No matter their age, children are balls of energy who desperately need a good night’s sleep to rest and recharge – for their sanity and ours.
This is why it’s so important to create a calming sleep oasis for peaceful slumber. In our fast-paced, over-stimulating world, giving our kids a place to reset their minds and bodies allows them to be their best selves.
Carefully considering their environment and setting it up to provide them with the greatest chance of ideal sleep will help them fall asleep faster and sleep longer. Read on to discover how.
Make it cosy
There’s nothing quite like curling up into a soft cosy bed. As much as we love it, so do our little ones!
Layer their bed with comfortable bedding that invites blissful dreams. Make sure their sheets are soft and their duvet or quilt is a suitable weight for the weather.
If your child is particularly anxious or struggles to get to sleep, a weighted blanket is a great way to give them the feeling of being hugged, even if you’re not there.
Limit separation anxiety in young children adjusting to their first “big kid” bed by placing favourite stuffed animals or comfort items within easy reach during the night.
It’s important to adopt healthy habits, like making sure your child goes to bed at a consistent time, limiting screen distractions and keeping their sleep space clutter free.
But you should also consider the hygiene of their linen itself. Make sure their bedding is laundered regularly, and choose sheets and pillows that wick sweat moisture away.
A waterproof mattress protector is a must in case of accidents, and is also helpful for the dreaded gastro outbreaks inevitable with kids.
If there is sickness in the house, a clever trick is to layer their bed with a mattress protector, sheet and then a second mattress protector and sheet for quick, middle-of-the-night bedding changes. Refresh your family’s bedding every couple of years.
Create the ideal sleep environment
Invest in a comfortable and supportive mattress for your child’s bed and opt for a pillow that will let them sleep in alignment, rather than hurting their neck.
Keep the room at a comfortable temperature, or adjust bedding so your child stays warm in winter and cool in summer.
White noise can help cover ambient sounds if your child’s bedroom is close to the living areas in your house.
Use lavender essential oils to help promote sleep, and eucalyptus if they have a cold.
Other than a night light, try to keep your child’s room as dark as possible, avoid light leaks from the rest of your house, and use blackout curtains to limit light pollution from outside.
Bright light affects our melatonin hormone levels, making it harder to fall asleep naturally. Blackouts are also useful for pre-schoolers or toddlers who still have daytime naps.
Calm the chaos
Adults don’t sleep well with mess and clutter in our bedroom, and neither do our kids.
Ensure there is plenty of storage for toys, books and clothing, and encourage your children to keep it tidy – even young children love to help with this.
Ideally, try to designate a different room or area in your house as a playroom to keep toys and distractions out of their sleep space.
If this isn’t possible, try to create as much space between their bed and their toys so they understand that their bed is for sleeping.
One way to designate different zones for sleep and play is to introduce a special area rug for games and fun.
Keep a routine
An important part of sleep hygiene is encouraging your kids to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day.
This will help their body clock understand when it’s time to go to sleep and make early morning starts for kindergarten or school less painful.
It will also help them sleep deeper at night and reduce night-time wakeups. For younger children who can’t yet tell the time, a sleep clock that changes colour when it’s time to get up is a great way to empower them to independently understand the difference between night and day.
These can also double as night lights (although most can be set so they just light up in the morning) and will soon become your child’s – and your – best friend.
Sleep is a battle all families face at some point, but it’s easy to create a more positive sleep environment for your child with a few clever adjustments.
Whether you have a toddler, pre-schooler or older child, the same general concepts apply – offer a calming, comfortable place to sleep, limit distractions from clutter, noise and light and encourage a regular sleep routine.
Create the ideal sleep oasis for your child, and before long, your whole family will be enjoying sweeter dreams.