By Kelly Olson, MS, LMFT | The Village Family Service Center
Kids are like angels when they're asleep, but sometimes it can be a devil to get them to drift off to dreamland. Here are 15 tips to make sure your child gets his or her 40 winks.
- Routine. Have a routine and stick to it. This could include a bath, story, giving them a glass of water, lying with them, a good night "I love you." Consistency is the key.
- Reminders. Give your child a reminder of what comes next. First we will ..., then we will ...
- Visual schedules. Some children will benefit from visual reminders of what comes next. Create a chart using pictures, for example, of pajamas, a toothbrush, bed, book, lights out.
- Countdown. Give your child a countdown for activities. Remind her how many times you will say goodnight, say I love you.
- White noise. Try a fan or noise machine if something is waking your child.
- Diet. If your child is having trouble falling asleep, consider his diet. Watch consumption of sugar and caffeine.
- Unplug. Make sure your child turns off electronics and TV before going to bed.
- Activity. Pay attention to large motor activity prior to bed. Encourage quiet or calming activities.
- Use nightlight or child light for fears.
- Essential oils. Lavender oil can help with sleep.
- Temperature. A cooler room promotes better sleep. Have room temp cooler for better sleep.
- Child alarm clocks glow green when it's OK to wake.
- Evaluate naps. Is your child having a hard time getting to sleep? Is your child 4 or 5? Maybe consider skipping or reducing nap times.
- Rules. Establish rules surrounding bedtime. How many stories will be read? How many times they can come out of their room? How many hugs? Can they look at books while trying to fall asleep?
- Increase one-on-one time prior to sleep. If your child is waking for extra attention, increase the amount of time spent together to decrease need for increased attention at bedtime.