Lice are nocturnal creatures. They come out at night to crawl around finding food, laying eggs and weaving through hair follicles. If you notice your child is having difficulty sleeping lice may be the culprit. Their nighttime activity can cause an increase in itching and irritation making it difficult for your child to fall asleep. Whether your family is dealing with lice or not, experts all teach that nighttime regimes are an important part of helping children receive consistent, good rest.
Establish a Realistic Bedtime
Consider the time your child needs to be awake and ready for the day. Pick a bedtime that will give them plenty of time to wake up and feel prepared for the next day. According to the National Sleep Foundation, children of different ages need a varied amount of sleep. Based on your child’s age choose a time that can be realistically accomplished every day. If your child is old enough to have homework or chores remember to pick a time that will give them a chance to accomplish the day’s tasks before bedtime begins without feeling hurried or stressed.
Nighttime Routine Suggestions to Help Put Minds and Bodies in Sleep Mode
-Have bathtime at night. A warm, relaxing bath is a great way to start training your child’s inner clock that rest is coming. Relaxing scents can relieve stress, uplift the mind and spirit, and help the body become less tense. Recommended scents for bedtime include jasmine, lavender, vanilla or any of your favorite smells can do the trick.
-Use bedtime as a chance to communicate one on one with your child. Ask them about their day. Listen to any stories they want to tell you or questions they may have. Children are like adults. They want to feel important and heard. Reassuring them by giving them your time and attention for just a few minutes a night can go a long way to helping them feel at peace and ready to rest.
-Read a favorite book or tell familiar stories. Let your child choose a short book or two to help them unwind. Reading together, snuggling under a blanket will be a great tool in preparing them for bedtime.
-Choose a favorite song to sing. Softly singing or playing music relaxes the mind, forgetting about the events of the day and preparing your child’s mind to slow down. A familiar song every night can create that relaxing, soothing environment to ensure a good night’s sleep.
Sleep Recommendations Based on Age
-Infants and children up to two years of age need 14 hours a day. Usually, this involves a two-hour nap during the day, followed by a 12 hour sleep pattern through the night. Children usually sleep through the night by age six months. A nighttime regime can help with getting them in a pattern to sleep through the night.
-Children three to six years old need 12 hours of sleep a day. Basically, skip the nap and put them to bed at the regular time. This age is critical for development. Adequate sleep will help them tremendously to focus and pay attention at school.
-Older children ages seven to twelve need at least 10-11 hours of sleep a night. This is time actually spent in slumber. Staring awake at the ceiling in bed doesn’t count. Start their bedtime routine with enough time to make sure they are actually sleeping the full amount.
-Teenage children ages thirteen to eighteen still need about 8-9 hours of sleep as their bodies and minds are continuing to grow and develop. Teenagers deal with a large amount of stress and social pressure. They work hard in school and are always learning and on the move. Making sure they are receiving the sleep they need goes a long way on the path to success.