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Top Ten Sleep Tips for Children

Updated on January 7, 2012

In this hub I provide my Top Ten Sleep Tips for Children which compliments the information given in my hub Natural Sleep Remedies for Children.

Top Tip 1 - Work With Your Family Doctor

Sleeping problems can cause serious health issues or can be a symptom of another underlying health problem. Children who don't get enough sleep simply don't thrive as they should. They are less happy, get ill more frequently, find learning more difficult and don't even grow as well as they should.

So it is important that you seek accurate and appropriate medical advice from your health care professional before embarking on any treatment to help improve your child's sleep.

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Disclaimer

The content of this article is provided for your informational purposes only and it is not intended to be used as a substitute for accurate and appropriate medical advice from your health care professional.

Top Tip 2 - Get the Bedroom Environment Right

During the day the bedroom needs to be light but at night it needs to be dark so the window blinds or drapes need to block out street lights and any LED displays on clocks should not be too bright. If your child is a clock watcher it might be wise to remove any clocks from the bedroom altogether. Other than being dark the bedroom also needs to be quiet, calm, and a comfortable temperature.

Top Tip 3 - Set a Regular Bedtime

Your child needs to develop a regular sleep routine where they go to bed and get up at the same time each day and every day including weekends and holidays. To do this you need to work out what time they will be getting up and then roughly work out how much sleep they need and work backwards to calculate the time they need to get to bed allowing a short period of time in bed to fall asleep. In my hub A Guide to Solving Your Child's Insomnia you will find a table which give approximate sleep needs based on your child's age.

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Top Tip 4 - Wind Down Hour

Establish a routine for your child that does not include stimulating activities within an hour of bedtime such as watching TV, playing computer games or carrying out homework. Suitable activities for this period would be reading or listening to relaxing music. If your child is young enough it could include you reading them a bedtime story.

Top Tip 5 - Keep Bed for Sleeping

Keep bed for sleeping only and don't allow your child to read, watch TV or play video or computer games whilst in bed so that their body associates being in bed just with sleeping.

Top Tip 6 - Don't Toss and Turn

If your child can’t sleep after 20 minutes, it is better for them to get up and read or listen to music for 15-20 minutes, rather than to stay in bed and tossing and turning. After staying out of bed for 15-20 minutes they should return to bed and try to get to sleep again. If they still are unable to fall asleep the cycle can be repeated.

Top Tip 7 - Avoid Sugar and Caffeine

Avoiding coffee just before going to bed is an obvious tip but coffee isn't the only caffeinated drink. Tea but not herbal teas), colas, some non-cola pops and energy drinks also contain caffeine and they should be avoided for 4 to 6 hours before bedtime. The same should apply to sugar products if they make your child hyped up.

Source

Top Tip 8 - Warm Milk and a Cookie

A glass of warm milk is considered to be one of the most effective sleep remedies for children. Milk contains melatonin which does have a track record for the successful treatment of insomnia but the melatonin in milk is 100% natural. Lactose-free, soy, almond and goat milk will also provide the same melatonin benefits. You can flavor the milk with cinnamon and honey if preferred. If your child doesn't like milk you can give them a weak chamomile herbal tea instead. The cookie helps to stave off any hunger pangs and helps making going to bed a more pleasurable experience. Here is a link to a recipe for Healthy OatMeal Cookies.

Top Tip 9 - Exercise

Encourage your child to exercise during the day as exercise has been shown to help improve sleep but they shouldn't exercise just before bedtime as this has the opposite effect. Exercising in the sunshine is the best of all as it helps their body produce the valuable sleep hormone melatonin.

Top Tip 10 - Teach Your Child Relaxation Techniques

Relaxation techniques can work with children from a fairly young age. Teaching them to concentrate on their breathing whilst imagining lying on a warm, sunny beach.

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    • Amber Allen profile image
      Author

      Amber Allen 5 years ago

      Hi jpcmc

      As I said in my reply to your comment on another hub if your daughter is happy and healthy don't worry. As she becomes more active during the day it may very well result in her sleeping pattern changing.

      Are your sleeping problems caused by an over active mind? Do you take time to wind down before going to bed?

      Amber:)

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 5 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      I grew up having to take siestas in the afternoon. Sometimes it's really hard to get some sleep at night. I hope my daughter does not have trouble sleeping at tnight. But recently, she wakes up in the middle of the night in spite of the routines we have set. She's just a little over 1 and i'm sure her body clock is still adjusting to her day's activities.

    • Amber Allen profile image
      Author

      Amber Allen 6 years ago

      Hi KKG

      It's a shame I'm twenty years too late to help! Hopefully others will find my article helpful.

      Amber:)

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Haze 6 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Well written, well researched article. I had a child that absolutely could not sleep when she was young. Back then (20 years ago) they didn't have any advice or tips to help. Thanks for the wonderful information.

    • Amber Allen profile image
      Author

      Amber Allen 6 years ago

      Hi rw

      Following a routine is very important but it is so true that you have to adapt it to suit the needs of your children.

      Thanks for commenting.

      Amber:)

    • rwelton profile image

      rwelton 6 years ago from Sacramento CA

      AA-

      Thanks - young parents should tap into this early on. Good basic rules to follow - with 4 kids you get to use a different version for each little personality.

      Thanks

      rw

    • Amber Allen profile image
      Author

      Amber Allen 6 years ago

      Hi Prasetio

      I do hope that parents find this hub usaful. Thanks for bookmarking and rating up.

      Amber:)

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 6 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Good afternoon, Amber (Indonesia time. You have informative hub. This is really useful for us. I believe all the parents want to follow your tips. I'll bookmark this one. Rating Up!

      Prasetio

    • Amber Allen profile image
      Author

      Amber Allen 6 years ago

      Hi okmom23

      Thanks for visiting and reading my hub.

      Amber:)

    • okmom23 profile image

      Donna Oliver 6 years ago from Midwest, U.S.A.

      Well done hub, very informative.

    • Amber Allen profile image
      Author

      Amber Allen 6 years ago

      Thanks for commenting and spreading the word about my hub on Top Ten Sleep Tips for Children Casper. It is nice to meet you. Amber:)

    • casperquids profile image

      David Pinkney 6 years ago from England

      Very good hub, well done. Will be getting other people to read this.

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