3 Tips to Help Get Your Child to Sleep

Does your child struggle with falling asleep? Many parents face this difficult, and sometimes daunting problem. Maybe you put your child to bed and 20-30 minutes later, he or she is still awake and telling you that he or she can't sleep.

It’s understandably frustrating for parents, particularly after a long day, because your child's bedtime may be your first real opportunity to unwind. If you find yourself experiencing issues with bedtime, here are some tips to help your son or daughter get settled in for a good night's sleep.

Nightly routine –
Children need structure and consistency. Setting up a routine can help your child mentally prepare for bedtime. For example, you could set a daily 6 pm dinner, 7 pm bath, 7:30 story and 8 pm for bedtime. Sticking to a basic routine helps your child begin to wind down and get into the mindset that bedtime is approaching.

Practicing relaxation –
Relaxation is a great way to wind down before bed. Try practicing relaxation exercises with your son or daughter. Find a quiet place to sit with your child and take deep breaths together; this can slow down your child’s mind and help him or her feel more centered. If you are looking to practice a meditation together, there are plenty of excellent resources to find guided meditations. You can find meditations through apps like Headspace or online through YouTube. There’s an assortment of exercises geared for people of all ages.

Screen time –
Ending screen time an hour before bed may help your child fall asleep more easily. Devices like phones, tablets, and TVs engage the brain with exciting information. This stimulation triggers emotional and hormonal responses (such as adrenaline), which can reduce your son or daughter’s ability to fall asleep. By limiting screen time before bed, your child can unwind without being engrossed in a show right before bedtime.

If you are incorporating a bedtime routine and your child continues to struggle with falling asleep, discuss this with your child's doctor. Your pediatrician may be able to provide additional tips to help your child fall asleep or stay asleep throughout the night. One of the greatest gifts you can give your son or daughter is a good night's sleep! Help is out there, and you do not have to figure it out on your own.