Children need sleep to grow, develop, learn and remember. Many common sleep problems in children and adolescents can be avoided by making sleep a priority for the whole family. Our sleep experts share their top 10 tips for how to help children get in to a healthy sleep routine and get a good night’s sleep.
Create a relaxing and comfortable sleep environment.
Keep the bedroom dark and cool to help your child relax and fall asleep.
Have a consistent bedtime routine.
Turn electronics off 60 minutes before bedtime and spend 30 minutes of quiet, relaxing activities, such as reading or taking a warm bath before lights out.
Maintain a consistent bed time and wake time every day.
Go to bed and wake up around the same time each day, even on weekends and vacations, will train the body to go to fall asleep and wake up easily.
Keep technology out of the bedroom.
Ban TVs, cell phones, tablets, and computers from bedrooms. Create a central charging station away from bedrooms for electronic devices so they won’t interfere with sleep.
End caffeine consumption at lunch.
Caffeinated beverages are not recommended for children. Consume these drinks before lunch to prevent difficulty falling asleep.
No naps close to bedtime.
Allow children to nap based on age and developmental needs only. Avoid long and frequent naps, and naps
that end too close to bedtime.
Be firm and consistent with delay tactics.
Let a child know that bedtime means exactly that. If parents consistently set limits, children will be less likely to protest or delay at bedtime.
Enjoy the morning sunshine.
Open curtains in the morning and spend time outside every day. Morning sunshine and bright light will make it easier to wake up and stay on a consistent sleep schedule.
Watch medicines that can affect sleep.
Read medicine labels as some can cause excessive sleepiness or insomnia. Ask your doctor which medicines to avoid if your child is having sleep problems.
Make sleep a priority for every family member.
Children are more likely to develop good sleep habits if their parents follow healthy sleep behaviors.
This information has been approved by Lisa J. Meltzer, PhD (February 2017).