22 Sep Why Regular Bedtime Routines are Good for Children’s Overall Health
Every child, no matter what the age, needs sleep. Quality sleep helps children grow, thrive and develop both socially and emotionally. Proper sleep also helps children enjoy a better quality of life and it can help them enjoy school and perform better in the classroom. There are so many benefits that can come from good rest—but it all starts with a great night sleep. This is why regular bedtime routines are so important, as they can help make certain children are getting the vital rest they need to stay happy and healthy.
The first and most important thing to understand about regular bedtimes is that children need more time to transition from being awake to being asleep. While many parents have heard stories of toddlers getting so tired after playing that they fall asleep in their high chair—this is not the usual case for most children. Many children have trouble falling asleep, even when they may feel tired or cranky. This is why repetition is such a powerful tool. Whether you sing the same song, the same story or give your child the same blanket to cuddle with, routines can really help children’s internal clock get ready for bedtime.
These pre-bed routines should be relaxing and calming. A bath is a great example of ways to help kids wind down and get tired so that it is easier for them to fall asleep once they crawl into bed. With some repetition, over time, getting into the bath alone will start to make some children yawn and get tired.
Along with repetition, comes consistency. A routine isn’t just about doing the same things before bedtime, it is about having the same bedtime as well. Try to have your child go to bed at the same time every night. This even includes older children, pre-teens, and teenagers. While weekends can be a fun time to stay up late and do things as a family, do your best to try to keep bedtime the same. While it can be difficult to keep this bedtime the exact same, to the minute, every single evening, the more you can do to maintain this consistency the better.
Many of these concepts on routines and consistency have been helping kids of all ages sleep better for decades, but one more modern hurdle that is making bedtime difficult for many kids is technology. While technology may be a fixture in many of our day-to-day lives, it is important that parents remember: no screens in the bedroom. Period. Watching TV is not relaxing, especially for children. On the contrary, it is quite stimulating and can make it extremely difficult for them to fall asleep. Don’t buy into the excuse that it keeps kids quiet at bedtime or that you once saw your child fall asleep during a movie. There should be no TVs in the bedrooms, no iPads, and no phone use.
Instead, the room should be set up with soft lighting. You should use quiet voices and avoid activities that tend to be overly stimulating such as playing. Creating this type of environment right before bed can ensure you have set the stage to help your child get the best sleep possible each and every night.
If you have questions about setting up a routine for your child, you can schedule an appointment with me, Dr. Kathryn Mandal, by calling 817-617-8600 or scheduling online at http://continuumtx.com/contact.