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Top Tips For Tackling Sleep Problems

Top tips for tackling sleep problems

There are many reasons why your child may not be going to sleep or may be waking during the night. Have a look at the following list and see if you can identify why your child may be having sleep difficulties. Check through your sleep diaries too. Do you recognise any of the following as being an issue for your child?:

Twelve steps to good sleep practice

1. Make sure that the child’s room is quiet and dark. No TVs or electrical items to be used; toys to be hidden or covered. Close the curtains; black-out blinds will make the room darker if necessary.

2. Wake the child at a regular hour each morning so that the circadian (daily) cycle is strengthened. Not before 6am!

3. Keep a regular, age-appropriate bedtime for the child. Check the average sleep needs chart to work out the correct bedtime.

4. Ensure a consistent bedtime routine is followed each night. Try making a picture, or photographic timetable of previous routine activities to help the countdown and for the child to understand the order of events, and what is going to happen next.

5. Keep room temperature to a comfortable level, ideally between 16 - 20 degrees Celsius. High temperatures disturb sleep.

6. Environmental noise within the home should be kept to a minimum (no loud TVs).

7. Make sure that the child does not go to bed hungry.

8. Help the child to learn to fall asleep alone in his or her bed, without your presence. Further guidance on this is available from the Children’s Centre staff or your health visitor.

9. Avoid stimulating activity in the hour before bedtime. Encourage quiet play, such as jigsaws, reading or colouring.

10. Do not let the child have prolonged naps in the late afternoon. If the child still needs to sleep, schedule the nap for early afternoon.

11. Include sleep-inducing foods in the last meal before bedtime. Avoid drinks of cola, chocolate, tea and coffee – that is, no drinks with caffeine and additives - before bedtime. Instead have a warm milky drink.

12. Try this as an example of a good bedtime routine:

After tea-time, allow free play for an hour, followed by quiet play for 20 minutes. Offer a snack and drink. Use clues to signal bedtime, such as closing the curtains, or playing a set piece of music each time. Bath-time, for around 20 minutes, should be relaxing.

Once you have left the bathroom to go to the bedroom, you should remain in the bedroom with your child. Read a bedtime story, but ensure that it’s within a clearly defined time and does not go on indefinitely. 15/20 minutes is usually good for this.

Dim the lights. Say goodnight in the same way each night, and for the same length of time (kisses and cuddles lasting no longer than a few minutes).

Then leave the child to settle alone. If the child becomes distressed, comfort and settle them as quickly as possible and then leave the room.

For more tips and strategies make an appointment in the Children’s Centre today!

Sarah Reynolds-Senior Children’s Development & Learning Officer

Taken from www.sleepsoluntions.org.uk

Kirkby Church of England Primary School is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites.

Top Tips pdf