Do you have trouble getting your kids to snooze in bed? These tips will help your kids fall asleep faster.
Having trouble sleeping is not only an adult problem. The kind can experience this difficulty too. And this means their parents usually will have to stay awake with them! In this sense, managing bedtime can be a real hustle and towards this end scientists, doctors and mothers suggest different strategies and practices which promise to get your baby hit the hay instantly.
While as we get older, we value sleep more, infants, toddlers, school-age kids, and teenagers don’t seem to appreciate sleep at all, even though it’s critical for their development. Whether you’re concerned about your teenager’s dark under-eye circles or your toddler is the cause of your own sleep disruption, there are ways to get them to go to bed and fall asleep faster.
Sleeping facts on Kids
Typically, there are certain phases you experience with your child/children when you become a parent depending on their age level.
1. Phase: Birth to 1-Year-Old
- The baby wakes up screaming every few hours.
- After the feeding, your baby won’t go back to sleep.
- You fall asleep while breastfeeding.
- Your baby won’t go to sleep or nap when it’s supposed to.
- Your baby is not sleeping through the night.
- Your baby keeps waking up.
Surviving sleep deprivation during this first year is on stage you just have to learn to overcome. It means you may just to deal with the sufferings before you can pass the infancy stage.
2. Phase: Ages 1 to 6
The secret between ages 1-6 is setting a consistent bedtime routine, according to specialists.
3. Phase: Ages 7 to 12
As they get older, kids get better at sleeping well or this is what is generally believed. However, you can still have to deal with sleeping issues.
4. Phase: Ages 13+
Although teens are in great need of sleep, they don’t seem to get their eyes shut. This is because teens’ circadian rhythms get temporarily reset, so they become night owls—falling asleep later and waking up later.
Obviously, you cannot deal with this sleep disruption in the same way if your kid is a teenager as with being a toddler. Nevertheless, there is some common thinking behind what you can do as a parent to help your kids fall asleep faster and ensure your sleep is also enhanced.
Regardless of the reason why your child suffers from sleep deprivation, there are different tricks and tips to follow, which can help reduce or eliminate these sleep disruption incidents on a regular basis.
We have gone all the way to research and pile up the most effective tips to help your kids fall asleep faster.
How to Fall Asleep Fast for Kids
Mission impossible? Not really. Be consistent in your practices, be open to trying a few of the tips below and we promise if you use these pointers compiled from doctors, sleep experts, and researchers from around the world, you will help your kids sleep faster than ever.
Remember: Stay consistent, but do not force it. The harder you try, the more likely you are to fail to get your kids falling asleep. Instead, if you try to help them relax without making too much fuzz about it and encourage them to practice some or a combination of these techniques, you will most likely succeed to get them hit the sack in no time. Can’t wait to hear all about it? Read on.
For newborns (0-3 months)
Observe baby’s sleep patterns and identify signs of sleepiness.
Pediatricians and experienced parents have noted these signs of baby sleep deprivation or “over-tiredness” in the very young:
- A noted lack of interest in people and the environment
- A tendency to look away from stimulating things
- Hand-to-face gestures: Pulling ears, rubbing eyes
- Fluttering eyelids
There are also other several possible markers of baby sleep deprivation from the scientific literature:
- poor recovery from negative emotions
- feeding troubles
- being hard to awaken
Keep the above signs in mind especially at this early age when your new-born cannot express themselves to let you know they are tired and you have to figure out when they are lacking sleep.
Put baby in the crib when drowsy, not asleep
A good practice is to adopt this customary routine you set so that your baby is tired but not entirely asleep and then abode him/her in the crib(See top 5 crib mattresses we choose). Once you do this, it is likely that your newborn will get the impression it is time to sleep and fall asleep on his/her own more easily.
Unfortunately, sometimes even the act of getting into the crib will make the baby agitated and it won’t sleep. If this happens, you could try staying in the room and carry on rubbing or patting the baby on the back until he/she falls asleep.
Gradually, you will want to pull back from this tactic and start to drift away and support the baby from a greater distance at night. This technique will take weeks or months to work properly so you should be patient.
Place baby to sleep on his/her back with the face.
One of the tips to help get babies fall asleep include being placed on their backs to sleep. This is considered as the main way to reduce Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) risk according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Task Force on Infant Sleep Position and SIDS.
Encourage night-time sleep
Your baby won’t be able to differentiate between night and day until she is about eight weeks old. However, even before that time, scientists recommend that you start to create a rhythm to your activities that will emphasize the difference between night and day.
How? Make daytime feeds social and lively, and night-time feeds quiet and calm while keeping eye contact and talking to a minimum. This will help your baby to set her body clock and learn the difference between day and night.
