Caregiver Series: Sleep
Newsletter & Episode 5
Disclaimer: This information was compiled using our background knowledge as parents and educators, as well as resources commonly found on the internet. If you have been trying the things listed here and your child is still having difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep you may want to discuss your concerns with a pediatrician.
All the Whys....
There are a few things to consider when answering this question. First, bedtime is THE biggest transition of the day. Once a child goes to sleep, there are no more opportunities for playing or eating snacks. Transitioning is difficult during the day for many kids so it makes sense that it would be especially difficult before bed. Other reasons might be the separation from their caregivers, fears associated with sleeping, or worries about the following day. The best way to figure out what's getting in the way for your child is to ask them during a quiet, unrelated time.
Why is this a battle worth fighting?
Besides the fact that grownups get some free time after kids are in bed, sleep is a vital component of a functioning brain and body. When a child gets the correct amount of sleep, with a consistent bedtime and wake up time, they are better able to regulate their moods, remember, focus, and plan--all extremely important parts of virtual learning.
Sleep Hygiene: The How of Bedtimes
Why daytime activity?
Physical Activity Links
Why limit electronics?
While many kids will say that screens help them fall asleep, it's not the screen, it's simply late and they are getting tired. Screen time before bed is scientifically proven to make it harder to fall asleep. The light that is emitted from the devices keeps your brain active even when it's tired.
The solution is to remove devices from your child’s sleep space and limiting their use in the evening. Chromebooks are school tools and any school adult would be happy to help reiterate this message. Phones should be kept outside the bedroom. If the phone is being used as an alarm clock or white noise maker, consider getting a small clock and a fan. Kids do not have the restraint to leave the phone by their bed and not start browsing. They need you to help them learn to navigate this.
Why are routines important?
Doing the same things in the same way creates calm and safety in your child’s brain, which sets everyone up for an easier transition to sleep. When you are thinking about setting the bedtime routine, your child’s input is going to give you the most bang for your buck. Once you start implementing the routine, consistency is key.
Also, humans like to know the why and kids are no exception. Find a calm time in your day to talk with your child about why sleep is important and some of the things that can help them sleep. Also use this as a time to ask why going to sleep is hard for them. Digging into this information can help you both set a routine that addresses some of these things and meets both of your needs. Do NOT try to do this during bedtime or in a moment of crisis.
Resources to help you talk to your child about why sleep is important
Webster & Oaklawn Elementary
Franklin & Emmeline Cook Elementary
Traeger & Lakeside Elementary