings.”

DON’T LET THEM GET IN YOUR BED

IF YOUR child is ac­cus­tomed to get­ting into your bed dur­ing the night, they’ll wake in an­tic­i­pa­tion of this move, warns An­drea. “Know­ing they’re go­ing to be mov­ing dur­ing the night ac­tu­ally pre­vents many chil­dren from be­ing able to sleep re­ally well,” she adds.

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