For infants (4-11 months)
Develop regular daytime and bedtime schedules
Each child has individual sleep needs, although there are some indicative rules for the recommended sleep duration per age. Once you know how much sleep your baby needs, you must try to establish a regular and consistent daytime and bedtime schedule.
This includes adjusting naps as without them many babies get cranky and can’t relax. It is best to promote an early bedtime and although it might be difficult for very young babies, you must try to establish from early on a routine to which you should stick to.
Create a consistent and enjoyable bedtime routine
A predictable bedtime routine that includes cuddling up with you for a story and a chat is likely to calm your little one, and help him drift off to dreamland more peacefully. Importantly, you should dim lights in the hour before bedtime, as well as try slow, calm routines, which help kids’ bodies know that it’s time to sleep. And watch for those dinner-time yawns that signal he’s tired. This will help ensure their sleep schedule stays on track. It will also help them fall asleep more easily at night.
Establish a regular “sleep friendly” environment
It is critical at this very young age you should ensure that the baby sleeps in a comforting and sleep-friendly environment. Quiet matters – make sure there is no TV or other screen nor TV sound or light close by to disrupt the baby’s sleep. Consider a “white noise” machine if necessary. Make sure the curtains keep the street lights out. Ensure also that the room temperature is cool rather than excessively warm which will cause the baby to kicks off covers off. And of course, it is always best that the baby sleeps in the same room every night, preferably it’s own when you feel this is possible.
Encourage baby to fall asleep independently
As you are trying to establish a sleeping routine for your baby, you must give him/her the chance to fall asleep on their own. This process can start as early as six weeks as your baby’s natural circadian rhythms, or the ‘sleep-wake cycle’, which helps regulate her sleep, start to develop. Put her down on her back when she’s sleepy, but still awake.
If you rock or feed your baby to sleep she may start to depend on it, rather than be used to settling herself. Don’t come running back in the room immediately after you’ve left if your child starts calling for you. This will remind them that he should be asleep and soothe himself to fall asleep. Singing or rocking your child to sleep could also lead them to need you by their side more during the evening if they wake up.
For toddlers (1-2 years)
Maintain a daily sleep schedule and consistent bedtime routine
A good tactic is to establish a typical bedtime routine for your toddler. This could include taking a bath, eating a snack, brushing teeth and reading a story or cuddling before lights out. WebMD recommends the four B’s: bath, brushing teeth, books, and bed, with the routine. Definitely avoid digital screens during the wind-down time though.
Once children know what to expect each evening, they become more comfortable with the process and fight it less. Knowing what comes next is overall comforting and relaxing, setting the perfect bedtime atmosphere. Soon, your child’s body may automatically start to become sleepy at the beginning of their routine.
Make the bedroom environment the same every night
A tranquil, soothing environment is extremely important to help your child feel at ease, and as a result, fall asleep faster.
Room-darkening shades, a nightlight, or sound machine might help your child feel more secure. Clothes and blankets should not restrict movement, and the bedroom temperature shouldn’t be too warm or too cold.
Don’t forget your child’s favorite toy, blanket or stuffed animal. Without these, your child might not be able to fall asleep as easily and consequently, neither will you!
Set consistent limits and use safety objects to help them fall asleep
Setting down some rules even as a game is a great way to get your toddler stick to the bedtime routine. For instance, you can decide on how many books to read every night. This should not be negotiable as it is important to show you are in charge. If you kid has fears or worries, provide with solutions like a flashlight, a spray bottle filled with “monster spray,” or a large stuffed animal to “protect” him rather than have them get used to falling asleep with you by their side.
For pre-schoolers (3-5 years)
Maintain a regular and consistent sleep schedule
Consistency is key! Make sure your child is waking up and going to bed at the same time each day. You must not allow the child to determine when this schedule changes, as this will create confusion. In addition, sticking to a plan should be pursued even on the weekend or holidays as much as possible.
Have a relaxing bedtime routine that ends in the room where the child sleeps
Create a relaxing environment for your children before bedtime. In this respect, it is great to establish a consistent and relaxing bedtime routine that lasts between 20 and 30 minutes and ends in your child’s bedroom.
Children adapt to routines and don’t like changes as much. A pre-sleep ritual is a great strategy to help prepare the child for sleep. You can start off with turning down the lights 30 minutes before sleep, let them have a warm bath or shower and calm down by avoiding all stimulating activities, says Carol L. Rosen, M.D., medical director of pediatric sleep services at Case Western Reserve University’s School of Medicine at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland. Reading a book may be just what they need. Repeating the same regimen every night right before bedtime may make falling asleep as easy as the routine.
For school-aged children (6-12 years)
Teach school-aged children about healthy sleep habits
By this age, your child can easily follow rules and discuss what is right or not. They even have their own opinion which they often express during your talks. It is a great idea to try and show the child how sleep is an important part of his daily routine and that school-age children need between 9 and 12 hours of sleep each night.
