Did you know that I work with children up to 8 Years old?
I actually love working with this age group for a number of reasons. One of them is
hearing about the pride children feel when they are able to do the one thing that seems
to come so easily to their friends and peers, being able to go to sleep and stay asleep
With the world the way it is today, I understand that our children are on screens a whole
lot more than usual. Whether it is virtual schooling or playing games online to stay in
touch with friends.
There may also be a lot more noticeable anxiety come bedtime as children have gotten
so used to seeing their parents and being with them this past year. Anxiety can also
increase when children want to go to sleep but can’t.
Here are some tips I want to share with you to help you tackle sleep more easily with
your older child.
Talk to them about the importance of sleep: Taking some time out to talk about the
benefits of sleep with your child and how it can give you more energy, helps you be in a
good mood, concentrate at school, is helpful. Also talking about how not getting sleep
can affect your day, make you have less energy, feel tired, not want to play outside, etc.
is also helpful. This will allow your child to see that getting to bed on time and sleeping
through till morning is actually helping them. Once you identify why they may be feeling
groggy or less energetic they will be able to relate that back to a lack of sleep and the
negative consequence of not getting the rest they need.
Screen Time: Monitor what your children are doing/watching online. Put limits on
Screen time. You can set a timer on their device. Keep screens outside of the bedroom.
If their desk is in their room and they are attending school online, after school move to a
different room. Turn all screens off 1hour 30 minutes before sleep. Do not charge devices in
Get Moving: Getting physical activity is key in getting a good night’s sleep. Children
exert energy, get a chance to shake the sillies out, and allows them to build up sleep
pressure and actually be ready for sleep come bedtime.
Set the scene: An hour before bedtime start to dim lighting around the house, this will
help increase your child’s melatonin their natural sleep hormone.
Get them involved in their bedtime routine: Children like to feel like they have some
control. You can sit down together and make a bedtime routine chart. Let your child
decide the order. There should be just 4 or 5 steps in their routine; for example, shower,
pajamas, brush teeth, read a book, stretches, affirmations, get in bed.
Keep the routine 30/40 minutes long: If it goes any more than this it can lead to
children losing focus and track of what the end goal is which is to go to bed. It may
delay bedtime. Avoid moving around the house during the routine or once it is complete.
Use a night light: Sometimes just being in a dark room can make children this age
feel scared or nervous. Do not leave a bright lamp or overhead light on in the room as
this is more disturbing and more likely to rouse them awake at night. I suggest meeting
them halfway and using a plug-in night light. Make sure it is an orange/red tone so it is
softer and gives enough light but also does not disturb their sleep.
Use a clock: Having a visual reference makes it helpful and easier to set a boundary of
when it is okay to start the day in the morning. It helps your child know when it is
morning and it is something you can reference if they are up in the middle of the night or
at the crack of dawn. You can say “…Your clock is not green, it’s still nighttime”.
Use positive affirmations: Providing your child some tools to help them when laying in
bed or if they wake up in the night can help them feel more confident. Here are some
affirmations that can you can use: “Tonight I will be serene like a swan” “Tonight I will
breathe like the tide” Tonight I will float like a cloud” “Tonight I will be calm as a lake.”
Acknowledge your child’s feelings: If your child has big feelings like fear or anxiety
come bedtime, do name and acknowledge these feelings. This will help them feel
heard. Also, let them know of a time you felt these feelings and how you got through it
and emphasize to them that you know they can do it too with some time and practice.
Celebrate their progress: Once your child starts to follow their routine and take less
time falling asleep or has fewer wake-ups in the middle of the night, or stays in their bed
until their clock shows it is morning, give them a high five. Let them know you have
noticed, it will give them an intrinsic motivation to continue to do well.
Most of all, be patient!