Getting to sleep
The time that it takes for your child to get to sleep can be impacted by the sleepiness of their body, and also their daytime and bedtime routine. Most children can fall asleep within 20 minutes of going to bed. Some bedtime routines can help your child to wind down more effectively before bedtime, so they can fall asleep more easily.
We have put together some tips to help you settle your child’s sleep routine below:
- Relax before bedtime
Encourage your child to relax before bedtime. A regular bedtime routine of bath, story and bed helps younger children feel ready for sleep. Older children might like to wind down by reading a book, listening to gentle music or practising breathing for relaxation.
- Keep regular sleep and wake times
For children six months or older, help them to go to bed and get up around the same time every day. Keep wake-up times on school days and weekends to within two hours of each other to get your child’s body clock get into a regular rhythm.
- Check noise and light in your child’s bedroom
A dark, quiet, private space is important for good sleep. Check whether your child’s bedroom is too light or noisy for sleep. Blue light from televisions, computer screens, phones and tablets might suppress melatoninlevels and delay sleepiness. It probably helps to turn these off at least one hour before bedtime.
- Avoid the clock
If your child is checking the time often, encourage her to move her clock or watch to a spot where she can’t see it.
- Avoid daytime naps for older kids
If your child is five years or older, avoid daytime naps. Daytime naps longer than 20 minutes can make it harder for children over five to get to sleep at night, to stay asleep, and to wake up in the morning.
- Eat the right amount at the right time
Make sure your child has a satisfying evening meal at a reasonable time. Feeling hungry or too full before bed can make your child more alert or uncomfortable. This can make it harder for him to get to sleep. In the morning, a healthy breakfasthelps to kick-start your child’s body clock at the right time.
- Get plenty of natural light in the day
Encourage your child to get as much natural light as possible during the day, especially in the morning. This will help her body produce melatonin at the right times in her sleep cycle.
- Avoid caffeine
Encourage your child to avoid caffeine – in energy drinks, coffee, tea, chocolate and cola – or avoid offering them in the late afternoon and evening.
Problems with sleep can affect your child’s mood, schoolwork or relationships. You should seek help from your GP if sleep problems go on for more than 2-4 weeks.
Source: Raising Children Network