Little facts, hints and tips to help your child (and you) enjoy a good nights kip!
"It's been a hard night"...
An all too familiar phrase for so many of us, as we wipe the sleep from our eyes and try to smooth down our disheveled hair in the morning...
Sleep deprivation is hard for parents and children alike.
It leads to irritable and challenging behavior (and we're not just talking about your children).
Therefore, the Early Years Creative Practitioners at Performatots Pre-school Harrogate, have popped together this little fact sheet, in the hope that together we can help your whole family benefit from a peaceful nights rest, and your children come in to pre-school bright eyed, bushy tailed and ready to learn and play...
Why Sleep is SO IMPORTANT
Not enough sleep can have a severe effect on children's growth and brain development, it is also vital for supporting their...
General well being
Check the Environment
Ensuring that the right environment is in place before bedtime is just as important as the "good night", lights off bit.
This time can be referred to as 'wind down time', and it is all about 'winding down' as apposed to 'winding up'.
Here are some of the things you can do to ensure an appropriate 'wind down time' environment for your child....
1. Turn Off Screens
Studies have shown that the light projected from screens can prevent the body from producing the right levels of melatonin (which is responsible for supporting a healthy sleep cycle).
Therefore, turning off all screens at least one hour before bed, is hugely important in supporting your child to drift off to sleep
Believe us, we know how hard it can be to keep your child entertained, all the while trying to run a bath, clean up tea, dig out pyjamas from the depths of the bottom drawer, and wash endless uniform;
But, how about these other ideas for keeping your little one happy for that last (never ending) hour of the day...
Relaxing music Story CD's (or if you don't have a cd player, then just playing a story cd via YouTube).
2. Rough and Tumble Play
There should be NO rough and tumble play during 'wind down time', only soothing and gentle contact.
There is of course a time for rough and tumble play; but this is not during the time that your child is winding down before bed.
Save rough and tumble for earlier in the day or a weekend!
A nice warm bath is a great idea before bed, as it relaxes the muscles and gives your child chance to play calmly, whilst enjoying the sensory experience of being in the water, which in turn will aid peaceful sleep
Here are some tips for ensuring that bath time becomes a nicely established part of your child's bedtime routine...
1. Keep bath toys nice and simple
The more bells and whistles... the more stimulating the toy.
Remember, during bath time your child is trying to relax and wind down, therefore suitable toys could include...
Cups for pouring and filling
Sponges to hold and squeeze
A kitchen sieve. Even this would provide a level of calming bath time entertainment for your child, who, could watch the soothing movement of the water when lifting this sieve up and down.
2. Once you're up... you're up!
If you live in a property where your bathroom is upstairs, try to make a habit of once you have gone up the stairs for bath time, you don't come back down again.
Equally, if you live in a property over one floor, then staying near your child's bedroom area after their bath will ensure that there is a clear definition between 'playtime' and 'bedtime'.
Introduce 'Talk Time'
Introducing 'talk time' is a lovely way to enable your child to relieve all of their thoughts from the day.
You could ask your child the following questions...
"What have you enjoyed today"? "What has made you feel happy"? "What did you eat that was yummy"? "What would you like to do tomorrow"?
BUT REMEMBER ... KEEP IT POSITIVE!
Just before your child goes to sleep is NOT the time to talk about their worries and fears.
'Talk time' is for discussing happy and positive subjects only, this is to ensure that your child is able to drift into a worry free slumber.
Why not introduce 'worry Time' earlier in the evening, perhaps during dinner?
This will enable your child to relieve any anxieties or worries, before they transition into their bedtime routine.
Goodnight Mr Sun
As lovely as it is when summer finally arrives - one little thing that always seems to effect children's bedtime routine, and something that many parents dread, are the light evenings and mornings.
Explaining why the sun is still out at bedtime is tricky, especially if your child understands 'bedtime' and 'night time' to be the same thing.
So, here's some suggestions of how you can help your child know they're understood...
Maybe the sunshine is a bit confused - it is night time but he likes to stay out a little bit longer in summer? Maybe Mrs Moon has gone on a summer holiday, so Mr Sun is having to stay out a little bit longer than usual?
Other Practical Solutions
Blackout blinds - These are clever things as they can literally be stuck to your child's bedroom window and do not cause any damage, they are also easily removed. Using a spray of water and some tinfoil on your window is equally as effective if you don't have a blackout blind
Gro Clocks - These fantastic clocks are programmed by you to show a sun and a star when it is morning or night, that means that regardless of whether it is light or dark outside, your child is able to independently recognise whether is is morning or night time still.
Don't panic grown ups, the highly experienced and knowledgeable Creative Learning Practitioners at Performatots Creative Learning Academy, Harrogate, are here to help, support and advise.
Together we're here to help you crack that thing called sleep... and we will!