Getting your child to bed and make them stay in the bed until they fall asleep is one of the biggest challenges to many parents. Though it sounds simple, it is not a very easy task! When you child does not get enough sleep, he/she will have problems in controlling their emotions. Irritation and hyperactivity will become part of them when not given required attention.
Why do some kids not sleep well?
Kids who are sleep deprived may have problems
- Paying attention
- Do not learn quickly
- Lousy all the time
- Behavioral issues
- Crying/cranky most of the time
As a parent, it is very important that you regulate sleep time and follow bed time rituals which will make the child fall asleep and stay asleep with ease. Studies show that, children grow more when they sleep peacefully and deeply. It is important that your baby wakes up fresh and rested after sleep.
Remedies for kids to sleep better
There are no strict rules to follow for a child’s good bedtime and sleep, as every baby is unique and only a parent can understand their child in a better way. So, I have few tips/remedies which you can follow to ease your child’s sleep routine, which will give peace to you and your child.
Try to set a sleep time
When a baby/toddler is tired and starts to get irritated for everything, I think it is time for him/her to sleep. When you make the baby sleep at one particular time of a day, make it a habit to follow the time every day. Be it a nap or a two hour sleep, follow the timing. Say your baby sleeps at 1:00 pm every day, make sure that you put your baby to sleep at 12.30 pm.
Give a nice warm bath
“A baby sleeps very well after a very tiring day” is a myth. When a child is over tired or too much tired, they tend to get very cranky. Baby keeps waking up all through the night because of body pain. To avoid this situation, give a warm water bath to your child, one hour before bedtime. This will relax the muscles and calm down their irritation.
When you think that the weather is too cold and you don’t want to bathe your baby, you can do a good oil massage to relax the tired muscles. I follow this routine for my toddler and it works wonderfully!
- You can choose coconut oil, almond oil or olive oil. (any oil of your choice will do good)
- Heat the oil until it is warm.
- Once you make sure that the oil is not very hot, apply it on the whole body.
- Gently massage the baby all over the body.
- Wait until the oil is absorbed while you massage.
Set a mood
Take the baby to his/her room one hour before bedtime. Try not to indulge the baby in very active games or activities. Lights play a very important role in one’s sleep. When the room is cozy/dark, human body produces a hormone called melatonin, which induces sleep. Dim the lights and use minimal movements when you are with the baby. This way, your child knows that he/she has to sleep and will start accepting that.
Dressing up your child for sleep is a very important activity to do. Suit-up your child according the weather conditions. Make sure you cover the feet and hands using socks and mittens. Even a night suit will do well. Use those night clothes only during sleep. So when you changes the clothes before sleep, your child will start accepting that he/she has to sleep.
It is a traditional practice all over the world – to sing a lullaby or tell a story over bedtime. It definitely helps a child to divert its attention and fall asleep. Tell a story that is not very fancy or very brain activating. Try to keep the number of characters less. If you want to sing a lullaby, use the songs which your parents sung for you! They are wonderful. Important point here is, use the story and lullaby only during bedtime. So once you start telling/singing, your child know that he/she has to sleep.
Please note that if your baby/child wakes up in the middle of the night, you might have to sing again for him/her to get back to sleep. If you think it is not possible to sing or tell a story in the middle of the night, it is better that you do not follow this.
Food before sleep
Food plays a very important role in child’s sleep routine. Make your child eat one hour before bedtime. Do not overfeed or underfeed the baby as they might have difficulty in digesting. That discomfort will not allow the child to sleep. If your child is used to drinking milk before sleep, make it a habit to give milk 15 or 20 minutes before bedtime. Avoid giving soft drinks or caffeine based drink, 5 or 6 hours before bedtime. Children are very sensitive to caffeine and it keeps them awake for longer time.
Apart from all these, it is very important that everyone in the family goes to sleep at the same time. This will make your child understand that sleep is important and it is a family priority. It will create ease in accepting that he/she has to sleep. Switch off or do not use any gadgets 1 hour before bedtime. Try to follow the routine even during weekends.
If you still see difficulty in putting down your child to sleep, you can consult your pediatrician for better understanding.