7 Ways to Combat Kids' Sleep Problems
Bedtime tips for getting kids to sleep through the night.
Your toddler wakes up several times a night, calling for "Mommy." Your
6-year-old simply refuses to go to bed. Catering to both, you and your spouse
are in and out of bed all night - and perpetually exhausted.
Not surprisingly, parents are twice as likely to say they sleep less than
six hours a night if they have a child who ranks at the bottom for shuteye. And
the consequences can be serious. Sleep affects mood, the immune system, and the
ability to learn new skills. A restless child can also cause stress on a
marriage or relationship. Bottom line: Finding a sleep solution is important
for your family's health and happiness. Here are some tips to make sure
everyone in your household gets a good night's rest:
Start a routine. Initiate a nightly routine that signals that it's
almost time for bed, and follow this ritual at roughly the same time every
night. This may include brushing teeth, taking a warm bath, putting on PJs, and
Set the scene. Create a quiet, comfortable bedroom without
distractions, such as a TV.
Track caffeine. Watch out for hidden sources of caffeine in your
child's diet, such as chocolate, tea, or soda drinks, and coffee-flavored
desserts. According to the National Sleep Foundation, 26% of children 3 and
older drink at least one caffeinated beverage a day - and consequently lose 30
minutes of sleep nightly.
Watch the medications. Ask your doctor or pediatrician about anything
in your child's medications that might encourage alertness, including
over-the-counter drugs for colds and flu.
Put them down drowsy. Leave when your kids are on the cusp of sleep
but haven't yet surrendered to it. If you are there the moment they fall
asleep, they will have a difficult time going back to sleep on their own if
they awaken in the middle of the night.
ID problems. Learn to recognize sleep problems. The most common in
children include multiple nighttime awakenings, snoring, trouble breathing, and
loud or heavy breathing while sleeping. These problems can lead to unhealthy
daytime behavior, such as being overtired, sleepy, or cranky.
Talk with your doctor. Consult your pediatrician about sleep -- even
if your MD doesn't broach the topic. He or she may have further insight,
knowing your child's health history, that could help.