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Sleep and your child’s mental health

Sleep and your child’s mental health

It’s no secret – sleep is an essential factor when it comes to your child’s overall health and development. While a few bad nights can be normal, children with persistent sleeping problems could lead to temperament, learning and social behavior issues. Below, we outline steps you can take to improve your child’s sleeping habits, ensuring they get the critical sleep they need to develop and function properly.

Bedtime bravery

For a lot of children, the looming thought of going to sleep can be anxiety-inducing. That’s why it’s important to help them face it with bravery. Try drowning out odd noises with a sound machine; illuminating the room with a night light; or re-labeling an air freshener bottle as “monster spray.” Stay consistent in helping them face their fear. If they wake up in the middle of the night, bring them back to their own bed – instead of resorting to letting them sleep in yours. In turn, celebrate your child’s good nights by using a rewards system such as a sticker chart.

Sleep environment control

Allow your child to take control of his or her bedtime routine by choosing which stuffed friend or blanket to bring to bed. Find an activity your child enjoys doing to help calm him or her before bed, such as selecting a book to read or giving him or her an after-bath back rub.

Unplug

Technology use can directly correlate with a child’s sleeping difficulties. Avoid this obstacle by asking your children to unplug at least one hour before bed. Use the hour as time for them to relax while doing quiet activities. Eliminating screens from the bedroom entirely or scheduling their screen time throughout the day can also help with your child’s difficulties winding down.

If you feel your child is struggling with sleep anxiety, you might be interested in learning more about our Children’s Behavioral Health Initiative Services. South Bay provides the proper programs, certified staff members and clinicians for the perfect combination of professional therapy and guidance. A healthy night’s sleep benefits the entire family unit. As most moms can attest, when children sleep better, parents sleep better! Let our clinicians help your family establish healthy sleeping habits that will ensure you all get the critical sleep needed for mental, physical and emotional health.

For more information, contact us at 508-521-2200 or click here.