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Parents’ Guide to Getting a Good Night’s Sleep for the Whole Family

March 1, 2016 by HealthyFamilies BC

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Parents’ guide to getting a good night’s sleep for the whole family

It’s that time of year again when the flowers start to bloom and the days get longer (and brighter) thanks to daylight savings. On Sunday, March 13th we Spring Forward so don’t forget to set your clocks ahead one hour.

This annual ritual is a highlight for many, but moving the clock forward can cause disruptions to normal sleeping patterns for adults and children. Perhaps you can sneak in a nap the Saturday prior?

There’s something to be said for getting a good night’s sleep. Think of daylight savings as a reminder to focus on getting enough sleep regularly. Having a consistent nightly routine can improve your sleep and keep your body healthy. Read these better sleep tips for adults.

Nightly routines are also very important for children and can help cut down bedtime challenges. Sleep can also impact your child’s learning ability; good-quality sleep can improve their concentration, memory and behaviour. Read about the connection between sleep and learning here.

Follow these three tips to ensure your children have a good night’s sleep:

1.    Stay Consistent
Does your child call out or get out of bed in the night? This is common in children from around nine months. Children can begin to develop separation anxiety which means they either want to keep you with them at bedtime or they call out in the night with “requests”. Requests can range from asking for a glass of water to one more goodnight kiss. It’s important for parents to stay consistent with how you respond to these requests and bedtime etiquette.

2.    Create Sleeping Routines
What your family does before bedtime can have a real impact on your child’s sleeping pattern. Try relaxing before bed and maintain regular sleep and wake times (even on the weekends). Other factors such as your child’s sleep environment and their health and nutrition can contribute to sleep problems. Focus on these 10 tips for good sleep habits and make adjustments to help increase the zzz’s.

3.    Responding to Nightmares
Most children experience night terrors and nightmares at some point. Knowing the difference may help you respond to your child during or after the event. Night terrors can be sudden and cause your child to stand up, shake, move around, cry or scream. Don’t be alarmed, these are natural events associated with the normal development of sleep in children. On the other hand, nightmares are often the product of a visual imagination. If your child wakes from a nightmare you can reassure them with a quick cuddle. Find out more about how to respond to your child after night terrors or a nightmare.

Remember that the way you respond to your child in the morning can be equally beneficial. If your child has a good night’s sleep make an effort to praise them. Perhaps you want to celebrate with a special breakfast or create a reward chart to encourage the bedtime behavior that you want. Happy sleeping!


Related blogs

Encouraging a Healthy Sleep Schedule for Babies
You Sleep Better When you are Active

Recommended resources

Sleep: Helping Your Children-and Yourself-Sleep Well
Sleeping Better
Nightmares and Other Sleep Problems in Children

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