Stress can be product of any number of thoughts racing through your child’s head—from not wanting to miss out on anything exciting to fear of bedtime solitude. Here are a few tips shared by Psychology Today to help parents and caregivers enhance the comforting environment associated with healthy sleep for children:
- Avoid emotional or potentially frightening media: Things that look strange and weird can easily scare children under the age of 6. To keep their minds peaceful, be mindful of negative and scary images throughout the day. Additionally, television and movies should be halted 90 minutes before bedtime to allow the hormone melatonin to make your children drowsy.
- Create a bed time routine: A soothing, consistent bedtime ritual will allow your children to grow comfortable with the preparations for sleep. Children also appreciate the signal that bedtime is near, as it gives them a sense of control over the situation.
- Build a quite time—toddlers are often not the most skilled at winding down, it is important to establish a quiet time for relaxation, perhaps quiet reading or a lullabye
- Be positive: Toddlers seek attention, good or bad, so tell your little one how great they’re doing while preparing for bed. A little positive reinforcement goes a long way towards confidence building!
However, the most important step is to be patient and encouraging. Proper sleep for children helps them process new information, supports psychological changes and can even promote better behavior. Take a look at the sleep recommendations shared by the National Sleep Foundation and get started creating healthy sleep habits today!