There is more research these days than ever that points to the importance of children getting enough sleep each night. Data shows that sleep patterns and routines have both long-term and short-term effects on the health of children as well as their cognitive behavior. Without even realizing it, the bedtime routines we experience as children stay with us into adulthood.
To avoid behavioral and emotional problems with our kids, it is very important to make sure they get the right amount of sleep on a regular basis. But for many Mesa and Gilbert parents, that is sometimes much easier said than done. Getting kids to sleep can be quite a chore.
One specific challenge that arises when getting kids to sleep is enforcing an appropriate bedtime. Studies show that having a consistent and regular bedtime makes a huge difference in helping kids get the sleep they need, which leads to a healthier childhood development. There are some specific things you can do as parents to help enforce bedtime.
Choose an Appropriate Bedtime
When choosing a bedtime, consider both your evening routine and your morning routine. Choose a time that will allow your child the appropriate amount of sleep without disrupting their morning schedule. For example, if your child needs to leave the house at 7:30 am in order to make it to daycare on time and they need 10 hours of sleep, be sure to plan accordingly.
The trick is, once you choose a bedtime, sticking with it. The more you change bedtime, the more of a struggle it will be for your child to conform.
Consistency and Routine
One of the most important things you can do as a parent to help enforce bedtime for your kids is to stick to a bedtime routine. The more consistent you can be with the activities leading up to bedtime, the more likely your child will be able to go to sleep on time. A good bedtime routine should take into account dinner, baths, brushing teeth and any other task you might have your children do before bed.
Choose an order for these events to take place and then make that your routine. What makes things difficult is when you begin to switch the order around. Changing the routine, even in the slightest way, can throw your children off, making it more difficult for them to slow down and relax at bedtime.
Stay Away From Medication
Some parents have struggled so much with enforcing bedtimes that they have turned to medicating their children before bedtime. Doctors and experts agree that this is not the best choice. In some cases, medication may be necessary to help a child get the sleep they need, but this should be a decision made with your pediatrician. Using medication to help children sleep can lead to health problems and some children even grow immune to the effects of the medicine.
If you are experiencing difficulty in getting your child to sleep, talk with one of the experts at AllKids Pediatric Urgent Care in either our Mesa or Gilbert location. We are always willing to offer our advice.