Sometimes our sleeping habits happen within us. Some kids like to arise with the sun while others just want to dance in the moonlight. So how do you help your child who just can’t sleep at night and then is sleepy at school? Here are some tips to help your little night owl get the Zzzz he or she needs. One helpful tool can be melatonin supplements. Pediatricians advise to only use this supplement short-term. Use this as a re-setter to help a child get back on a sleep schedule after a stressful time, new school, family vacation etc.
Daily Parent’s Dear Addie Section had these other tips to offer
- Move the bedtime up by about 30 minutes so that the wind-down period starts earlier
- No sugar or caffeine within six hours of bedtime
- No screen-time (TV, electronics, etc.) for an hour before bedtime
- No sports/active play for an hour before bedtime
Change Bedtime- Creating an earlier bedtime by about thirty minutes can help a child relax their mind earlier so they will be more ready for bed when the clock hits the special hour. Also creating a quiet routine might be helpful. For example reading a fun book after homework is complete.
No Sugar or Caffeine- Within 6 hours of bedtime close the doors on candy or caffeine. These are stimulants and can cause minds to race. These treats or drinks full of sugar can sometimes turn a calm child into a hyper night owl that refuses to go to bed.
Create Quiet Time An hour before bedtime turn off all devices and spend an hour as a family. Read a book, listen to music, have a healthy bedtime snack etc. For bedtime snack ideas read our previous articles 5 Bedtime Snacks or 6 More Bedtime Snacks.
Create Relaxing Activities-To help night owls feel sleepy when the stars are shining. Avoid active play or sports an hour before bedtime. Switch with relaxing activities like talking about the day, coloring or reading together.
If these night owl tips do not help and your child is still restless it might be time to visit with his or her pediatrician.