By: Vickie | Updated: 26th June 2023
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Parenting is hard. When you have children that have a hard time sleeping it can make it hard to keep your cool after a long hard day.
It is easy to blame yourself when your child struggles to sleep but it is not your fault and it is completely normal for kids to go to sleep regression periods.
The good news is that most of the time your child’s sleep troubles can be fixed relatively easily with a few tips and tricks.
Why do Kids Struggle to Sleep?
Being a kid isn’t easy and there are many factors involved in your having a problem falling asleep and staying asleep.
In fact, more kids have sleep problems than most people realize. Kids tend to have more energy to turn off which keeps them up at night.
Their diet often consists of more sweet things that spike their blood sugar because the child’s body naturally seeks out these higher calorie foods to help with growth.
Like adults, kids have factors like stress and anxiety that keep them up as well. It is easy to think that kids do not have these issues like an adult, but if you talk to your child about things stressing them out you will find a whole list of things from tests to bullies and even chores at home.
How to Help Your Kids Sleep
There are a few things you can do to help make it easier for your kids to fall asleep and stay asleep at night.
From helping your child work off extra energy to giving your child healthy coping mechanisms for stress, each thing you do can help make life just a bit easier.
Stick to a Routine
Just like with babies and toddlers, giving your child a bedtime routine can help make it easier for them to sleep. Routines are great for everyone no matter how old because they help make the body and brain aware of what is expected of them.
Start by building a simple routine before bed that over time will help to signal to your child’s mind that it is time to shut down for the night and let your child sleep.
Keep Your Child Active During the Day
All that energy needs to be burned off to help your child sleep. This means you want to keep your child’s body and their brain active during the day to help them be tired enough to sleep when nighttime rolls around.
Most people know that keeping a kid physically active can help them sleep but they are surprised to find out that their child can sleep even better when their minds have been kept busy.
Try Essential Oils
Setting up a diffuser in your child’s room to defuse kid-safe essential oils like lavender and mandarin that have been proven to help reduce stress and improve sleep is a great way to help your child sleep at night.
Set this up while your child is working through their bedtime routine to get the most benefit.
Teach Your Child About Meditation
Using meditation before bed to help calm the mind is a great way to help make it easier to calm their busy minds so they can fall asleep.
This is a great exercise to do with your child to help both of you cope with stress better and even help the two of you bond together.
Cut out Artificial Food Dyes from Your Child’s Diet
Many people do not know just how damaging these artificial dyes are for the body. In some countries products containing them must come with a warning label that they can cause hyperactivity in children.
By switching to a cleaner diet you can help make it easier for your child to fall asleep at night.
Reduce Screen Time
The blue light from devices with screens has been proven to make it harder for the brain to calm down and sleep at night.
Ditch the screens a couple of hours before bedtime as part of your bedtime routine to help your child’s eyes and brain move past the effects of blue lights.
If your child spends a lot of time on devices, check if your child’s device has a blue light or bedtime filter and turn it on or get your child some blue light glasses.
Try a Bedtime Snack
Kids are growing fast and they get hungry pretty much all the time. Giving your child a snack before bed can help your child to fall asleep and to help keep them asleep longer overnight. Look for a filling combination of fiber and protein.
Cut off Drinking Fluids a Couple of Hours Before Bedtime
This is particularly important for young kids that have small bladders. When your child wakes up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom they may struggle to fall back asleep.
A great way to help this issue is to reduce how much your child drinks at night and get them into the habit of drinking more in the morning so they have time to use the bathroom as needed without interrupting their sleep.
Try a Bit of Melatonin
While melatonin should not be your go-to for helping your child sleep for more than a night or two it can help when you need to get your child back on to a schedule.
Commercial products should be avoided in the long term as they can throw off the body’s ability to create this hormone on its own.
Try a natural way to supplement your child’s own melatonin production with a handful of cherries, a simple fruit that is naturally high in melatonin.
When to Talk to Your Child’s Doctor
If you have been trying for a while with great and constant effort to help your child sleep and they are still struggling you should consider talking to your child’s doctor.
There are options that can help to get your child to sleep or the lack of being able to sleep can be a sign of a deeper problem that should be addressed by your child’s health care provider.