Sleep Habits For Children: Tips For A Better Night’s Rest

Sleep is the time when your body and mind reset and is essential for maintaining baseline mental health and overall well-being. Sleep is especially important for children as it affects nearly every aspect of their development. However, getting a good night’s sleep can be a challenge for some children. Establishing good sleep habits can go a long way.

Sleep Habits For Children

Here at Wake Forest Pediatrics, we understand how important it is for your child to get enough sleep. As a parent, it can be frustrating to see your child struggle with sleep, but with a few tips and sleep habits to follow on a regular basis, your child will be able to catch all the z’s their growing body needs. 

1. Have A Set Bedtime Routine

Children thrive on routine, and having a consistent bedtime routine can have a positive impact on their quality of sleep. Creating a bedtime routine usually includes a few pre-slumber activities, such as bathing, putting on pajamas, brushing teeth, or reading a story or another calming activity. Sleep habits such as a bedtime routine can help a child’s body fall into a pattern, which will help them recognize the signals that it’s time to go to sleep. 

2. Limit Screen Time Before Bed

Having a set bedtime routine is important, but there are things you want to steer clear of when developing one for your child. One thing you want to stay away from when creating this routine is screen time. Electronic devices such as iPads, TVs, and smartphones emit blue light. Blue light is known to disrupt the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle and make it harder to fall asleep. This is especially true for children who are exposed to blue light before sleep. Not only can electronics make it difficult for your child to fall asleep, but they also can affect the length and quality of their sleep. It is recommended that children avoid screen time for two hours before going to bed.

3. Know How Much Sleep Your Child Needs

When it comes to your child’s sleep schedule, it is important to know how much sleep they need based on their age and development. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) has guidelines for the amount of sleep children should get. The current guidelines are as follows:

  • Infants (4 months to 12 months): 12 to 16 hours (including naps)
  • Toddlers (1 to 2 years): 11 to 14 hours (including naps)
  • Preschoolers (3 to 5 years): 10 to 13 hours (including naps)
  • School-Aged (6 to 12 years): 9 to 12 hours
  • Teens (13 to 18 years): 8 to 10 hours

It is important to remember that every child is different, and your child’s sleep schedule may look different depending on various factors. Children who are well-rested tend to be more focused, attentive, and cooperative. If you have more questions about how much sleep your child should be getting, contact their pediatrician.

4. Encourage Play Throughout The Day

The benefits of play in your child’s growth and development are particularly important. Play helps your child learn new skills, build social relationships, explore their interests, and help build strong bodies. Encouraging play throughout the day is also important when it comes to developing positive sleep habits. The more your child plays throughout the day, the more likely they are to have better sleep quality. It is important to encourage your child to get outside and use their imagination. 

5. Avoid Going To Sleep Hungry

Oftentimes, you may neglect thinking of food consumption when it comes to good sleep habits. However, it is important that your child does not go to bed on an empty stomach. If your child goes to bed hungry, it can affect their ability to fall asleep. If your child asks for a snack before bed, ensure it is high in protein or fiber. These snacks can include nuts, green yogurt, eggs, berries, or whole grains.

Establishing good sleep habits can take time, but with a little consistency and patience, you can help your child get the proper amount of sleep. The board-certified pediatricians and staff at Wake Forest Pediatrics are dedicated to providing quality care to patients in Wake Forest and Knightdale. Our comprehensive approach focuses on teamwork and open communication with patients and parents. If you have questions about your children’s sleep habits, call our Wake Forest office at 919-556-4779 or our Knightdale office at 919-266-5059 to make an appointment.

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