As a tired parent, you probably look forward to a nice long rest in a cozy bed at the end of the night. Your child, however, might have other priorities. As a pediatrician and a parent, I know that a lot of children struggle with going to sleep and staying asleep — it’s a common issue in my practice! Whether they ask for more milk, throw a tantrum, or plead for more reading time, bedtime can be a struggle for both of you. So why is sleep important for kids, and how can you help your children get enough snooze time?
Why is Sleep Important for Kids?
Research shows that kids who get enough sleep actually do better in terms of physical and mental health, including these areas:
Sleep is important for proper brain development and physical growth, which enhances your kids’ performance at school and in their everyday life. Without the right amount of sleep, children can become hyperactive, grumpy, and struggle to focus. The quality of sleep matters, too — poor sleep quality can contribute to these issues in the future:
- Immune system problems
- High blood pressure
5 Tips to Create a Night Routine for Easier Sleep
- Start at an Early Age
The earlier you start, the easier it will be for your child to stick to this habit as they grow up. For infants, be sure to meet all of their needs before bed — make sure they’re fed, dry, and warm.
- Wind Down an Hour Before Bed
Shut electronics down an hour before bed as the blue light can affect how quickly your kids fall asleep. Instead, opt for soothing, screen-free activities, like reading together. A warm bath can also relax your child and encourage them to sleep.
- Establish an Evening Routine
Children do best with consistency in their night routines. First, establish what you will do and what order you will do it in. For example, you can choose a time to shut down electronics, take a bath, brush your teeth together, pick out pajamas, and read a book.
- Involve Your Kids in Decisions
Let your kids make small choices, like choosing which pajamas to wear or what book to read. This will give them a sense of agency while leaving you in charge of the big decisions.
- Limit TV Time
Research shows that children under three who watch more TV are more likely to have irregular bedtime and naptime schedules. Per the recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics, kids who are two years old or younger should not watch TV at all. Instead, try to involve your kids in more screen-free activities, like playing outside, reading, and painting.
Help Your Child Sleep Better
Why is sleep important for kids? In short, it helps set them up for success in school and life. To make sleep time easier, create a peaceful, relaxing wind down routine. If you want to make sure your child is getting enough sleep or find that your child is having trouble with bedtime, book a session with Dr. Mafut here or call our office at 305-777-3505.