SLEEP ESSENTIALS

How much sleep do children need?

lazy-child

In order to require full growth, a proper amount of sleep is required by any human being on earth. Sleeping helps in development of the brain. Lack of proper sleep can result in tiredness, lack of concentration, etc., in our day to day activities. Experts suggest the following:

When children complete 3 years the need for the day time sleep is less and so it is often wiser to let them work through the day and go to bed early instead of giving naps in the afternoon and then going to bed very late at night. It is said that half an hour of sleep in the day is equivalent to an hour at night.

Sleep Tips for Children:

1. Set a clear Routine:

Routines work best for the children. Habits set in childhood stay with us through adulthood. Create a bedtime routine that follows the same order and timing each night and stick to it. Be sure to include wind down time in the routine and eliminate stimulating activities before bedtime, such as TV, computer, extremely violent/loud play or screaming and video games. Encourage your child to sleep in the same place every day. This is a must especially in large joint families where children to sleep with different relatives each day. This will ruin the routine and create sleep related problems for some children. The child?s bed should be associated with sleep, and relaxing activities, rather than brain stimulating activities. An example of a routine might be:

2. Positive Stimulation:

This is the time to speak to your child about his/her strengths, how much you love and appreciate him/her, and so on. When children go to sleep with these thoughts they feel more secure and the subconscious mind also picks up the inputs to work on through the night and weave it into the psyche effortlessly.

3.?Encourage Children to Fall Asleep on Their Own:

A child that can fall asleep independently will also learn other self-soothing behaviour and will be able to return to sleep during normal night time awakenings, sleeping better through the night (And you sleep better then too!)

4.?Foods to Avoid:

Avoid caffeine, chocolates, junk food and sweets within 6 hours of bedtime. Make sure your child has an early diet and goes to bed at least an hour after the last meal.

5. Environment:

Keep noise levels low, rooms dark (with the exception of a night light), and indoor temperatures comfortable if you are using the air conditioner. The more comfortable the environment the faster your child falls asleep. Avoid rocking your child to sleep.

6. Talk to your pediatrician or family doctor if your child shows difficulty falling asleep and maintaining sleep, especially with daytime sleepiness or behavioral problems or if your child snores especially loud or has breathing problems at night.

7. Children who have nightmares or bed wetting will benefit from counselling and play therapy. Children may at times speak in their sleep when they are excited or anxious during the day. This is normal if occasional and may need treatment if very severe and disturbing sleep.

Copyright ? Aarti C Rajaratnam, 2013

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