Sleep problems can arise at any time. If you are experiencing problems with your child setting enough sleep at night there are a few things you can do to help.
- Set out a clear bedtime routine. Prepare your child for bed by stopping boisterous play and having a nice time together in a way that is calm. You can read, settle down to watch a slow paced television show such as In the Night Garden or simply talk about their day.
- If you watch television shows make sure the last show ends an hour before bedtime. Research suggests that television or internet usage can affect the quality of sleep they’re able to achieve thanks to the stimulated brain wave activity.
- Think about the foods and drinks your child is consuming in the afternoon and evening. Avoid high fat and sugary foods and try to get your child to drink warm milk. Milk contains calcium which has a natural calming effect that will encourage sleepiness.
- Overtired children are harder to settle so try and start the bedtime routine before they reach this state.
- The last part of the bedtime routine needs to occur in the bedroom. Read a story in a low light and give your child their favourite cuddly toy to snuggle up to.
- Keep a diary to see if you can spot issues that result in problematic sleep patterns. When you try a new system give it two weeks to see if it is working before moving on to something else.
Above all else you should keep cool and calm. It’s difficult to cope with the lack of sleep but getting anxious and angry will only make things worse. Many children go through difficult sleep patterns so you’re not alone. If in doubt speak to your doctor, health visitor or a friend and seek advice or a friendly ear.
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