Help Your Child Get Better Sleep!
To ensure that kids will thrive and be at their best during the day, they need to get a restful and uninterrupted night of sleep.
The quality of their sleep will have a big impact on their overall brain health. Studies have shown that it’s one of the keys to our child’s entire well-being. Sleep affects children’s ability to manage emotions, regulate behaviour, integrate information, and focus.
Whether your kids are experiencing bad dreams or nighttime wetting, disruptive sleep can put your child’s development at risk. Their brains will lack the rest needed to grow optimally, their insulin levels and metabolism may become imbalanced, and their immune functions can become compromised.
Here’s the thing, sleep doesn’t need to be elusive for our kids. You can help them get into healthy sleep habits and pre-bedtime routines so that they become hard-wired into their brain system for life.
I had the pleasure of meeting Child and Family Therapist, Michele Kambolis last year at the GoodNites event at Great Wolf Lodge Niagara. She shared her story with us and taught us how to help our kids if they are experiencing nighttime wetting.
Read on for her tips and 7 ways you can help your child get better sleep! Because if they’re rested, it will be a good day for everyone, right?
1. Set a Clear and Concise Transition Time.
Creating a transition that helps them to get accustomed to unwinding is essential. Shut down homework, technology and high drive activity, opting instead for calming activities like bath time and reading. This signals your child’s brain to slow down and relax.
When they’re ready, allow your child to be independent with their nighttime routine to ensure they learn how to settle in on their own. Encourage them to brush their teeth on their own or read independently for 10-15 minutes before bed.
2. Create a Sleep-Inducing Environment.
A child’s language is play, and toys are their words – so imagine how fired up their brain system becomes as they scan a room lined up with stimulating toys. Instead, try placing toys in bins, well out of sight, and transition their room into a low-key environment with soft sheets, fuzzy socks, and relative quiet. If your child is afraid of the dark, try a dim nightlight or glow-inthe-dark wall stickers to keep them comfortable without disturbing their sleep.
3. Limit the Lingering.
Children are notorious nighttime lingerers. I know that my youngest will find any excuse with endless requests for a snack, a glass of water, another trip to the bathroom or just one more hug. Though I am a sucker for one more hug. I’ll admit!
Once you’ve filled your child up emotionally with that nighttime bonding time, let them know when they’ve reached the bedtime bottom line with a “last call for questions.” Setting those final limits and ticking to them will give your little lingerer the firm message that their sleep is more important than extend-a-play.
4. Teach Self-Soothing.
When children finally fall into bed and tune into their internal cues, they can become bombarded with a flurry of thoughts. Irrational fears and un-metabolized worries from the day can trigger high brain activity, disrupting both sleep and your child’s peace of mind.
Remind your child to snuggle up to their comforting stuffed animal or blanket. Additionally, teaching children mindful diaphragm breathing, progressive relaxation, visualization and other techniques proven to calm their nervous system, can set them up for not only a good’s night sleep, but also a lifetime of well-being. Also, buying them gifts can relax their minds even though they are still little angels. Oh, by the way, are you looking for the perfect present for a baby shower? Here’s baby shower gift ideas for mums.
5. Have a “non-reaction” Reaction.
Children can become discouraged when wet bed sheets follow daytime dryness. They may feel stressed, disappointment, or embarrassed. React with reassurance, and allow your child to lean into you emotionally. Reinforce your support with encouragement by letting them know it’s not their fault and that you’re happy to help them get cleaned up.
As a child, I experienced this and I know the shame that I felt. Luckily, my parents didn’t make a big deal of it and helped me get cleaned up. As I grew, my bladder did as well and thankfully, we were able to overcome it.
If I had been yelled at or scolded, I would have felt so much worse. My girls never experienced nighttime wetting but, if they had, I would have definitely have had a “non-reaction” reaction.
6. Increase Comfort.
We know that kids need uninterrupted sleep to thrive. However, this is a challenging obstacle for nighttime wetters. Nighttime wetting is an inevitable part of growing up (and it’s more common than you think), but it doesn’t have to be stressful.
The best thing you can do for a child who experiences nighttime wetting is to manage the condition and instill a stress-free bedtime routine. Help your child understand that nighttime wetting is not their fault and is something their bodies will grow out of naturally. Explain to them that is is a phase and with time, it will get better.
Nighttime wetting affects one out of six children, is more common in boys, and is hereditary (there’s a 77% chance that a child will wet the bed if both parents did as a child). Just as children develop fine motor skills and language skills at different rates, they develop bladder control on their own schedules, as well.
7. Manage Overnight Disruptions.
You can help them by using GoodNites® Bedtime Pants to help your child feel secure and relaxed before bed, while allowing them to sleep through the night. They’re plush and super absorbent to help keep kids dry and comfortable all night, no matter what sleep position they prefer.
Waking up dry may have positive effects on your child’s self-esteem while easing stress (especially during sleepovers). The GoodNites® Bedtime Pants are a perfect way to transition your potty trained child, too.
The discreet design looks and feels like regular underwear with graphics your child will love wearing. The absorbent zones are perfect for targeted nighttime capacity intake so your child feels comfortable and confident all night long.
Ready to WIN?
Hopefully, after reading these tips, you are inspired to help your child get better sleep. We are giving away one GoodNites Better Sleep Kit for ONE lucky Whispered Inspirations reader. This contest opens on May 10 and closes on May 25. The kit contains everything you will need to help them get peaceful and restful sleep, every night.
GoodNites Better Sleep Kit:
- GoodNites Bedtime Pants – Available in different sizes and designs.
- Glow in The Dark Stickers – For kids that are afraid of the dark, these stickers will help make bedtime easier without disturbing their sleep.
- Toothbrush – A step in every child’s nighttime routine, a new toothbrush will help make brushing their teeth fun.
- Bedtime Lotion – Calming lavender lotion will help kids feel calm and relaxed right before they turn off the lights.
- Face Cloth – These kids-sized face cloth will offer kids a sense of independence and get them excited to wash up on their own.
- Nighttime Socks – Sherpa socks will help keep kids warm and comfortable right after bath time or in bed.
- Bedtime Story – Wind down at the end of a busy day with a good book as it can improve a child’s logic skills and lower stress levels, allowing for a deep sleep.
How do you help your child to get better sleep?
Let me know, til then–cheers m’deres!
Nancy Polanco is a freelance journalist, lifestyle content creator, and editor of Whispered Inspirations. She is a proud Mom to Gabby and Michaela, and wife to Darasak. Having worked as part of a health care team for almost a decade, Nancy is happy to be back to her passion. She is a contributor to the Huffington Post, TODAY’s Parents, and an Oprah Magazine Brand Ambassador.