It is not uncommon for teachers to encounter students in their classes who are drowsy and, at times, falling off to sleep. This most often is an indication that the student is not getting sufficient rest at night. Ensuring that a child feels rested is a major criterion for their being able to remain alert and attentive in class. If fatigue persists, this can have a detrimental impact on the child’s behavior as well as their ability to listen and comprehend what is being discussed in class.
In today’s fast-paced digital world, there is also the additional challenge of keeping a child’s mind settled down enough so that they can absorb what is coming into it. This requires predictable routines and boundaries on certain activities.
So what can you do to provide the necessary environment for your child to get the rest needed? Here are some steps that you can take to bring that about:
- Make sure your child uses the bed for sleep only. Doing things other than sleeping in the bed can make it harder for your child to fall asleep at night. Make sure that the only thing that your child does in your bed is sleep. No to TV watching, playing video games, or doing homework in the bed.
- Make sure your child stops eating at least two hours before going to bed. Eating too close to bedtime can make it hard for them to fall asleep because your child’s body is still digesting food. Try to schedule the last snack of the evening at least two hours before bedtime. For example if your child’s bedtime is 9:00 PM, then schedule the snack at about 7:00pm. Also, make sure they do not eat too much either. Just have a light snack. For example, try having a piece of toast or a small bowl of cereal with milk.
- Make sure your child goes to bed at the same time every night. Having a set bedtime can make it easier to fall asleep at night because your child’s body will learn when it is time to sleep each night. Make sure that you stick to the same bedtime, even on the weekends. For example, if your weeknight bedtime is 9:00pm, then keep that bedtime on the weekend as well. It is also a good idea to wake up at the same time every day.
- This is a BIG one: Turn off all electronics at least 1 hour before bedtime. Research has demonstrated that having children accessing electronics right before they go to bed affects their ability to calm down enough mentally and emotionally as they are attempting to fall off to sleep. They need at least a 1 hour calm down period so their minds can unplug.
Don’t forget…you know the rhythm of your home and the demeanors of your children the best. Take control of the environment for their benefit. It will bring about predictability which will yield a more restful and peaceful place for them…and for you!