Young children may experience bouts of sleeplessness or sleeping difficulty, which could be triggered by various factors such as excitement about a new event happening the next day, overstimulation in the day, or even stress.
The lack of sufficient sleep can lead to these children displaying unpleasant behavioural traits, such as aggression, depression, hyperactivity, and poor learning performances. This can in turn affect family members who might be affected by the child's lack of adequate sleep.
A restful sleep for your little ones and the rest of the family members is not an impossible feat. Here are some steps you can consider undertaking to improve the situation:
• Establish and enforce a consistent bedtime routine. You can refer to an example here. The use of visual, such as creating a colourful flowchart to depict the routine, will also help guide the child in the routine sequence.
• Help your child to differentiate between waking up (day) and going to sleep (night) by creating cues such as allowing bright light into the room in the morning, and dimming the lights at night.
• Create a sleep-inducing environment that your child feels comfortable in. For example, setting a favourable temperature in the room, keeping the bedroom quiet, or even turning on a bedside lamp or night light to alleviate fear of the dark.
• Avoid stimulants, such as candy, sugary drinks, chocolates, before bed. Additionally, stop the use of electronic devices and gadgets or other stimulating activities at least an hour before bedtime.
• If your child has medical issues and requires medication, you may wish to check that their sleep difficulty is not triggered by any of these issues/medications.
• If your child is experiencing a persistent sleep disorder, it may also be best to consult a pediatrician or sleep specialist.