8 Ways to Manage Your Child’s Insomnia

These 8 tips to combat child insomnia will help your kids and you get the quality sleep you need.

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Remember that popular book, Go the F**k to Sleep by Adam Mansbach—read brilliantly by Samuel L. Jackson—that made parents across the world simultaneously laugh and cry? You expect a tiny baby to disturb your sleep; but at some point, you hope that you and your child will sleep through the night. If your kid has trouble getting to sleep or sleeping through the night, he may be suffering from a very common ailment, child insomnia.

According to a study by Jennifer Vriend, Ph.D., C. Psych. and Penny Corkum, Ph.D., “Behavioral insomnia is highly prevalent, affecting approximately 25% of children. It involves difficulties initiating and maintaining sleep and frequently results in inadequate sleep, leading to an array of negative effects for both the child and the child’s family.” Not surprisingly, the things that cause insomnia in adults are also generally the source of insomnia in children. If there’s no medical reason for the sleepless nights, you might want to think about following some of the guidelines below. The goal is to get your child (and by extension you) well rested.

1. Create Comfort

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Create a cozy sleep environment for your child. Check the mattress to make sure it feels comfortable to you. If this is the second or third child to use the junior bed, it might be time for new bedding. Maybe let your child choose their own blankets and sheets so they can really own the space. Make sure no electronics are beeping or blinking, close curtains and partially close the door to limit noise.

2. Foster Relaxation

To prevent or treat child insomnia, you should really make an effort to teach your kid how to relax. Put on the jammies, brush teeth and let your child relax in bed with a few breathing exercises. A warm bath aids relaxation, as does the smell of lavender.

3.  Crush Time

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Try removing clocks from the bedroom, as they may encourage your child to stay up later like, say, an older sibling. Or he may want to be up early to bid good-bye to a parent with an early commute. Just assume that if you have a clock, your child doesn’t need one.

4. Quantify

Toddlers typically need 10-13 hours of sleep a day between naps and bedtime. Preschoolers need about 10-12 with few if any naps; school age kids and pre-teens need the same but rarely get it. Teens, with all the activities, early school starting time, and homework, rarely get the 8½ to 9½ hours they need, and generally walk around sleep deprived. And sleeping in on the weekend doesn’t make up for sleep lost during the week.

5. Low Key Activity

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A little low light with some quiet activity may help kids with insomnia. Set a limit within which your child should fall asleep and don’t tell them what it is. If he’s still wide awake at the end of that time, allow a little activity. Keep the lights low and make it something quiet; reading or coloring are good options.

6. Close the Kitchen

For kids with insomnia, you should limit the amount of food and beverages that your child has before bedtime. Most parents can attest to the effects of sugar or caffeine (present in chocolate and soft drinks) on kids. But some children are also sensitive to just the additives in food, which can keep them awake long past bedtime. Choose foods and beverages without refined sugar or caffeine for a bedtime snack (if at all) and limit fluids.

7. Unplug

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Turn off the video games well before bedtime. Limit TV time and make sure the earbuds are out. Use the last half hour of your child’s day to pre-load the backpack or discuss the day’s events.

8. Keep it PG

To avoid nightmares, select PG TV shows. TV shows come with ratings for a reason; they encourage parents to control what their children watch on TV. A very impressionable child, or one who isn’t old enough to tell fiction from reality and may dream about what they watched on TV. If you can’t miss the season finale of the very adult series you like, record it and watch it after the kids are in bed. And hope it doesn’t keep you up.

The post 8 ways to deal with your child’s insomnia appeared first on Mundo Hispanico.

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