Sleep is essential for everybody especially children. Babies up to teenagers need at least 9 hours of sleep. A lack of sleep may cause behavior and mood problems, learning, concentration and memory problems and slow reaction times that can lead to accidents and injuries.
How do you identify if your child is suffering from a sleep problem? Here are a few signs and symptoms:
- Snoring. Kids should definitely not snore. He may be having some difficulty breathing so it is best to take him to your pediatrician.
- Does your kid stop breathing while sleeping? These pauses in breathing might indicate a deeper problem.
- Does your child have a hard time falling asleep? It might be just the distractions in his room. Try to clear them out. If that does not help, see your pediatrician.
- Does your child keep waking up in the middle of the night? Some children just want the security of their parents’ bed, some just really have a sleep problem.
- Does your child sleep in class or sleep a lot during the day? That may be because he is not getting enough sleep at night.
- Does your child suddenly seem sluggish and tired all the time? Bring him to see the doctor right away.
- Nightmares can be fairly normal among children but if it keeps happening regularly, it is best to have it checked out by the doctor.
- Sleepwalking is also a sign of sleep problems. You have to bring your child to the doctor immediately if this happens as this poses a high risk of injury to your child.
If your doctor can’t find anything wrong with your child, you can do some of these tips to improve his sleeping habits.
Regular sleeping hours
Set a regular sleeping time each night and a regular wake up time in the morning. This will help your child’s body clock to remember this sleeping routine.
Help your child relax an hour before bedtime. You can give him a warm bath while the lights are dimmed then you can read him a story. Make sure that your child relaxes after school as well before doing homework. The stress of the day might be the culprit to his sleep problems.
Caffeine is a no, no
Soda has caffeine so better stay away from that. Skip the ice tea as well. Stick to water and 100% fresh fruit juice. No caffeine 6 hours before bedtime is the general rule.
Make sure that the temperature is right in your child’s room. It should also be dark. A small night-light is okay. Also, make sure that the noise level is low when it’s time for him to go to bed.
Large meals can also affect your child’s sleep. If you are having a party or a big meal, schedule it a few hours before bedtime. For example, if your child’s bedtime is 8, be sure to eat at 6 pm or earlier.
If your child looks tired, put him to bed. Don’t let him fall asleep on the couch or worse, in your bed. Most children just go through a phase where it’s hard for them to fall asleep. The best way to stop worrying is to see your pediatrician.
This article was brought to you by mom blogger Norma Brown. Aside from taking care of her kids, she manages a small business and has a website about children’s beds.