The simple joys of life: Reading bedtime stories to your child, carrying them back to their room when they fall asleep in yours… Yet, these are also the very things that might be causing your child’s restlessness at bedtime, or premature fatigue in the day.
Sleep is vital in helping children re-energise and stay healthy. Dr Vanessa von Auer of VAPC Psychology Center shares her top tips for helping your little one sleep well.
Events associated with bedtime may have developed into a trigger over the years. For example, if your child has grown accustomed to having a bedtime story read to him or her every night, he or she may likely face problems sleeping if this routine is suddenly discontinued.
This may result in your child feeling anxious before bedtime and cause restless sleep.
NEXT: Be sensitive to your child’s environment →
If your child frequently falls asleep in your room and is suddenly taken back to his or her room later, he or she may wake up, having realised the change of environment.
This may cause disorientation, and can result in having to coax your child back to sleep.
Over time, your child will expect to remain in your presence until he or she falls asleep.
NEXT: Reduce your child’s dependence →
Establish a period of ‘quiet time’ before your child goes to bed. This can consist of anxiety-reducing activities like you and your child interacting in hushed voices or your child being tasked with putting on his or her own pyjamas.
If your child is used to falling asleep to the sound of the TV, he or she may need this stimulus to fall asleep. Decrease these cues so your child can fall asleep without sensory aids.
NEXT: And if all else fails… →
If these methods fail, seek out expert help. Consider speaking to a paediatrician who can help assess your child for any undiagnosed medical conditions that may be causing restless sleep.
NEXT: Don’t disrupt habits →
From The Finder (Issue 283), June 2017
Like this? Read more kids’ health stories here,