Getting them to familiarize with good sleep habits will most probably help them adopt these patterns during their childhood without having to chase them about this constantly.
Continue to emphasize a need for regular and consistent sleep schedule and bedtime routine
As your child grows older, you should continue to do specific things before bed, such as warm bath and story time, which signal to your child what’s coming next. The routine will likely change when your kid gets older and he’s able to put himself to bed, but the basics of going from active to quieter activities, and unplugging from video games and TV still apply.
You must try to maintain the routine, which is hard if parents’ schedules are irregular. Your child will more likely want to stay up longer and as he/she gets older will try to negotiate staying up longer. Try to stick to the plan and add a few reward systems like a sticker chart or a drawing of the routine in the bedroom, since repeating the same steps each night actually can help the child fall asleep more easily by giving her body cues it’s time to induce sleep.
Make child’s bedroom conducive to sleep – dark, cool and quiet
You should absolutely make sure that your child’s bedroom is prepared for sleep. The optimum condition would be to keep it cool (68 degrees Fahrenheit), comfortable, dark and quiet. Don’t bundle your child up too tightly in blankets or set the heat too high; typical room temperature or a little cooler is better to promote deep sleep. Also, use earplugs or white noise machines to keep unwanted noise from waking them up.
- Also read: Best Temperature for Sleep
Keep TV and computers out of the bedroom
This stands for adults as well however in particular in the case of children it should not be neglected. TVs, computers and other electronics can distract your child from falling asleep at night and even disrupt the quality of sleep by reducing melatonin production, which plays an important role in sleep-wake cycles. When melatonin levels are at their highest, most people are sleepy and ready for bed.
- Also read: Melatonin Overdose
Furthermore, research has also shown that children with electronics in their bedroom have decreased test scores, higher rates of depression and lower abilities to concentrate. Just a half an hour of TV before bed can mess with that enough to keep your child up an extra two hours!
Limit after-school activities
Extra-curricular activities are important as your child grows older, and in many instances, your child asks for more and more of this. However, having a packed daily schedule until late at night coupled with lots of homework can push the bedtime later and later.
Kids at this age still need about 10-11 hours of sleep a day, although the average is only about 9 hours. Therefore be sure to pay attention to how much of these activities your child attends to and how they interfere with her/his sleep duration.
Don’t let the weekend throw you off
Although this may seem difficult to do yourself, it is best if you try to encourage your child to maintain the same wakeup time even during the weekends. You could, of course, allow them to sleep a little later on weekends and holidays, yet don’t be too generous as those extra hours of sleep could create a sort of jet-lag effect, making it hard for their body to feel tired at bedtime.
Sleeping in late kind of throws off our internal clocks and could potentially lead to difficulties for the child to wake up and sleep during the schooldays.
Avoid caffeine and big meals before bedtime
Similar to adults, what we eat greatly affects our sleep. As your child gets older, he/she might want to try more caffeine or such related drinks, while there is usually the preference for sugar. However, if your child eats or drinks any food with high levels of protein, sugar or caffeine in the evening, he or she will find it more difficult to sleep as these foods act as energy stimulators. It is best to avoid anything containing caffeine less than six hours before bedtime.
Instead, you should encourage your child to eat food with simple carbohydrates as a bedtime snack rather than big meals close to bedtime. Even better, prefer warm milk, which has a soothing effect which is more likely to lead to falling asleep.
Encourage your child to exercise
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle from an early age is the secret to growing old healthy. You should encourage your child to expend his or her energy throughout the day by playing outdoors as this has dual benefits: it keeps children healthy and helps them sleep more easily.
For teenagers (13-18 years)
Blue light therapy
Blue light is probably the worst option when you want to fall asleep, as it can boost alertness. Thinking reverse-engineer, you could use blue light bulbs or lamps in the morning to help your teen adjust more easily.
Reserve the bed for sleep only
Often teenagers tend to leave their bed (and overall the room) untidy, with all their stuff disturbing their sleep since they are bored to put them on the floor. In addition, they usually like to read on the bed, watch a movie or do anything other than sleep!
Trying to advise your teen to have a good bedtime routine can include getting them to have their bed used exclusively for sleep, free of distractions or engaging in other activities while laying on the bed. In this sense, once the teen gets into bed, this could act as a final trigger for the brain to say that it’s time to sleep now.
Ban screens the hours before going to bed
Encourage your teen to keep the smartphone, tablet, laptop and other devices out of the bedroom. If you establish this rule from early on during the teenage years, it is likely that you won’t have any trouble getting your child to follow this rule and avoid such distractions.
