Promoting positive sleeping habits in children early on is crucial to their mental and physical health. In fact, it has been proven that getting an inefficient amount of sleep can have a negative impact on a child’s happiness, cognitive performance, mood, learning, memory, motor skill development, and so much more. If you’ve found that you’re having a hard time getting your kiddos into bed on time, you’re not alone. Believe it or not, many parents struggle to help their children form positive sleeping habits, due to the fact that they just don’t know where to start.
That’s where we come in. Our incredible PTN therapists have put together some insightful tips to share with you this month in honor of Sleep Awareness Week (March 14-20), that can help promote and keep positive sleeping habits in your kiddos moving forward. From practicing consistency to using visual schedules – here are some of our favorite tips to help your little ones form positive sleeping habits:
Establish a Consistent Bedtime and Naptime
Consistency is key when it comes to promoting healthy sleeping habits. When you put your child to bed or down for a nap at the same time each day, they eventually become familiar with their schedule and will be able to fall asleep more easily. It’s important to create a routine that works for you, your child, and any caregivers that are helping you out. One last thing that you’ll want to keep in mind when setting a sleep schedule is to ensure that your child is meeting the recommended amount of sleep each night (by age), according to the National Sleep Foundation:
- 0-3 Months Old: 14-17 hours
- 4-11 Months Old: 12-15 hours
- 1-2 Years Old: 11-14 hours
- 3-5 Years Old: 10-13 hours
- 6-13 Years Old: 9-11 hours
Use Sleep Cues That Target Different Sensory Systems
Another great tip from our therapists is to use sleep cues that focus on different sensory systems. There are certain things that you can do to relax your body simply by targeting your senses. For example, for auditory you can turn on white noise, for tactile cover up with a soft blanket, for visual you can hang black out curtains to block out any light, for olfactory you could use lavender lotion on your skin, for vestibular you can rock your child while they’re falling asleep, for proprioceptive you can swaddle your child or have them use a weighted blanket, and for oral you could have your child drink water from a cup using a straw before bed.
Implement Visual Schedules
Our final tip to promote positive sleeping habits is to use visual schedules as a part of your child’s bedtime routine. Visual schedules can help toddlers establish a clear understanding of bedtime routine and what expectations are in place. For example, your child’s visual schedule should focus on the routine that they’ll follow when getting ready for bed. Some items you may want to include as part of their schedule are taking a bath, putting on PJ’s, brushing and flossing, reading a bedtime story, and finally, going to bed.
Happy Sleep Awareness Week!
Follow us on our social media (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest) all month long for more helpful sleep tips, or feel free to contact us at any time to discuss if your child would benefit from pediatric therapy. As always, our team is here to support both you and your child in any way that we can.