Getting enough sleep is very important to a child’s mental and physical development. Even in infancy, while children are sleeping, their brains are busy working while they rest. When your baby is sleeping and starts to twitch, that is their body learning the connection between their brain and their muscles. Throughout the day some children may have a harder time than others concentrating. Children who do not get enough sleep may have a more difficult time focusing or managing their moods. Making sure your child is well rested not only helps them to concentrate and to learn new things, but it also supports the brain to take in information and retain it.
Children who do not sleep as much as they should may see a negative effect on their growth hormones. Because this hormone is primarily produced during sleep, a child that is lacking rest may develop a growth hormone deficiency. Lack of sleep can also affect a child’s weight. According to the Sleep Foundation, children who suffer from sleep deprivation may be affecting their leptin hormone which tells a child that they have eaten enough. If this hormone has been impacted, a child will continue eating even though they’ve had enough which can lead to obesity.
To ensure that your child gets the amount of sleep needed, it’s important to start a sleep schedule at a young age and to be as consistent as possible with it. A bedtime routine will not only keep your child on a consistent schedule, but it will also help to calm your child down from the day and help them to fall asleep faster. A bedtime routine can be as simple as taking a bath, brushing your teeth, singing a quiet song together or reading a book. Below are a few bedtime routine songs families can try:
This Little Finger goes Night-Night
This little finger on the end goes cluck, cluck like a baby hen.
The next little finger on the hand goes (make a noise) like a big brass band.
This tall finger goes tick tock, just like Mommy’s alarm clock.
This little finger points to you and says, “I love you, yes I do.”
The last little thumb goes night-night.
And says, “Kiss me so I will sleep tight.”
Instructions: Hold your child’s hand, say the rhyme and touch the designated finger and make the sounds. At the last line, give your child a kiss and tuck them into bed.
Held in my Arms
to the tune Rock-a-Bye baby
Hold your child in your arms and sing:
Rock a bye baby
Held in my arms.
Having you near me, I see your charms.
When things seem scary, I’ll hold you tight,
And whisper, “I love you” all through the night
Variations: You can make up different verses to the song with your child. Add your child’s name instead of baby or make the song silly. You can also have your child find the rhyming words.
What bedtime routines does your family do?