Almost every child suffers from it at some point; periods when it sleeps worse or where it is difficult to fall asleep. When a child sleeps poorly, it has a huge impact on the whole family. Everyone gets tired and it often does not benefit the fun. How do sleep problems in children actually occur? And how can you help your child sleep better? In this article we will tell you all about it. So not only your baby but also you can sleep well again.
How much sleep does a child need?
It is very important that a child gets enough sleep. But what does it really mean to get enough sleep? How many hours of sleep a child needs depends on their age. A 4-year-old needs 11 to 12 hours of sleep, and a 12-year-old needs an average of 9 hours of sleep. And every child is different, some children can cope with less sleep than others.
As a parent, you can look at your child to see if he or she has had enough sleep or not. If a child has enough sleep, it wakes up by itself in the morning, and on weekends and holidays it wakes up at about the same time as usual. Provided, of course, that he did not go to bed much later than usual.
Difficulty falling asleep; this may be the reason
Sometimes there are periods when your child has difficulty falling asleep. It is often difficult to find out exactly what is causing it. If it is hot and there is still plenty of light outside, we understand the reason well, but there are other factors that can make it difficult for your child to fall asleep.
- A monitor (TV, tablet, phone, laptop) interferes with the production of melatonin. Melatonin is a substance you need to fall asleep. Screen use also keeps you alert. It is therefore wise to stop looking at a screen about 1 to 2 hours before a child goes to bed.
- Caffeine has a mild stimulating effect. It makes you aware, it removes fatigue and improves mood. However, caffeine is found not only in coffee but also in tea, cola, iced tea, chocolate and energy drinks. It is therefore wise to leave caffeinated products in the evening.
- Doing homework just before going to bed ensures a full and active head. Therefore, it is preferable to let your child do his homework during the day and relax in the evening before going to bed.
- Get at least one hour of vigorous exercise a day. Especially outdoor exercise makes you tired. Just playing outside for an hour or going for a walk or bike ride is not that bad. Note, however, that too intense exercise will make your child less tired.
- Is your child bothered? It may help to discuss the day before going to bed every night. This makes it easier for your child to let go of everything that happened that day and fall asleep.
- Physical complaints can also have an impact. Consider, for example, an ear infection, eczema, an allergy, asthma or intestinal problems.
- Fear; Maybe your child is afraid of something and is therefore afraid of falling asleep.
- apologies; your child simply does not feel like sleeping and is busy with everything else except falling asleep.
Tips to prevent sleep problems
There are a number of tips that can ensure that your child gets to sleep well again. You have already been able to read a number of tips directly or indirectly about the causes. For example, it is wise not to play a game on the phone or to consume caffeinated products just before going to bed. There are even more tips to give:
- Make sure the bedroom is perfectly in order and that it is a nice place to sleep. Make sure you have the right temperature (you can not always do anything about it) and appropriate nightwear and bedding. And also make sure to have blackout curtains so that it is as dark as possible. If your child is afraid of the dark, use a night light that you can put in the socket. Also try to create calm in the bedroom. A busy and crowded bedroom can cause a lot of ‘ghosts’.
- Regularity: Try to get your child up and go to bed around the same time every day as much as possible. Preferably also on weekends and holidays.
- Discuss the day before going to bed. The book ‘sleep chat’ can help with that.
- Routine; if you do the same activities in a fixed order every day before going to sleep, the body learns that it is almost time to go to bed. Your body will prepare for it.
Also read: Sleeping at your vacation address; 5 tips to make it as familiar as possible