SLEEP AND ANXIETY ISSUES WITH CHILDREN FROM THE SLEEP CHARITY

Amidst the current crisis there will understandably be lots of anxiety around everyday living. This in turn is likely to affect our sleep and also our children’s.

As a nation, we have had to quickly change the way that we live and make huge changes to our daily routines and practices. We know that anxiety can lead to difficulty with sleep and vice versa.

SO, WHAT CAN WE DO?

There is likely to be many questions that children will want to ask parents about what is currently happening which in turn will cause worry. Trying to ensure that these types of conversations are happening earlier on in the daytime – rather than bedtime – will be helpful to both your child and you. You won’t always have all the answers but offering lots of reassurance about the safety measures you are taking will hopefully give your child a sense of peace.

TRY TO MAINTAIN A SIMILAR SLEEP AND WAKE CYCLE

Even without school this will help keep the body in tune with what it should be doing.  At some point children will go back to school and will need to have those routines in place. This is all within reason and an hour either side would be easy to come back from.  Just try, where possible, not to let it get too out of hand e.g. 9pm bedtimes and 10am wake up times!

MAINTAIN SOME ‘NORMALITY’ THROUGH THE DAY

There are so many things that are being posted online about things that you can do with your children.  We would recommend trying to stick to the same eating pattern (breakfast, lunch and tea) that your child has, participating in some physical exercise during the day to help aid sleep at night and also allowing for ‘downtime’ each day, we all need it!

HAVING A GOOD RELAXING WIND DOWN TIME THE HOUR BEFORE BED

This will help your child to fall asleep more easily. Try doing some calming activities with your child, offer a supper and reading a story before bed. Bath time can also be appropriate if your child finds a bath relaxing, however for some children bath time can be very stimulating.

ELECTRONIC USAGE

While electronics are going to have more of a place during this time of self-isolation and social distancing, they should be avoided in the hour before bedtime. It can be important for your child to keep in touch with their friends – it is this interaction they will miss – and this will be primarily through using electronics. Some parents will still have the pressure of working and looking after their children, so it is expected a certain amount of additional electronic use is likely. Just focus on the hour before bed, removing all screen time to help your child’s brain to physically prepare for sleep.

REASSURING CHILDREN DURING THIS TIME IS VITAL

Focus on positive aspects and involve your children with activities such as creating rainbows, looking for rainbows on your daily walks, talking over their worries during the day and limiting exposure to the media around the corona virus. This will help to reduce the worries and anxieties your children may face.

Keep an eye on The Sleep Charity’s Facebook page for lots more information around how parents can help to manage sleep during this time.

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