By Lilly Cadoch
Our kids are not getting enough sleep these days—and neither are we, for that matter. With the pressure we busy moms put on ourselves to be productive, as well as overscheduling our children so they can gain a competitive edge, sleep falls lower and lower on the totem pole of priorities.
Just our bodies need to the right foods for optimal performance, we also need rest in order to recharge. No amount of healthy food is going to compensate for sleep deprivation.
Here are five sleep tips inspired by my book, Busy Mom’s Cheat Sheet, to make sure your kids get a good night’s rest:
Tip #1. Keep kids to a consistent waking and sleeping schedule.
While I tend to let kids sleep later and wake up later on weekends, I put a limit on that so that it doesn’t interfere too much with their weekly sleep routine.
Tip #2. The environment in their rooms can affect sleep as well.
- I had my kids choose their bedding and pillows to make sure they found it comfortable and excited to get under those blankets at night.
- I also had night shades installed so that the room stays dark even when the sun rises.
- The temperature in the house is another factor that can affect sleep, with optimal temperature being between 68-70 degrees.
Tip #3. Full stomach makes restless sleep.
Eating a large meal right before bed can make it difficult to sleep, so try to avoid that when possible. I try to give kids last bite to eat between two and four hours before bed.
Tip #4. Remove your kids’ electronic devices from their room at bedtime.
This is crucial to getting a good night’s sleep for two reasons:
- This will help avoid the sneaking around to play at night or as kids get older waking up from texts or calls from friends.
- The bright light from the various screens (iPad, computer, phone, etc.) actually affects melatonin production which can negatively affect our ability to fall asleep.
Tip #5. Bribe your kids with extended one-on-one/quality time with you when you tuck them in if they go to bed on time.
- Bedtime Story: When my kids were younger, I’d read them a bedtime story with each one of my kids individually, and they would get to spend 10 exclusive minutes with me before their bedtime.
- Pillow Talk: Now that they are a bit older, I still tuck them into bed and have alone time with them to meditate, say their positive affirmations and have what we call “pillow talk”, which is when I really hear about what happened during their day!
How much sleep?
Below is a list of how many hours we should be getting based on age, according to the National Sleep Foundation. How many hours of sleep per night are your kids (and you!) getting?
- Newborns: 14-17 hours
- Infants: 12-15 hours
- Toddlers: 11-14 hours
- Preschoolers: 10-13 hours
- School-Age: 9-11 hours
- Teenagers: 8-10 hours
- Young Adults: 7-9 hours
- Adults: 7-9 hours
- Older Adults: 7-8 hours
In a nutshell, we need to ingrain in our kids (and remind ourselves) from a young age that sleep is a good thing and should be prioritized like everything else that is important to us.
About Lilly Cadoch
Lilly Cadoch is a certified health coach, award-winning author and works full time in New York City. Married with two sons, Lilly is dedicated to helping busy moms and all caregivers raise happy, healthy kids. More lessons and tips like these as well as 45 healthy, quick and delicious recipes can be found in her book, Busy Mom’s Cheat Sheet: Raising Happy Healthy Kids. For more information and to subscribe to her free newsletter, visit her website.