Nighttime fears and difficulties going to or staying asleep are a normal occurrence for children of all ages. Anxiety, heightened emotions, their developing imagination and even over-tiredness can all contribute to children’s sleeping difficulties. As the mother of one preschooler who has trouble staying asleep throughout the night, and one primary school aged child who regularly has trouble falling asleep
1. Time to Play One of the most important outcomes of time for play is its capacity for combatting stress and anxiety in children. Ensuring your child has regular time available for free play, particularly time to spend outdoors, is one easy way to provide your child with an opportunity to de-stress.
2. Be Sure Your Child Has Time to Talk As with adults, it is important that children have time to talk about the experiences of their day. Which is why many mental health professionals advocate for regular family mealtimes. Making family mealtimes routine provides your child with the knowledge that they have a regular opportunity to talk through any problems or concerns with you when they feel the need to.
3. Create a Relaxing Evening Routine It’s important to develop a consistent bedtime routine that provides your child with the opportunity to transition from the busyness of the day to a more relaxed and sleepy disposition. Make sure the evening is as calm and unrushed as possible. Set a bedtime and stick to it. Calm your child once they are in bed with a story, time to talk and/or a favourite bedtime song.
4. Use Music I was skeptical when a friend suggested we play soft, calming music in our poor sleeper’s bedroom during the night. Amazingly, it helped three-year-old AJ turn a corner almost immediately, calming her enough when she stirred through the night to encourage her to fall back to sleep. By. Herself. Major breakthrough!
5. Security object Taking a familiar soft toy or comforter to bed each night isn’t just for babies. Even children who have been fine sleeping without a bedtime friend for some time might like the reminder to sleep with a comforter when they are going through a rough patch.