As a preschool teacher, I am often asked what advice I have for children starting school in the fall. My first answer is always for parents to make sure their child is getting quality sleep. Better sleep equals better behavior, it is that simple.
So many of us are sleep deprived. But while adults like you and I can power through some of that, young kids can’t. When young children are sleep deprived they can’t hold it together, and often their behavior suffers. It’s not just how many hours kids get, but the quality of sleep that matters.
Here are six ways you can help your child get better sleep:
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- Keep a Consistent Routine – In our house, this means three stories or chapters before bed, lights off, and a quick (or not so quick) cuddle before sleep. Maybe you include a nightly bath or family prayers, but whatever your routine is, stick to it.
- Do not rush night time potty training because all children’s bodies develop at slightly different rates. It’s normal for children up to age seven not to stay dry at night. Being stressed about not wetting the bed doesn’t help your child get a restful night’s sleep.
- Turn off screens well before bedtime. The rule we try our very best to stick to is no screen after dinner. This helps children relax before bed.
- Adjust your schedule so there are no distractions like sports or dance rehearsals that go past bedtime.
- Make sure your child’s bed is comfortable and they have a quality mattress like this one from Nectar that will provide great sleep but won’t break your budget!
- White Noise – the sounds of waves crashing on the shore is the nighttime soundtrack at our house.
As a parent and a teacher, I know that consistency is hard with young children but I also know it pays off. All of these steps are things you can change and adjust to make your child have a better day, and good days build on themselves which pays off big time!