The clocks going back can really mess with kids body clocks. Has that once great sleeper you were able to boast about gone completely out of sorts? You’re not alone! As a mother of 7 year old boy (who is a complete messer, but a sweetheart!) I can sympathies with that. Seán, the said 7 year old messer, usually sleeps 11 – 12 hours solid, every night, lucky me. He falls into such a deep sleep that I can even hoover his bedroom, with the lights on, and he won’t budge. But that dreaded hour adjustment takes a bit of effort to get things back on track. Are you in the same boat? While I must stress, I aint no expert (jez, who is when it comes to kids) I thought I’d share with you my tips to help get Seán back on track after the hour upheval. Seán needs 11-12 hours sleep, but bare in mind, the recommended sleep for a kid aged 6-13 years old is 9-11 hours.
Going to bed at the same every night is a big key to not only healthy sleep but a healthy mind. Set a realistic time, one that can be achieved what ever your lifestyle. Seán’s bed time is 7.30pm so at 7pm bedtime routing begins.
WIND DOWN TIME
Develop a consistent and relaxing bedtime routine that lasts 20-30 minutes. Keep horse play to a minimum, the last thing you want to is stimulate your child’s mind and have them hyper before bed. Warm bath or shower to relax, comfy PJ’s to feel snug and relaxed and talk about your day. Snuggle up in bed and read a book, it’s so simple but helps to develop such a wonderful connection. For both Seán and me it’s our favourite time of the day because you get to really relax and connect. Seán has taken a shinning to Roald Dahl books so we read a chapter per night. Most nights I give him a key word to watch out for as I read, one he’s learning at school, so his brain wears out! Got more than one child? All snuggle up together and read a book.
It goes without saying, keep the sugar to a minimum. Falling asleep after a sugar crash is not healthy for the mind or the oul cholesterol among other reasons too so, wrap up the sugary snacks well before bed time routine even begins. It’s not encouraged to give kids a heavy meal before bed either. It’s actually rather unhealthy as the body doesn’t have time to digest the food properly which effects blood sugars, waistline and quality of sleep. It can be discomforting on kids and effects sleep causing them to wake up several times. It’s a sleeping child we want remember!
This could be said for a lot of adults too. Shut off your child’s computers, iPads, tablets, iPhones… everything! Let their brain come out of auto drive and let their eyes readjust from the mass of colours and bright lights. Apparently it takes 20 minutes for the brain to readjust after looking at a screen so that’s another reason to give bedtime routine 20-30 minutes.
Be patient. Urgh, that dreaded statement that most parents hate, but it’s so true. Preserver with a healthy routine, I promise you kids will follow suit. Keep things light hearted, avoid raised voices and dictation. After a week or two your lil darling will be right as rain with their sleep adjusted back to normal… back to boasting about your lil darling that sleeps 11-12 hours a night!
If you want ot go the extra mile or you want to try something different for a child with a very active brain, try Yoga. It’s new for them, it’s exciting and it’s fun. While kids might just giggle at their parents or siblings instructing them to make funny poses, try a third party. I have mentioned GoNoodle before, this boasts a whole range of relaxing bed time yoga routines and even kids meditation. However, I found this clip from You Tube particularly good, and fun!
Mother’s (and father’s) can never have too much info, share with us your tips to get your lil darlings off to sleep!
Mama -Dee xx