Does dealing with sleep problems in children keep you up at night? (Sometimes literally?)
When children don’t get the quality shuteye they need at night it can be exhausting for everyone. Not only is sleep essential for growth, but a lack of it can lead to attention problems, behavior issues, and a host of mental and physical health problems. Thankfully, there are plenty of simple, natural ways to make sure your kids get the rest their bodies need to thrive — all night, every night.
Try these 9 tips to help with sleep problems in children
1. Take it outside!
Remember, there’s no such thing as bad weather — only the wrong clothes.
Make sure your kids get a chance to play outdoors for at least 30 minutes every day, rain or shine. A daily dose of fresh air, sunshine and vigorous exercise is just what the doctor ordered for sleep problems in children.
2. Shut down screens at least an hour before shut-eye
Those glowing devices kids wind down with in the evening can definitely cause sleep problems in children. Screens emit light that’s the same wavelength as broad daylight, inhibiting sleep-inducing melatonin production.
As bedtime approaches, turn off all TVs, tablets, laptops, and video games and replace them with an hour of analog activities, like art projects, board games, or building blocks.
If your child needs to stare at a screen before bed, try giving them blue light-blocking-glasses or changing the display settings on their device.
3. Turn down the temperature
Ever notice it’s easier to fall asleep in cool rooms than warm ones? Our body temperatures naturally rise and fall in 24-hour cycles, gradually dropping in the hours before we fall asleep. Try lowering your thermostat between 60 and 67 degrees as your kids’ bedtime approaches to signal that it’s almost time to hit the hay.
4. Behold the wonders of a weighted blanket
When it comes to natural sleep solutions, weighted blankets are a clear winner. They work for kids the same way swaddling works for newborns by mimicking what occupational therapists call “Deep Touch Pressure” (DTP) therapy, which calms anxiety and treats sensory disorders.
5. Lay on the lavender
If your kid struggles with bedtime anxiety, the fragrance of lavender is a simple but proven secret to settling nerves. Introducing a lavender-scented pillow spray, essential oil diffuser, or bubble bath to your kids’ bedtime routine can soothe them straight into sleep mode.
6. Switch on some white noise
The steady rush of rainfall, ocean waves, or even a basic window fan will drown out all other noises (including thoughts), sending even the most reluctant sleepers to slumberland. White noise is a tried and true method for dealing with sleep problems in children, but also used by many adults as well.
Use the same sound every night, and your kids will start to associate it with sleepytime and they’ll nod off in no time.
7. Abolish all artificial light
When you say it’s “lights out” time, make sure you really mean it. Any artificial light, even the street lights outside can cause sleep problems in children and make it hard for your child to fall (and more importantly, stay) asleep.
Remove all screens from the bedroom, and swap out window sheers for light-blocking curtains. If your kid insists on using a nightlight, make sure you turn it off after they’ve fallen asleep.
8. Put something in their bellies before bed
Kids have an easier time drifting off when their stomachs are digesting something. We’re not talking a full meal, here — more like a light protein-rich nibble about an hour before bed. Just make sure you skip the sugary snacks to avoid a spike in blood sugar levels.
9. Stick to a consistent sleep schedule (yes, even on weekends)
Unfortunately, sleep problems in children don’t take Saturdays and Sundays off. Sending your kids to bed at the same time every night of the week helps keep their natural circadian rhythms on track, making bedtime a breeze.
Have any other natural tips for getting the kiddos to sleep? Let us know in the comments below 🙂
Senior Author & Chief Editor
Based in Tempe, AZ
I started writing in college and am thankful to have turned it into a growing career. I love to create and share content that hits home for me, and hopefully helps others at home. I’m the proud mom of 2 beautiful boys, and a gorgeous baby girl.
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