There is nothing worse than caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, and of course other recreational substances when it comes to getting your teenagers to sleep. These stimulants, even when taken up to 4 hours before bedtime interfere with proper sleep and should be avoided by those struggling with insomnia.
Pursue that your school district adopt later start times
Several studies suggest that schools with later start time had better-performing students. Not only that, those districts had fewer car accidents caused by teenage drivers according to another study. In fact, it was found that car crashes by teenagers were reduced by 16.5% when school start times were moved back by 1 hour. Currently, 29 states have at least one district that has moved the start time later. If you want you can join the national movement to push back middle school and high school start times at Start School Later.
Set a bedtime
If you try to set a bedtime for your teen, even if it is earlier than what they want, it could mean better sleep, according to one study. NPR reports that this is because setting this limit gets the message across that parents feel sleep is important.
Encourage them to listen to relaxing music
Although most teenagers love listening to music, they tend to prefer types of music that are not calming but instead make their heads spin. They also like to turn on the volume to the maximum even just before bedtime, leaving them tense.
However, music could be your alley to help them fall asleep as long as you get them to listen to specific kind of music. For instance, research evidence suggests that music with a slow rhythm of 60 to 80 beats per minute is perfect to help you fall asleep and boost sleep quality—and, in one study on classical music, even improve symptoms of depression.
Therefore, try to persuade your teenage child to put on relaxing calming music and he/ she will be close to falling asleep.
Don’t let your teenager work out at night
Similar to adults, working out during the evening can keep your teenager buzzing when he/she should be sleeping. If they want to adopt a healthy lifestyle, encourage them to work very early in the morning were possible, or early afternoon.
In addition, it seems that people who work out on a treadmill or outdoors exposed in the sunshine at 7:00 am sleep longer and experience deeper sleep cycles. Therefore it is best if your child exercises outside.
Help them relieve stress
Usually more common with teenagers, but still also kids can have trouble shutting their brains off for the night. This is due to a hormone that plays a role in sleep called cortisol, also known as the “stress hormone.” When cortisol levels are high, your kid’s body won’t be able to shut down and go to sleep. Maintaining low energy activities before bedtime, keeping the lights dim, and the environment quiet can help avoid excess amounts of cortisol in your child’s system.
Also, instead of increasing that anxiety by insisting it’s time to sleep, focus more on the idea of relaxation and calming your child’s body down.
One method parents have successfully used is the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT): this involves light tapping on specific points along the body’s energy meridians, like the collarbone or between the eyebrows, often accompanied by attention to current thoughts and feelings, in order to restore a balanced feeling.
For all ages
If, despite your best efforts, your kid does not fall asleep or wakes up during the evening, has nightmares or night terrors, they might have a genuine sleep disorder.
Now is the time to visit your pediatrician and share your concerns, as you might want to explore other options or delve deeper into the cause of your kid’s insomnia. Experts will definitely find a way to help your kid overcome this difficult time.
Also read: Best mattress for your kids.
Sleep deprivation is reportedly one serious problem that parents have to deal with since more and more research suggests that the effects of sleep deprivation on children are harmful to their health. It is also important to realize how much sleep is optimal, and the recommended amount, depending on every child’s age.
The National Sleep Foundation conducted and published a scientifically rigorous update of its sleep duration recommendations this year. The feeling of sleepiness when deprived sleep is highly correlated to daytime function and performance. Sleep duration is influenced by habitual bedtime, wake-up time, and the usual everyday activities.
If your child experiences sleep deprivation, he or she might be affected more or less than others, yet it definitely good to find ways to encourage optimal sleep.
However, don’t think of your child’s lack of sleep is an issue that cannot be dealt with and get frustrated about it. You must first find the right amount of sleep for your child in order for him or her to be able to fully participate in normal daily activities to the highest degree.
Trying to expose the benefits of good night sleep is a good practice for an older child, with positive results. A study indicated that an increase in sleep time by approximately 30 minutes every night for 5 nights had an immediate impact on the emotional ability and restless-impulsive behaviors of children in school.
Above all, regardless of your child’s age, it is recommended that you set a consistent everyday sleeping schedule which the toddler, child or teenager must follow. This daily ritual should be a routine that helps the child to relax and could include a to wind down before going to bed like take a warm bath, brush teeth, reading a story, drink some warm milk.
You should also ensure that the bedroom is free of distractions like TV, screens or noises, and instead, dim lights, keep it cool and tidy, as well as nurture for the blankets to be gently and not disrupt the child’s breathing, whilst making sure any favorite animals to be in close reach. If your child learns to adopt good sleeping habits from an early age, then it is more likely that he these will continue throughout childhood.
Follow the techniques proposed in this article and we are confident you will notice your child will sleep his/her way to better health. Also, if you have any other methods tested with your children that work magic, let us know and we will update this list!