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Setting the Sleep Mode for Children

Sleeping is important for children. Children often have various activities, busy schedules, homework, and even their favorite shows that they just don’t want to miss – so they end up getting less sleep. Doctor’s studying out sleeping habits have often said that children need anywhere from ten to eleven hours of sleep a night for a good nights rest. A good nights rest is helpful during those growing spurts and to keep your children in good moods all day long which is even more important when you want to get them out of that ‘napping’ stage.

Schedules are important in getting your children to sleep on time and for a length of time that meets their body’s requirements. When you know your child is going to be waking up at seven to go to the sitters while you go to work, having your child in bed by nine, each night, is going to help your child get into a habit of going to bed at the same time every night. As you put your children to bed each night at the same time, the routine actually will become very easy after a few days.

Don’t give extensions unless it is a very special occasion or unless you don’t have to get up in the morning. The best time to give your child an extension on their time to go to bed is on a holiday, vacation or on the weekend. Then your child will feel a little older, a little ‘bigger’ and they will realize that they have to go to bed the next night on their regular time because this is the schedule.

Try to give a snack that is on the lighter side, about an hour before bedtime if your child is always hungry. Giving a light snack like an apple, a few grapes, or a few crackers is going to keep them from using the excuse that they are hungry. Giving a snack about an hour before they go to bed will also allow their bellies to settle in for the night. Try not to give drinks for an hour before bedtime so there are no accidents that occur during the night, like peeing the bed, which can cause disruptive sleep as well.

For children of all ages, reading before they ‘get to sleep’ can help many fall to sleep faster. This is just another little ‘thing’ a part of the schedule the helps them settle into getting to sleep. For the child that is too young to read, set a time limit of just a chapter a night, or a set of pages, or for the very short books, you can read in about ten minutes. While you are settling your child in with reading them a book, they are more secure about ‘going to sleep’. Older children may get ten minutes reading time or maybe they don’t want a reading time but they have to be reading while in bed so they can relax while trying to get to sleep.

A night light that turns on, or that your child ‘turns on’ when they are getting into bed can help many fall asleep with that little extra added protection of a light. A night-light also will lead the way in case they have to get up in the middle of the night and get to the bathroom.

When it is time for the children to get to bed, they should not be able to hear your television or radio playing. If you are going to be awake after the child goes to bed, try to keep the noise down a little bit so that your child is not going to be preoccupied with listening to what you are watching on television.

If you have a hard time getting your child to sleep, be sure to keep them in their own beds. It might ‘feel’ good for your child to crawl in bed with you when they are young, but this can be dangerous if you would roll over on them, and it prolongs their ability to sleep in their own bed.  Tell your child that you will leave their light on, or give them a special bear if they don’t want to sleep in their own bed. You can lay down with your child in their bed and then get up and leave when they get to sleep, but at least they are sleeping in their own bed.

The key to getting your children into sleeping habits is to make schedules and have your children stick to them. The more you vary from your schedule, the grumpier the kids can be in the morning, and the more difficult it can be to ‘get them out of bed’ in the morning.

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