Like many other things in our lives, our sleeping pattern has also been gravely affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. The pandemic has resulted in erratic sleeping patterns among adults and kids alike. We believe that factors like changed routine and lifestyle are the main culprits for disrupting sleep across all age groups.
A good night’s sleep is extremely vital for us to maintain our health. For kids especially, sound sleep aids in improving memory, attention span, behavior, ability to learn and grasp things and foremost it promotes overall mental and physical well being.
Children, in fact, need more hours of sleep than adults. According to the WHO, babies less than a year old need 12-17 hours of sleep, toddlers from 1-2 years and 3-4 years need 11-14 hours and 10-13 hours of sleep respectively. Yet another study by American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that children from 6-12 years need 9-12 hours of sleep for optimal health.
To make sure that your kids sleep well even during the lockdown, we put our thinking caps on and jotted down a list of things that may be affecting their sleep and how you can address them:
Change in Daily Routine
A normal day with a child involves getting them ready for school, taking them for various activities like dance, music and karate, some play time and then it’s time to retire for the day. But these aren’t normal times and a disciplined routine seems like a distant dream on most of the days.
As we mentioned in our earlier blog on guide to keeping your kids busy in the times of COVID-19, even though it might seem difficult to set a routine, it is important. We urge you to embrace the new normal and set a routine that works for both you and your child.
While you must include some form of physical activity for your kids in the routine to channelize their energy during the day, do include spending quality time with them as well. This will ensure that they sleep peacefully during bedtime instead of delaying sleep to spend time with you.
Sleeping every day at the same time after a day full of activities ensures that your child sleeps peacefully. It is recommended that children sleep by 8 pm in early childhood. You may stop screen time at least 30 minutes before bedtime and have a calming bedtime ritual which may include reading or listening to soothing music.
Stress & Anxiety
Understandably, a pandemic brings a lot of stress and anxiety along with it. The fear of the unknown and the responsibility to protect the family can be overwhelming for parents. Believe us when we say, quite often our stress rubs off on our children as well. They may not be able to express what they are feeling but it may show in their behavior and irregular sleeping patterns or eating habits. So as parents, it is important to calm ourselves and be patient with our children.
If your child can express their frustration and distress about the way their lives have been affected or fear of the disease then hear them out and help them overcome these feelings. A calm mind definitely helps get a good night's sleep. For younger kids, keep them busy and spend more time with them for their well-being.
So as parents, it is important to avoid all conversations related to the pandemic in front of our kids and to be calm and patient with them.
Practice What You Preach
We all know that children ape their parents. Be it the way we walk or talk, you will find a reflection of yours in them. The same is true for our other habits as well. If you want your children to reduce their screen time, adapt a set routine and sleep on time; then you must follow the same.
Using the right pillow
If you want to buy a pillow for your toddler then you must do some research before choosing the right one. The sole purpose of a pillow is to provide comfort so that your child sleeps peacefully. Use pillows that aren’t too soft as a child’s head is softer than an adult’s, they might get suffocated with an extremely soft pillow.
The Right Clothes
It’s summer and one must introduce summer clothing to their kids wardrobe which helps them to bear the rising temperature. A combination of track pants and vests or shorts and vests made with cotton fabric are the best choices. These are not just soft on your child’s sensitive skin but also provide them the freedom to sleep comfortably.