All children need a healthy amount of sleep to make sure that they are prepared for the day and to encourage good development of the body and mind.
Children feel more settled, happy and ready for their day when they have had good quality sleep.
We all know that the body has to rest and a good sleep helps children concentrate, behave and be alert - which makes them a happy child .
At primary school age children need 10-11 hours sleep a night. They’re usually tired after school and might look forward to bedtime from about 7.30 pm.
Routine is essential. Involve your child in a regular routine, talk about the bedtime routine so that they know it is part of the daily activity.
Each child varies and you know what works best for your child.
How to encourage good sleep habits:
Keep regular sleep and wake times, even on the weekend, if possible.
Make sure your child gets plenty of natural light and exercise during the day.
Turn computers, tablets, gaming consoles and TV off an hour before bedtime.
Have a snack or a warm drink of milk/choco.
Read a book together or take about the day and have ten minutes of downtime together.
Have a quiet, and dimly lit place to sleep.
Check the temperature too hot or too cold can both be uncomfortable.
Is your child experiencing sleep problems, or has trouble getting to sleep or has disturbed sleep.
Sleep problems can be : nightmares, night-time fears, sleepwalking, separation issues, resisting bedtime, wanting something and calling out all the time, restlessness and much more.
Children all behave in different ways and sometimes if things are not right at school with friends, classroom dynamics, learning new things, moving to new classes or home or if they are worried about something in general their sleep might be disturbed.
Children also go through phases of pushing the boundaries with us parents so there might be a period when they are not particularly listening to the rules or find going to bed hardwork. This is normal children like to challenge us.
Sometimes children are over tired and they take longer to go to sleep whilst other days it might be they fall asleep easily.
There are many possibilities why your child is struggling to sleep, but the main thing is to make sure is your child is well and not anxious or worried about something.
Talking and listening to them about their concerns during the day can help but if bed time is the best time to get some time to understand why your child is finding it hard to sleep then give your child the time they need.
With some children because they are busy and occupied during the day going to bed is the time when they get time to switch off and just relax so they might feel that is the best time to talk and just air out their thoughts. Use this time to encourage good techniques to help them deal with fears and worries.
Talk to your childs teacher if you think there is a concern or if problems are persistent, it might be something you can work on together and get advice. Talk to your GP if you have concerns regarding your childs sleep if it is effecting your day to day routine. There are people who you can talk to and get advice and there is support groups.
We have searched the web for some helpful sites to visit if your child is struggling with sleep. Scroll through them :
The Sleep Council is an impartial, advisory organisation that raises the awareness of the importance of a good night’s sleep to health and wellbeing and provides helpful advice and tips on how to improve sleep quality and create the perfect sleep environment.
An in depth list and descriptions of children's sleeping problems, what they mean and how to work around them.
Family Lives gives helpful sleep advice for parents with disabled children. It gives many tips from the colours of the room to night panics.
This Australian website has a wide range of resources for parents and helpful hints to help you with your child and their sleep issues - sleep problems, sleep relaxation, good sleep habits, sleep problems for children with autism.
Supernanny has devised this resource with experts from Millpond Children's Sleep clinic on how to get your children to bed at the same time every night.
Bridge the Gap is a non-profit organisation dedicated to improving the mental health of children, parents and teachers in Derby City and beyond. Find out about free drop in sessions if you have concerns regarding your childs behaviour, sleep, emotional development, well-being or mental health.