Parenting

Six Ways to Help Kids Sleep Better

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There's no question that sleep is important for your children. Today, Parents Ask expert Elizabeth Pantley, author of The No-Cry Sleep Solution, is sharing six amazing facts you might not be aware of.

1 ~ Poor sleep causes crying, tantrums, whining, and fussing.
Your child’s sleep habits can affect every single waking moment of every single day. A sleep-deprived child is simply not as happy as one who gets adequate sleep every day.

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2 ~ One in three children wakes up at night.
As frustrating as it is, night waking is normal and cannot be avoided. All human beings wake up five or more times each night, when shifting from one stage of sleep to another. The issue is not for a child to sleep all night without waking up, but for a child to be able to fall back to sleep – totally on his own – each time he does wake up.

3 ~ The first five minutes of naptime reduce tiredness.
The first five minutes of a nap eliminate tiredness -- for the moment. If woken just after falling asleep (like in the car or in front of the TV) a child can’t return to sleep easily. Yet at least an hour long nap is important to refresh a child in a way that lasts for the remainder of the day.

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4 ~ Early bedtime means better sleep.
The majority of children have a natural, biological bedtime that is early in the evening. Most babies, toddlers and preschoolers respond best with a bedtime between 6:00 and 7:30 P.M.  Most children will fall asleep easier at this time and then actually sleep better and longer when they go to bed earlier.

5 ~ A dark room brings sleepiness.
Our biology is set up for us to be awake in daylight and asleep in the dark. Take advantage of this and your child will actually tired when his bedtime arrives. You can help align sleepiness with bedtime by dimming the lights in your home during the hour or two before bedtime.

6 ~ Sleepy sounds bring better slumber.
Noises in the house (the TV, dishes clattering, sibling play) and neighborhood sounds (traffic, dogs) can prevent a child from falling asleep, or wake him up after he’s gone to bed. To mask noises and to create a strong sleep cue, use white noise, such as ocean waves or rainfall (use a sound machine), lullabies, soft music, or a radio set on a talk station. These can cushion against those outside noises and soothe your child to sleep.