Topping the bestseller list on amazon this week is a book entitled " The Rabbit who wants to Fall Asleep." Developed by a behavioural scientist and a linguist, reviews are describing it as revolutionising children's bedtimes. At Kids on Track a huge percentage of our practice deals with sleep disturbances! Whilst it may not be the problem we are originally contacted for - so much relating to children's behaviour and routines starts with a good and regular sleeping pattern. Here are 5 considerations to bear in mind when dealing with a child who is struggling with sleep:
1) Have you kept a sleep diary? - are they waking up at a consistent time during the night? Is their sleep better after certain activities or on certain days of the week?
2) Has your child had a chance to fully process their day? - As part of your child's daily routine if they do not have time to reflect on their day and think about the next one, this is something they may wake up to do in the middle of the night. Can you schedule time - maybe during dinner or bath time for them to talk about their day?
3) Does your child know bedtime means bedtime? - Is there a predictable routine in the lead up to bedtime - does the same thing happen every day - for children over the age of 2 remember that a bedtime routine starts from the time their daytime activity eg: creche finishes.
4) What is your child eating? - There are certain foods that research has shown to be disruptive to sleep and others that promote it. Avoid obvious triggers of hyperactivity such as sugar and also think about including foods rich in calcium or those such as bananas which help the body release melatonin - the hormone needed for sleep.
5) Is the environment Conducive to sleep? - This is a top priority to ensure a child will sleep well. Do they feel settled in the environment and is there too much stimulation? Think about the light in the room, toys in the room and the tones of voice towards bedtime.