Over the years I’ve picked up some tips for helping my tween sleep better. To be honest, this wasn’t something that was on my radar before. We talk all the time about helping babies and little kids get more rest. Good sleep is important as kids get older, too.
Tweens and teens often have the reputation of displaying odd sleeping habits. Maybe they’re up all hours of the night. They might have a problem waking up in the morning. Some tweens, like mine, can’t help but to wake up bright and early early every day, and by 8 PM, she’s toast.
Thankfully I know her sleep pattern and have worked with her to get a better quality of rest.
Tweens and teens need sleep
According to the Sleep Foundation, teens need 8 – 10 hours of sleep each night. That’s sounds about right for tweens, too. With school starting as early as 7:30 AM and 8 AM for some kids, that means they need to get to bed earlier.
I wish it was that easy. Between sports practices, rehearsals, club meetings, and homework, the day gets pretty long for kids. There have been times when my daughter hasn’t gotten to bed until after 10 PM. The day after a long night is really hard for her, so I try to minimize them. Sometimes, though, we just can’t help it.
The one thing we can help, though, is staying up late for no reason. Even during on weekends, my daughter goes to bed during her regular time. She needs to get rest, and that doesn’t stop just because there’s no school tomorrow.
As parents, it’s our responsibility to keep our kids healthy. Making sure they get adequate sleep is part of that.
Our kids don’t want that. That’s the job of the tween, you know, to oppose things their parents tell them that’s good and that makes sense. You can’t let your child talk you out of helping them get enough sleep.
You must persist, mama. But you don’t have to go into the fight unarmed. Here are some easy changes you can make to help your tween get better sleep.
1. Stay hydrated
If your tween has a tough time going to sleep, or wakes up in the middle of the night, they might be dehydrated. Make sure they have a cute water bottle to carry with them through the day and that they’re drinking water.
My daughter drinks at least 64 oz. of water every day, and she’s out like a light at night. Being hydrated will help your tween sleep better because their nasal passages and throat will stay lubricated which means they’re likely to snore less. The rest of their body will be thankful for the extra fluid to help them function at full capacity, too.
It’s just a huge win overall.
You might find that your tween is really just not that tired at bedtime. It could be because they’re not getting enough exercise.
Think about what your tween does during the day. Are they moving around or sitting a lot? Do they do enough activity for them to actually get tired?
If they aren’t, think about adding an early evening family walk to your schedule each day. Or do some exercise videos with them. You could even have a daily dance battle. Anything to get them moving and using up some of that energy.
3. Wind Down Earlier
It takes most people about 1 – 2 hours to wind down from being on social media, watching television, or using other types of screens. Very frequently I hear about tweens working on homework right up until bedtime. At that point, the kid is too wired up to go to sleep.
What do they do then? They sit up and text with friends. Or they run scenarios through in their brains just like we do. By the time they get tired, they only have a few hours before it’s time to wake up and start all over again.
As much as possible, front load all of your tweens school work at the beginning of the evening. Encourage them to start winding down a couple of hours before you want them to go to sleep. Instead of social media at night, they can read a book. Instead of television, play a low-key card game or complete a puzzle with them.
Help your tween to wind down so they can fall asleep at a reasonable hour.
4. Create an appropriate sleep Environment
Take inventory of your tween’s sleep environment. What do they sleep in? Is their bedroom too warm? Too cold? Is their bed comfortable?
Really look at their sleep environment to see if it’s set up for optimal rest. There might be too much light coming in their windows at night and that’s keeping them awake. Maybe they need to stop sleeping in oversize tee-shirts that get twisted in the middle of the night, and wear pajamas.
Leave no stone unturned when it comes to figuring out what might be holding your tween back from getting good sleep in their current environment.
5. do the 4-7-8 breathing Exercise
This breathing exercise is my ace in the hole. I have done it for years and it was a key in helping to cure my insomnia. Here’s how you do it:
-Inhale for 4 counts.
-Hold your breath for 7 counts.
-Slowly exhale for 8 counts.
Your tween will keep doing this until they fall asleep. It nearly always works!
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