(The Conversation) – We all know that sleep is important to a child’s growth and mental and physical health. Regular, quality sleep habits help children consolidate their memories and learn better. In addition to physical health problems, including injury risk, sleep deprivation leads to childhood depression, anxiety, and even suicide risk. is to
Children’s quality sleep has three main components: First, you need a sufficient total time, i.e. sleep time. Sleep quality is also important. I get a good night’s sleep with little disturbance or waking up. And finally, there is sleep timing. Basically a consistent schedule, with bedtime and wake-up times roughly the same throughout her week.
Even though we know how important good sleep is, it’s easy to get your sleep duration, quality and timing off track. Healthy sleep habits are difficult to maintain for mundane reasons such as parent-child disagreements, busy schedules, and older children’s leisurely weekend activities. There is a way to get it back.
As a child development researcher and family therapist, I study parenting and family behaviors that create a healthy environment for children’s sleep patterns. In particular, I help parents develop consistent nurturing routines. Sleep patterns are set early and parents play an important role in developing their child’s perspectives and attitudes. It’s comprehensive advice to share with your family, no matter what.
1. Set and model family sleep values
Children are observant learners. They pay close attention to both the unspoken and unspoken rules of their clan.
Sleep shouldn’t be something only children have to worry about so that the whole family can sleep well, but adults who have the freedom and power to joke about their own unhealthy habits If sleep seems like a punishment rather than a gift to health, children may resist it.
Adults should talk and take walks that sleep is a priority for the whole family. Be a role model. For example, if you’ve fallen into the habit of watching TV late into the night, try to curb it. Use positive words about your sleep. Pay attention to what you say and what you communicate through your habits, emphasizing the importance of getting everyone in your family to get some sleep and save energy for the next day. Don’t mistake bedtime as a chance for adults to distance themselves from children.
2. Know your child
Every child is unique, so don’t assume that one-size-fits-all sleep advice will work universally. For example, an energetic child may not readily adapt to a sleep schedule during her first year. And temperament is, and will continue to be, a pretty stable part of who your child is.
A parent’s job is to encourage routine and set limits, but with continued warmth and sensitivity to the unique child traits you have.
It can be difficult to stay positive when you’re exhausted and struggling with your child’s behavior. Be proactive in noticing your child’s strengths. Remind yourself that your child is themselves and learns in many ways throughout the day, and that child development is a marathon, not a sprint for positive change. Other sleep disturbances, such as nighttime awakenings and changes in sleep habits, are opportunities for growth, not punishment.
Building this foundation will help you maintain a positive and respectful attitude during stressful times. Remind yourself that change over time is more important than controlling the specific moment. After all, a strained parent-child relationship can actually lead to ongoing sleep and behavioral problems in young children.
3. Aim for consistency with some flexibility
In my practice, I see two common but diametrically opposed mistakes parents make about sleep.
First, many parents let go of rules and boundaries altogether. Often this happens as a result of what children bring into the equation. It is a phenomenon related to individual temperament and age. For example, the peak of aggressive behavior that can occur in early childhood and the changes in sleep timing that occur in adolescence may cause some parents to throw in the towel and give up.
Or the other parent stiffens. They see the fight over sleep as a power struggle that adults must win.
I argue that balance is important. Parents should adopt a consistent approach that aligns with the sleep values they have identified. However, flexibility must also be maintained so that children can adapt their routines to their own needs.
For example, all children of all ages should have regular bedtime and wake-up times. However, parents should work with older children on how that time should be spent, or pay attention to patterns and cues from younger children, and make reasonable decisions that take into account the individual child’s needs. You may be working on a compromise. A parent’s message about the importance of sleep should never be abandoned.
4. Manage household issues that affect sleep
Research shows that certain problems outside the bedroom pose immediate and long-term risks to a child’s sleep quality. These include exposure to secondhand smoke, excessive or evening blue light exposure from screens, and conflict in the home. Addressing these factors can help your child sleep better. There is a possibility.
Good sleep hygiene is a family affair. It’s never too late to tweak your habits for the better and recommit to making sure everyone gets the rest they need. Your child’s sleep habits can be an important component of their lifelong health.