How to Help Kids Sleep Through the Night
We cannot be the best versions of ourselves and form the best bonds with our kids if we are completely exhausted. Good sleep is crucial for both parents and children.
One of the first hurdles new parents face is learning how to sleep train a toddler. Even seasoned moms and dads may struggle on how to get a toddler to sleep, and it is not an uncommon complaint for parents of elementary-aged children as well.
Establishing good sleep habits for kids allows not only a sound night’s rest for parents, but it also helps kids wake up feeling refreshed. Sleep is especially important as children head off to school.
Here are five tips on how to get kids to sleep through the night:
Create a routine
Keep your child’s schedule of activities in the same order each day so that they know what to expect, especially when it comes time to head to bed. Creating a set schedule, which includes a regular bedtime, adds a crucial element of consistency. Aim for regular playtimes and mealtimes as well.
Creating a set schedule, which includes a regular bedtime, adds a crucial element of consistency.
Avoid a huge meal
Eating a lot of food before heading to bed may lead to indigestion. It is also best to avoid sugary juices and snacks, which may lead to sugar-stimulated kids who would rather play than snooze.
Evening hours may not be the best time for a rousing game, especially if you want your little ones to sleep through the night. Be sure to use daylight hours for lots of activity and opt for quieter choices at night. Give your child time to calm down and unwind without a ton of stimulation about 45 minutes prior to sleeping.
Set a restful mood
Is your child’s room cold or exceptionally hot? Are there bright lights? Make sure your child’s room is dark and calm to create the best environment possible for a rest that lasts the entire night.
“I feel like as a generation we are losing sleep over our kids’ sleep.”
Try a variety of sleep training methods
Mom and pediatrician Dr. Mona Amin suggested that parents research and test out different methods of sleep training to help kids learn the skills to sleep on their own. Amin noted that sleep training methods vary widely, so the key is finding an approach that works best for your individual family.
“I feel like as a generation we are losing sleep over our kids’ sleep,” Amin said. “We as a generation have made such a big deal about sleep training, when it’s really not something that is a big deal.”
If you have followed the above steps and your child is still not sleeping through the night, something else may be at play. Perhaps your child has anxiety; something may be bothering them, and they do not know how to shut down their worried brain. Or you could have a strong-willed child on your hands who just wants to be part of what everyone else is doing instead of hunkering down in bed.
If sleep resistance persists, it is best to talk with your pediatrician for tips that are best suited for your unique child.