The first few years of a child's life are critical for development. From infancy to adolescence, sleep is essential for healthy brain development, growth, and behavior. Toddlers who have trouble sleeping at night usually have trouble performing well during the day as well. This can lead to cranky children in need of naps or even worse: tantrums and mood swings.
The following five sleep habits are good for all children, but especially important for those with underlying physical or mental health conditions such as ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). These techniques can help your child's brain develop properly so that they have better control over their emotions during the day.
Create A Consistent Routine
The first sleep habit that we will discuss is having a consistent routine. It's important to have a set bedtime and wake-up time so that your child's body can develop a regular circadian rhythm. This means that their body will naturally start to feel tired at the same time each night and wake up refreshed in the morning. You may also want to consider teaching your child the difference between day and night by keeping lights off during sleep hours (if possible).
The second sleep habit that we will discuss is driving choice/input. It's important for children to have a say in their bedtime routine because it makes them feel like they have control over their own lives. This will help them to feel more relaxed and willing to sleep. Some ideas for driving choice/input include picking out their pajamas, choosing a bedtime story, or picking out the next day's outfit.
Teach Circadian Rhythm
The third sleep habit that we will discuss is teaching your child about circadian rhythms. It's important for children to understand that their body has an internal clock and it is programmed to wake up at certain times of day regardless of what time they went to bed the night before! This will help them start to develop healthy sleep habits early on in life so that when they get older, they can understand the importance of a regular schedule.
The fourth sleep habit that we will discuss is scheduling downtime. It's important for children to have time each day where they can relax and wind down before bedtime. This will help them prepare their minds and bodies for sleep. Some ideas for scheduling downtime include reading, playing quietly, or taking a bath.
Teaching Time Cues
The fifth and final sleep habit that we will discuss is teaching time cues. It's important for children to learn what time it is so they can start getting used to a regular sleep schedule. You can do this by setting alarms, teaching them how to tell time, or using visual timers.
Sleep is essential for children and can have a profound impact on their development. Educating your child with these five sleep habits will help them develop healthy sleeping patterns for life.
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