How to Help Kids of All Ages Get Their Best Sleep
By Sarah Parker Ward
From newborns to young adults, sleep is a precious commodity, and a stress-free bedtime routine is a precious commodity to parents as well! Here are tips for better sleep you can introduce – and adopt – as your little ones grow to get them into a lifelong routine of restful sleep.
Massage Baby: Giving baby a five- to 10-minute massage is a great way to bond with your new bundle of joy and also put the little one in peaceful mental and physical space prior to bed. Using lavender-scented lotion or essential oil may further help your baby relax and settle in for a peaceful sleep. Learn more about the benefits of baby massages here.
Address the Environment: The best sleep occurs in a quiet, dark room and baby’s space should be clutter free. Since our bodies naturally heat up at night, studies show that we get a more restful sleep in a cooler environment with the optimal temperature at about 65 degrees. Find more baby bedtime practices here.
Toddlers and Youths
Read Books: Reading even just one book together before bed stimulates the brain, but relaxes the body. This quiet activity helps your little one progress with a range of development, from actual reading to creative thinking. It’s worth noting, too, that reading proficiency by third grade is the most significant predictor of high school graduation and, later, career success.
Discuss the Day: Having a thoughtful conversation with your child about the day doesn’t just build a bond, but it also helps he or she develop the skill of reflection. Studies have shown that children who learn to plan and review their actions purposefully early on perform better on language and other intellectual measures.
Find more tips and learn more about creating a toddler nighttime routine here.
Cut the Caffeine: From soda to chocolate, coffee to tea, insist that your teen put away the caffeine after dinner. In fact, studies show that caffeine intake as much as six hours before bed can create sleep disruption.4 While a rare few seem to be unaffected by a cup of java, for most, this stimulant blocks sleep-inducing chemicals in the brain while also increasing adrenaline production.
Nix the Screen Time: The negative effects of staring at a screen — whether a laptop, TV or smartphone — prior to bed, are well documented. The intense light confuses our brains about what time of day it really is and, consequently, can keep us up or reduce our ability to get into a deep sleep. Encourage your teen to do something else prior to bed (such as reading a book). Get more info here.
Find more health and wellness information for you and your baby in our Baby & Child section.
The links provided in this article are for educational purposes only. No sponsorship or endorsement is implied. Information was used from the National Sleep Foundation, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the National Institutes of Health.
©Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. 2016
Get your kids involved with their nighttime routine with this handy printout. They can cross of the starts one-by-one on their way to a good night's sleep!