With holidays around the corner and school in session bedtime can be a little hectic. Many children refuse to go to bed this is nick named “bedtime resistance” there are things parents can do to help their children to actually get to bed and not push back. A good nights rest is especially important for children because it can affect their health. Children with ADHD are most likely to have troubles going to bed because their mind is racing. Other issues can be too much stimulation near bedtime etc. Melatonin, a chemical in the brain that helps produce sleep, surges about thirty minutes before we begin to feel sleepy. A parent can help their child feel ready for bed by starting to do quiet activities thirty minutes before bed. Then spend time getting ready for bed.
A family can create a bedtime chart or routine whatever works best for their family style to help kids feel ready to go to bed. Parts of the routine should obviously include brushing teeth and dimming lights. Avoid watching television too close to bedtime as the light from the TV can decrease melatonin production and cause bedtime resistance. Switch out screen time with card games, bedtime stories or just time spent talking about the day.
Even with a great bedtime routine kids biological clocks can be disrupted. Vacations, anxiety and sickness can all be factors of a decrease in melatonin and an interruption in good sleep. Pediatricians can suggest a low dose of melatonin used in a short amount of time to be used as a “internal clock reset”. Melatonin supplements can possibly help a child readjust after an event that can disrupt sleep.
Here are some tips to help a child get to sleep and stay asleep.
- Close blinds close to bedtime
- Avoid long naps
- Avoid naps too close to bed time
- Find a routine you as a parent enjoy
- Create a bedtime and a wake up time this helps regulate melatonin
- Talk with children about what is bothering them, they might have anxiety that is keeping them up at night.
Parents should remember to not over use melatonin as a bedtime fix. A child might become dependent on the supplement which can cause health problems. There are still new studies bringing new information about children and melatonin supplements. Always speak to a pediatrician before starting any new medication.
Sleep is a lifetime skill. Parents should help their children learn how to fall asleep and stay asleep. Creating good habits for yourself as a parent can help your children create good habits by watching your example.
If your child has severe difficulty falling asleep speak with your pediatrician. If the doctor suggests melatonin supplements check out World Wide Labs for an all natural option.