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No two people in life will ever walk the same path and that makes universal truths rather hard to come by. However, ask any parent what the worst thing in their little world is and they will tell you – in no uncertain terms – it’s an overtired child.
For the first ten minutes, tired children are the most hysterical and hilarious comedians to have ever lived. That’s a fact. After ten minutes, though, they become the worst. The slightest little can set off a mushroom cloud type meltdown. It’s incredible. That is why every parent with internet access has, at some point in their fraught existence, Googled how to get your child to sleep.
Of course, getting your “little angel” to enjoy a solid night of slumber isn’t all about protecting your own patience. It is also about them. Yup. Sleep is good. And with that in mind, we have pulled together a list of simple steps you can take to ensure your little one gets a much better night sleep way more often.
It’s Time To Pull The Plug
You don’t need to go over the top and start reading dissertations by pediatric psychologists to know that screens are not good for sleep. We all know this. Something about holding a bright blue light six inches away from your eyeballs doesn’t help people drift off. We know, right; it’s weird. Anyway, this kind of screen-induced sleep disruption is even worse amongst teenagers and younger because their eyes, brains and minds are still developing, which means their melatonin levels drop dramatically. What does all this mean? Simple. Screens are bad. Screens are bad for getting to sleep, screens leave sleep quality left wanting and screens mean fewer hours of sleep. So, what you need to do is ban them from your kid’s bedroom. How you do it is up to you, but we find bribery usually works wonders.
Get Them A Marshmallow Mattress
Kids mattresses are notorious for not being as high quality. It’s as if manufacturers think a good mattress will be wasted on the youth. What a load of nonsense. Kids need good mattresses just as much – if not more – than us so-called adults do. Like we said in the preamble, if they don’t sleep well then you don’t live well. Seriously, waste no time on this front, by which we mean go online and grab a decent “kiddie” mattress right now, in which you can learn more at Mattresslife.com. It could be that a pocket spring mattress works wonders, or something that has a memory foam topper, or something a little longer and wider does the trick. Whatever it is, it will be worth the investment because you simply cannot put a price on your sanity – or your little one’s health.
Bedtime Snacks Can Work Wonders
Ahhh, the dreaded food coma. You know the one where you sit down for a big Sunday roast at around two in the afternoon only to be left fighting sleep afterwards, your eyes feeling just as heavy as your greedy belly. Well, this sleepiness can be replicated by other foods (without the need for excessive eating). Yogurt, peanut butter, cheese, bananas, chicken, eggs, oatmeal; all these foods bring about that feeling of tiredness. So, maybe it is time you start serving a little bit of pudding with each dinner. If nothing else, it may stop your kids from turning into Tasmanian Devils every time you say, “right, it’s bedtime”.
It’s Not A Game
We’ve mentioned how screens can drastically disrupt a child’s sleep. But if we had to pick just one form of screen that was worse than all the rest we would have to choose video games. It’s not even close. It’s not just the blue screen, it’s how jacked up they make your mind, which is easy to understand because video games these days need you – the player – to be more on alert than a hungry spider. Now, we’re not saying you need to go all rockstar and throw your child’s console out of the window , but you should definitely have a cut off time, say ninety minutes before bed. That way their bodies and brains can settle down in time for slumber.
Nothing Less Than Total Darkness
This is one of those things that so many adults can empathise with. Sure, some unicorns out there can fall asleep with the curtains wide open and the lights on. But, for most people, even that little green light on the Macbook charger is enough to keep them awake. Don’t inflict this same disruption on your kids. That means getting rid of all forms of light pollution, whether it be blackout blinds to stop street light from creeping into their room or swapping their alarm clock for something that doesn’t have a blinking red light to signal the seconds. Of course, not all kids will be cool with this because some are scared of the dark. If this is the case with your child, what you should do is leave the hall light on and then switch it off when you go to bed, or put it on a timer so that it does it all by itself.
Relax With A Routine
Routine is a kid’s best friend. It really is. They thrive off it, survive off it, and need it more than they can ever tell you. That is why you need to create all the routine you can. Have a set bedtime, get them into the pajamas before brushing their teeth, read a story or two surrounded by all their cuddly toys and then, when they are all tucked up in bed with the light off, have a little chit-chat about their day and make sure they feel as loved as possible. That’s the secret here. The more loved someone feels the more they relax. So do all you can to calm and soothe and send them off to slumberland.