6 Activities to Help Your toddler Get A Good Night Sleep

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Early to bed
Early to rise
Makes a man
Healthy, Wealthy and Wise.

Making sure your little ones get enough sleep just might be one of the best things you could do for their health, both now and later. Most toddlers and pre-schoolers are on a schedule, with activities and outings in the mornings, or they need to be up and ready to go with you when you run errands. If they have to wake up early, it only makes sense that they get to bed early too. Even if kids have less scheduled lives, this doesn’t mean it’s healthy for them to go to bed at 11 and sleep in until noon. The reasons are ~

  1. A recent study on sleep times found children who go to bed earlier are less likely to be obese than those who stay up late.
  2. Having enough sleep is crucial for brain function, energy and even their immune systems.
  3. If your child gets used to late nights early on, it can be hard to break the pattern and this could lead to sleep issues later.
  4. Not getting enough sleep may bring mood problems due to which children becomes cranky in the mornings which indeed leads to problem in coping with school timings. Mood problems indirectly and directly affects their concentration, learning and memory.

The truth is, the rest of the world gets up early and when your child starts going to school and then to college and then gets a job, getting up early will just be a fact of life. Going to bed early should be one too.

How much sleep is needed to live a healthy life?
Age Recommended
Preschoolers 3-5 years 10 to 13 hours
School-aged Children 6-13 years 9 to 11 hours
Teenagers 14-17 years 8 to 10 hours
Young Adults 18-25 years 7 to 9 hours
What’s the best time for sleep?

The best time for sleep is between 9p.m to 7a.m depending upon the need of the child. For Pre-schoolers (3-5 years) it is from 9p.m. to 7-8 a.m. , for School goers (6-13 years) it is from 9p.m. to 6-7 a.m. , for Teenagers (14-17 years) it is from 10-11p.m to 6-7a.m. and for Young adults it is 11p.m – 6 a.m.

Activities, that can help children calm down before sleep

Many of us grew up with a traditional bedtime treat of a small biscuit, piece of toast or some other kind of snack. For me it was always a glass of milk just before brushing my teeth. Science has proved that there was probably something in that: milk contains the amino acid tryptophan, which helps little bodies produce the sleep-inducing chemicals serotonin and melatonin.  If you are a little skeptical about the benefits of giving the kids a good night snack or drink, here are some other bedtime treats to help them sleep tight.

  1. Lullaby :So many of us sing to our babies, but how many of us carry that ritual on throughout childhood? These are the songs that children love to sleep by when they are babies.
  1. Bedtime stories: There is rarely a child who doesn’t love a bedtime story. Choose books from your Child’s book corner each month that will be reserved as the “bedtime book” for that particular month. You can choose Bedtime Stories by Enid Blyton or something similar to this.
  1. Quiet chat : The quiet chat at bedtime is a lovely connecting moment between the children and parents. It’s assured one-on-one time that we all crave. Talk to your child in a soft, low and affectionate voice about your day or anything exciting or important event took place on that day. Also ask them the same questions. It is never a lengthy chat, just a quiet few moments to reflect on the day and agree that tomorrow is going to be fabulous. This little talk instills a sense of both gratitude and hopefulness in children.
  1. Tokens : Sometimes, it is a huge treat for children for being given one of their parent’s pillows to ‘cuddle’. Having earned this special treat by behaving so well during the day reinforces the children to behave nicely the following days too. If you have restless sleepers, and you are out of ideas for non-food or toy rewards, try giving children a token of your affection to sleep with for the night and see how it goes at your place!
  1. Storytelling : Putting wild imaginations to bed is probably the biggest challenge and it has been found that having the occasional storytelling night helps the kids unwind. There are all sorts of ways you can tell stories together, here are a few ideas:
  • Talk about your own childhood – kids love hearing tales about what mum or dad got up to when they were little
  • Talk about your ancestors – a great way to pass down family stories when kids are young
  • Talk about their childhood – they absolutely love hearing about themselves
  1. Extra big cuddles : Standard everyday cuddles are a treat, but big, giant, snuggle-up cuddles are always the best when it comes before sleep.
When nutrition plays a role?

Nevertheless, a hungry baby will not sleep well either; so here is a checklist to use to rule out whether nutrition is the problem:

  • Is your baby growing according to his/her growth curve? Essentially, is your baby gaining weight steadily?
  • Is your baby older than 6 months? If “yes”, solids can be introduced.
  • How old is your child? If your child is younger than a year, milk is more important. If your child is older than a year, solids should be the primary source of nutrition.
  • Does your child receive protein rich nutrition if he/she is older than 6 months?
  • Does your child have a sufficient intake of minerals like Zinc, Magnesium and Iron?
  • Does your child eat/drink too much salt, sugar or caffeine? These additives could spike energy levels, leaving the child in a hyper-alert stage.
  • Is your baby drinking too much water or juice? Remember, juice has a high concentration of sugar/fructose.

To  initiate  a  restful  sleep  we  need  to  encourage  food  that  support  sleep-inducing  neurotransmitters  such  as  serotonin  and  melatonin. Traditionally, these  are  food  rich  in  tryptophan  and  B  complex  vitamins (for eg, Pumpkin & Squash Seeds, Soybeans, Reduced Fat Mozzarella, Tuna Fish etc ). Growth Hormones are also released when we sleep and these are essential for not only growth but also healing and repair.

Lastly, it can be said that early sleep patterns are very important for a holistic development in children.

Sleep my little baby-oh
Sleep until you waken
When you wake you’ll see the world
If I’m not mistaken — Neil Gaiman

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