Athletes need their rest. But the busy-ness of a youth sports schedule can be very demanding. How can you help your athlete get enough rest?
Today’s guest post is by Stephanie Hamilton, a health and wellness blogger who lives in the Minneapolis area.
What’s worse? Dealing with a tired child or being tired while dealing with a child?
If your child has trouble staying alert in the morning, is grouchy, sleeps through class or can’t fall asleep at bedtime it is time to do something different. Here are 5 ways to help your child fall asleep fast.
Make it a routine
Set a schedule and stick to it, even on weekends if needed. Parents should establish a consistent and relaxing routine for their child that begins about 20 minutes before bedtime, says Kristen Neufeld from Parents.com. Help him brush his teeth, change into his pajamas, and read him a familiar book before tucking him in for the night. Avoid scary movies or stimulating activities after dinner to help your child gradually wind down at the end of the day.
Use lighting cues
When your child is young, help her associate bedtime with darkness and waking up in the morning with light. For light sensitive sleepers, black-out curtains can quickly darken the room for naps and full-night rests. With this option, your child may request a night light for comfort or even a flashlight for early morning potty breaks. In most other situations, though, shades work best. By dimming street lights at night and allowing the sun to gently peak into her room in the morning, she can use lighting cues to fall asleep easily and wake up easily.
Change media habits
Parents who replace age-appropriate media with more suitable programming found long-lasting significant reductions in sleep problems in their 3-5 year-olds, says Michelle Garrison of the Seattle Children’s Research Institute in a USAtoday.com article. Parents may not realize programs like Scooby Doo, Sponge Bob Square Pants, and Bugs Bunny, shows that have funny or superhero violence, can negatively affect a young child’s sleeping patterns. It might be better to stick to tamer shows like Sesame Street, Dora the Explorer, and Curious George.
Older children should avoid watching TV and playing video games before bed to allow their minds to slowly turn off and not be stimulated by action or bright light.
If your child is afraid of the dark, provide them with a spray bottle filled with “monster spray,” suggests Neufeld from Parents.Com. Sleeping with a large stuffed animal to “protect” them can also help alleviate fears.
For older children, anxiety could stem from school problems, such as starting at a new school, getting good grades, or worrying about bullies. Before bedtime, talk with your child bout any issues he may have and show him you are there to help. Some parents have found that by playing “best and worst”–where you and your child each share your best and worst moments from the day–that children will open up and share what is bothering them.
Start a rewards system
If your child consistently leaves her room and needs a drink or wants you to read to her, walk her back to her room and gently remind her it is bedtime. Set up a rewards system that tracks her success. Each night she stays in her room, give her a gold star. After three nights in a row, reward her with a prize.
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