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Help Your Child Get a Good Night Sleep

Sleep… the topic that unites all parents! Sadly there’s no magic solution to getting your kids to sleep and to stay asleep but there are some things you can do to make it more likely to happen. We all know how important sleep is for our children. It’s how they re-charge, learn and grow, and contributes to both physical and mental development. So how can we help?

Research clearly shows that a consistent bedtime routine plays a big role in helping children get to sleep. First, make sure your child’s bedtime hour is appropriate for their age and will result in enough sleep. Don’t wait till your child is overly tired; interestingly, this makes it harder for them to fall asleep. Start a wind-down routine about one hour before bedtime. Quiet and relaxing activities such as a soothing bath, singing songs, quietly talking and reading stories all can help.

In fact, reading may be the best of all. A recent study showed that just six minutes of reading slows down the heart rate and eases muscle tension more quickly than going for a walk or listening to music. While this study focused on adults, the implications for children are no less important. Reading takes you to another world, the author’s world, and offers an escape. Couple an escape into an imaginary world with a warm snuggle on your lap and your child will relax and unwind from their busy day.

Also important is eliminating screen time before bed. The body of research around this topic is rapidly growing with some startling findings. The light emitted from electronic devices interferes with the brain by increasing alertness and suppressing the release of melatonin. Experts advise that there be no screen time at least 90 minutes or more before bedtime. Many even recommend as much as two or three hours of screen free time before bed, so consider having none at all after dinner. So, put the devices away, get your wee one ready for bed, and then enjoy some quiet time together with a good book or two. Wishing you sweet dreams.

The Community Early Years Partnership disseminates information about and promotes optimal infant and early childhood development to healthcare providers, community partners, parents and caregivers.


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