By Jenna Jamieson
A parent’s job is the most exhausting. There are no vacations, there is no salary (except your toddler’s sloppy kisses and watching them grow into amazing people), and often, it feels like you’re way too deep into stuff you have no idea about. But whether it be getting your child to explore their talents without coming off as too pushy, or getting them habituated to reading without being a stern parent, the end result is watching your kid become their own person with their own ideas and unique identity.
There are things that are absolutely uncompromisable in this journey, though. Right next to food and education, or maybe even a place higher, is getting adequate sleep. Right from infancy when a kid’s brain grows in full throttle to teenage when puberty wreaks havoc in their bodies and minds, sleep plays the most vital role in the growth of their bodies and minds. Getting adequate sleep helps their muscles repair themselves after facing wear and tear during play or exercise. It transfers information learnt from short term to long term memory, which is crucial to performing well in school. It also helps them fight off infections and disease.
Given how vital sleep is to a kid, it behooves us to learn how to ensure our kids get a good amount. Here are 7 easy steps you can take to help your kids sleep better.
Make kids eat healthy
Every parent is constantly told they must keep their kids eating healthy. They’ve known it ever since they were kids themselves. But what many don’t realize is that good diet goes beyond not letting them sip coffee and going berserk.
Since we’re talking about sleep, the crucial meal becomes the kid’s dinner. Having a dinner that is rich in sugars can make kids too active for night-time. It can be hard for them to calm down because their bodies are flush with energy. Instead, a meal which is rich in filling foods and protein, as well as food with good fiber content to help things along in the morning is much preferable.
Kids might be disturbed in their sleep if they drink too much liquid too. It is wise to have them drink enough to stay hydrated, but not too much to cause their bladder to fill up in the middle of the night. This might especially help kids who still wet the bed.
Take note of how active they are
If a child isn’t sleeping properly, it might be that they’re not expending their energy enough. Kids are pretty restless in their everyday life and it is not common for them to be sitting it out in the playground. Talk to them if they are anxious to participate with other kids.
Apart from the playground, children can find many other avenues for being active. Your kid’s teacher can tell you how they’re performing in class, which can help you gauge their activity levels more.
What to do if your kid is not active? Talking to them to understand what’s going on in their life can be helpful. A little strictness to make them participate can be useful. But if neither of the two methods works, it might be something you’re not equipped to deal with. Visiting a counselor at the kid’s school might help, if not a private practitioner.
Make their bedroom more hospitable and welcoming
No kid likes being put to sleep. Sleep to them is like this immense waste on time that could be spent playing or exploring the giant world they want to know more about. What can you do to get them interested in sleeping?
Kids love bedtime stories. It’s been used by parents for decades to get them to get into bed and calm down. Getting them to relax is what is crucial in making kids sleep. So if you think bedtime stories don’t work as well on your child, there are other options to try too.
Getting a nice kids mattress can help them find the bed more comfortable. Getting a plush blanket or a stuffed toy to sleep with them can get them more interested in laying down after a long day of playing. Shutting off TVs, computers and iPads is important too, so the child doesn’t have a needless source of distraction when he should be sleeping.
Make kids feel safe
Every child is different. Some are more independent, while others crave affection of their parents or guardians. Showing them physical affection through a hug or a goodnight kiss cannot just be a helpful ritual to make them understand it is time to sleep, but it can also help your kids feel safe, loved and calmer than they were.
Often, parents are jolted awake by a scared kid who fears a monster under their bed. Or they just might ask for a glass of water when really they woke up and felt lonely. If you think this happens too often, you can consider what many couples around the world do, and set up your child’s bed in the same room as yours.
It can also help to establish a more elaborate routine that reassures them there are no monsters around, or makes them feel lonely in the dark. Parents often sprinkle drops of water around calling it monster poison; you can do something fun like that too. Leaving a light in the hall on through the night can be helpful too, as can be keeping the door ajar. If the kid still feels scared, take them from your bedroom’s door to their bedroom’s door, asking them to count the steps. Help cannot be far if you’re only tiny little steps away, right?
Have any more ways you know that parents can use to ensure their kids sleep properly? Do tell us in the comments below.