Many of us are not getting the right amount of sleep. Whether it takes hours to get to sleep, or we are awoken many times throughout the night, most of us are not getting those solid eight hours. Our children are no different. Our busy lifestyles effects so many areas of our children’s lives, sleep is no exception. Here are 10 simple things you can do to help your child get a better night’s sleep so they will feel rested and more attentive during the day:

  1. Bedtime Routine: Following the same routine every night before  bed is crucial as it will teach their bodies to calm down in preparation for bed. For younger children this may include a bath and a story, for older children it might be a chat with you about their day.
  2. Wind Down: Children shouldn’t be returning  from hockey practice or an active activity and then expected to go right to sleep. Kids need a wind down period before heading to bed. Usually about 30 minutes is ideal. This can include listening to soft music, reading a book etc.(screen free)
  3. Mindfulness: There are various mindfulness techniques out there to help children get better sleep. Mindfulness teaches them to be in the moment, let go of difficult emotions or thoughts and to relax their body and mind. If you and your child aren’t familiar with mindfulness and want to learn more Safety Tree offers various courses and workshops. Click here for more information.
  4. Sleep Patterns: Try to keep a regular sleep schedule for your child. Ideally their wake-up times and bedtimes should be within 1-2 hours of each other, even on the weekends!
  5. Feeling Safe: It’s important for your child to go to bed feeling calm and safe. Avoiding scary things on television and inappropriate games\websites can help. If you are concerned that something is bothering your child make sure to allow them time to talk about it.. Sometimes just verbalizing their feelings will be enough to help them relax and rest.
  6. Noise and Light: Check to make sure your child’s room isn’t too noisy or bright. Both factors can greatly affect their ability to get and stay asleep. Blue light from computer screens, tablets and cell phone can suppress melatonin, these activities should be discontinued a minimum of an hour before bedtime.
  7. The Clock: If your child is checking the time a lot through the night, try moving their clock to where they can’t see it, or encourage them to not sleep with their watch. Cell phones shouldn’t be left in the child’s room, you should have a family docking station in a common area of the house.
  8. Full Belly’s: Make sure your child isn’t going to bed hungry or too full. Both of these can affect their ability to get a good night’s sleep.
  9. Natural Light: Encourage your child to get as much exposure to natural light during the day as they can. This can be difficult during the winter months but can hugely impact their melatonin production. Many people take Vitamin D supplements  during the winter months to compensate for the lack of natural sunlight.
  10. Avoid Caffeine and Sugar: Energy drinks, cola, tea, chocolate and sugar can keep your child from getting the sleep they need. Of course, these items should be avoided all together, but they should definitely not be consumed in the late afternoon or evening

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