Sleep is essential for children’s cognitive development, their ability to focus and maintain their wellbeing. Routine can be helpful when you are trying to achieve better sleep for your child.
Whether parents have a good routine that works for their family or they are looking to get their family into a routine, most parents agree that their children functioning better with it.
Without getting into the biological, developmental and cognitive side of this issue, routine is necessary for most people’s sanity. Your child is not different and if anything without a routine they are more prone to sleep problems. Generally speaking, routine is what holds your day together and helps you accomplish things and one of those things is sleep.
With the holiday season ending and school holidays finishing, everything is slowly getting back to a “normal” day to day. This is the perfect time to look into your child’s routine, establish it or change it. This will be helpful to create good bed times, benefit the wind down routine and it will guarantee your child is rested and ready for a day of learning, engaging and playing.
When looking into their routine you need to ask yourself what is working, what is not working, what will be in or out of your ideal routine? When you answer these questions, while considering your child’s needs and emotions plus your family needs, you will be able to create the perfect routine for them.
The main recommendations for school/preschool age children are:
- Avoid screens for 1-2 hours before their bedtime. Blue light has been proven to supress the production of melatonin, the hormone that is essential for falling asleep and staying asleep.
- Have some quiet activities suggestions for them and help them wind down with those activities. I highly recommend including book reading, with them or to them, as part of these activities.
- A set bed time everyday (or most days if not achievable).
- Make sure your child goes to sleep in a time that helps them sleep for the recommended hours for their age.
- Watch your child’s diet and try to eliminate as much sugar as possible as sugar effects their thinking and their ability to calm down when they need to go to sleep. Fill their diet with nutritional value that will help them be active, thinking and engaging children. A nutritional diet will also help them fall asleep and sleep better.
- Stick to the routine you created if it works for your family. Change or seek help changing it if it effects your life and your children’s wellbeing.
There is plenty we can do to help babies transitional into a routine like:
- Watching their awake time and tired signs in order to put them to sleep on time every day.
- Create set nap times and bed times over a few days (routine not always achievable in a day).
- Set meal times and play times.
- Create calm bed time routines that give them the cue for sleep time.
- Avoid screens for 1-2 hours before bed time.
- Watch their diet (if on solids) and make sure it is full of nutrients for active times and sleep times.
- Stick to the routine if it works for your baby as babies thrive on routine.
- Seek help of a sleep consultant if you can’t get it right and it effects you and your baby’s sleep.
A routine doesn’t have to be boring or limiting. Once you established a good routine for a long enough time you can break it every now and then. It takes 3 days to establish a new pattern of routine and sleep so as long as you not breaking your routine every day, nothing should change the next day.
Children need their routine to make sense out of their day by knowing what is coming after what and be calmer and more collected as a result.
Routine saved my household and while it is not for everyone, when you have children you should consider it.
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