With the holidays approaching, you might find a change in your child’s sleep habits. I have some tips from Child and Family Therapist, Michele Kambolis, which will help you keep sleep schedules on track, and ensure that your child is getting the sleep they need.
Manage overnight disruptions. Once your child falls asleep it’s important that they have an uninterrupted sleep to thrive. However, this is a challenging obstacle for nighttime wetters. Nighttime wetting is an inevitable part of growing up (and it’s more common than you think), but it doesn’t have to be distressing. The best thing you can do for a child who experiences nighttime wetting is to manage the condition and instill a stress-free bedtime routine. Help your child understand that nighttime wetting is not their fault and is something their bodies will grow out of naturally. Set the stage for a peaceful rest by using GoodNites® Bedtime Pants to help your child feel secure and relaxed before bed, while allowing them to sleep through the night. They’re plush and super absorbent to help keep kids dry and comfortable all night, no matter what sleep position they prefer.
Create a clear transition time. Shut down homework, technology and high drive activity, opting instead for calming activities like bath time and reading. Encourage them to brush their teeth on their own or read independently for 10-15 minutes before bed.
Create a sleep-inducing environment.
A child’s language is play, and toys are their words – so imagine how fired up their brain system becomes as they scan a room lined up with stimulating toys, fun decorations and dazzling lighs. Instead, try placing toys in bins, well out of sight, and transition their room into a low-key environment with soft sheets, fuzzy socks, and relative quiet. If your child is afraid of the dark, try a dim nightlight or glow-in- the-dark wall stickers to keep them comfortable without disturbing their sleep.
Limit the lingering. Children are notorious nighttime lingerers, with endless requests for a snack, a glass of water, another trip to the bathroom or just one more hug. Once you’ve filled your child up emotionally with that nighttime bonding time, let them know when they’ve reached the bedtime bottom line with a “last call for questions.” Setting those final limits and sticking to them will give your little lingerer the firm message that their sleep is more important than extend-a-play.
Teach self-soothing. When children finally fall into bed and tune into their internal cues, they can become bombarded with a flurry of thoughts. Irrational fears and un-metabolized worries from the day can trigger high brain activity, disrupting both sleep and your child’s peace of mind. Remind your child to snuggle up to their comforting stuffed animal or blanket. Additionally, teaching children mindful diaphragm breathing, progressive relaxation, visualization and other techniques proven to calm their nervous system, can set them up for not only a goods night sleep, but also a lifetime of well-being.
Finally, do your best to make going to sleep a positive experience. Loving words, smiles, and understanding go a long way in helping your child learn sleep habits.