Studies have shown that we spend one-third of our lives asleep or trying to fall asleep. The other two-thirds of our lives are informed by how we slept the night before. No one is more susceptible to the negative effects of sleep deprivation quite like children.
As adults, we can often push through, even if we did not get a sufficient amount of hours of sleep the previous night. Unfortunately, this is not always the case for our kids. This is why maintaining good sleep hygiene is crucial for children.
With our tips, you and your children can be sleeping the night away in no time.
What Is Sleep Hygiene?
Sleep hygiene is a helpful term used to describe the various habits and methods used to encourage quality rest. This term encompasses a wide range of practices that we will cover throughout this worksheet.
Why Is a Good Night’s Sleep Important for Kids?
Think about how you feel after a night of restless, poor sleep. Chances are, you will feel irritable, have difficulty focusing, and possibly even spend more time thinking about naps than your daily activities. These feelings are very similar in kids but likely exacerbated.
Getting enough sleep affects nearly everything we do. It can improve our mental health, memory, concentration, and physical health. Clinicians have discovered that sleep problems or low sleep quality can lead to high blood pressure, depression, and obesity.
A lack of sleep can have tangible mental and physical consequences that go far beyond just how our kids feel the next day. You can set your child up for better sleep and long-term success with our sleep hygiene tips.
How Can You Encourage Good Sleeping Habits in Your Kids?
As parents, we would like to think that we will always be there to guide our kids in their moments of need. However, one of the most rewarding parts of parenting is teaching our kids how to look after themselves. There will inevitably be moments that we can’t be there with a glass of warm milk and a light snack, but we can still help.
By instilling self-care practices and teaching our kids an effective sleep routine, we can help them grow more confident. This comes with repetition and making children feel secure.
Use a Natural Sleep (or Calm, or Focus) Aid
Despite our best efforts, there will always be nights that sleep eludes us or our children. On these nights, many parents will look for sleep aids. When parents discover that there are safe and effective natural aids, they often become a regular part of the routine.
This is why The Natural Patch Co. offers a variety of stickers to help with both sleep and emotional wellness. There are, of course, the SleepyPatch Sleep Promoting Stickers, which use a blend of soothing essential oils to lull both kids and adults to bed.
Then, the ZenPatch Mood Calming Stickers are perfect for helping your kids access serene and tranquil energy. It is possible for kids to calm down, even if it might not always feel like it.
When it is time to get down to business, there are the FocusPatch Focus Enhancing Stickers. FocusPatch offers an invigorating combination of essential oils that helps kiddos concentrate and make the most out of their day. (Plus, adults can wear them too; say goodbye to that third cup of coffee!)
Form a Bedtime Routine, and Do Not Deviate From It
If there is one thing that makes kids feel more confident, it’s structure. A routine is crucial for children, as it lets them know what to expect. Kids will have many routines throughout their day, from school to homework, to playtime. These routines should continue at night, as well.
Creating and adhering to a bedtime routine will solidify your child’s sleep schedule and make wake time much less of a hassle. This routine can include anything from a bath, a glass of water, a bedtime story, and much more.
Tire Your Kids Out During the Day, Physically and Intellectually
Our children have tons of energy… well, until the moment that they don’t. All too often, our kids seem to be going at full speed and then suddenly have no energy left whatsoever.
A kid who still feels hyper will not be able to sleep, no matter how many lullabies you sing them. Give you and your child the best chance at a restful night’s sleep by getting them to exercise during the day. Play outside with your kids, but make sure that they are mentally stimulated too: books, treasure hunts, puzzles, oh my!
Turn Off the Screens
Nowadays, screens seem to surround us from every angle. Technology has helped us in so many ways, but it has unfortunately taken a toll on our sleep schedules. Not only are our kids more prone to staying up late so that they can watch one last video, but this screen time saga has a chemical effect.
Melatonin is a necessary hormone that puts us to sleep. The brain releases it in response to darkness, signaling that it is nighttime and we should rest. Screens emit a type of blue light that actively suppresses this function, disrupting our natural circadian rhythms. As a result, kids (and adults) should stop using all screens an hour before bed.
Mind What They Eat and Drink Before Bed
It’s all about the happy medium. Going to bed with an empty stomach is a great recipe for insomnia. Large meals should also be avoided just before bed, as the digestive system will have to remain active while processing the food.
Try giving your child a small snack without high amounts of sugar and carbs (without six glasses of water to wash it down).
Keep a Sleep Diary
Keeping a sleep diary is an excellent method for kids to understand what helps them fall asleep and sleep through the night. This way, children can take more ownership over their sleep quality. By starting this ritual early on, kids learn more about their own bodies and will become more mindful of both actions and consequences.
Speaking of mindfulness…
Teach Them Relaxation Techniques
Being able to relax is a skill that our kids will appreciate long into adulthood. Different forms of meditation can work wonders for children at bedtime. For example, mindfulness helps both children and adults take stock of their feelings and is a wonderful tool for falling asleep.
How To Create the Best Sleep Environment for Your Child
Positive sleep habits can make or break the quality of a night’s rest, but they are not the only factor. There are other contributors to how comfortable we feel and how able we are to sleep through the night.
Keep Bedrooms at an Optimal Temperature
The last thing any of us need is for our kids to wake up in the middle of the night due to an overly warm room. Factors like temperature can cause people of all ages to wake up, and it is never a fun feeling.
Stay sleepy by setting the thermostat before bedtime. Scientists have discovered that the optimal sleep temperature is approximately 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
At this temperature, your body receives signals that it is time for rest. The exact temperature will vary depending on the person, preferences, and age. For instance, it is recommended that infants sleep in a room that is about 69 degrees Fahrenheit.
Look Into a Humidifier or Dehumidifier
In some situations, a humidifier or a dehumidifier can be immensely helpful in creating a more comfortable sleeping environment. After all, the temperature is not the only factor in creating a comfortable environment.
A day spent outside in 75-degree weather might sound wonderful, but that can quickly become oppressively hot once you add in humidity. Meanwhile, playing in the snow can be a joy with all of the proper clothing and gear, but dry air can cause respiratory discomfort.
These same principles apply indoors as well as outdoors. If the air is too cold and dry, a humidifier can help your child to feel more comfortable. A dehumidifier can work wonders if an environment is uncomfortably warm and humid.
It can be easy to assume that a humidifier is only helpful in the winter and that a dehumidifier is only beneficial in the summer. In reality, this is not the case.
An air conditioner can make a sleeping environment much more comfortable, but it often also has the unintended side effect of drying out the air. In this case, a humidifier can be added to a child’s room to prevent dryness of the nose, throat, lips, and more.
Less humidity might result in fewer bugs crawling around the house and can alleviate some symptoms of asthma and allergies — yes, please.
A Worksheet Without the Work
Breaking something as finicky and complex as sleep hygiene into a worksheet is helpful in developing a deeper understanding. However, both kids and parents should rest assured that this is one worksheet that can actually be quite fun, or at least relaxing.
We Spend About One-Third of Our Life Either Sleeping or Attempting To Do So | National Institutes of Health
The Importance of Sleep for Kids | Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital
The Best Temperature for Sleep: Advice & Tips | Sleep Foundation