Children often have trouble sleeping. Parents wonder if they are doing something wrong. My work with families centers on developing routines. Predictable rituals for the night.
If they are toddlers, often a warm bath and a story -and or prayers (if that applies). It is good for children to reflect on what they are thankful for…please do not go over the schedule for tomorrow–that is the job of a white board and the morning ritual. Talking about the future makes them anxious and gets their mindsgoing…Can we do this after we do that? No questions and answers…We are preparing for sleep. We will get their little bodies ready. Dim the lights a bit but enough so you can read the book. Then light music and a night light if needed – ocean sounds or white noise or classical often puts them to rest. Kids do not need to be in parent beds. Kids need a theme in their room. If she likes Dory, get her a comforter. If he likes Paw Patrol. Make the room a place where she or he wants to be. My daughter loves Trolls. We have some nice items from Walmart in that room including a curtain set and sheets.
Remove electronics, TVs. My feeling is they babysit too much or our kids are energized by the colors and sounds and cannot get to bed. It is hard but I say a kid does not need a tv until they have a job. Take out cell phones and tablets each night – We have a basket at home. No texting all night, sorry! You need your rest. The developing brain needs REST. Cells in the body need rest. Parents needs to rest, too.
Bedwetting: No fluids for 2 hours before bed and use a good water proof mattress. A good sleeper can sleep through an accident. Heavy duty pull ups for the potty training kid. No eating or drinking in the bedroom. I tell my little one, I do not like bugs, do you? No., That is what we will have. Teens love to leave food in their bedrooms. If they have to come to the kitchen, you get to engage them more.
Last but not least: Write a note and leave it in their lunch bag. If they eat meals at school, on their bathroom mirror. Have a stack of sticky pads with the notes pre-written. “Have a Great Day.” When you leave them at school give them a positive message…No fighting in the car! The teacher will have to deal with your upset kid.
Dr. Antoinette M Gomez, DMFT, LCSW and CAC III339 S. Union St. Kennett Square, PA 19348720-495-9282
Dr. Antoinette Gomez is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, and Registered Play Therapist. She has devoted 15 years to helping children and their families be successful in relating to one another. She also treats anxiety, depression, trauma, eating disorders, compulsions, addictions, and other life long stressors. She says, “Lately, I have been working with children with dependence on electronics including games like Minecraft and Fortnight who are angry when their parents set limits on use. One boy was putting holes in the household walls and threatening his mother. That is where parenting is so important.” I work on treating people with an abundance mentality and using CBT, to restructure their thoughts and to see the myriad of opportunities and skills in their lives. We also treat sleep problems. We over work, we over exercise , we tend not to sleep well….so, setting a sleep hygiene is critical for the brain replenishing. Parents, where did you put my cell phone or tablet? In the bin, turn off the lights, and get some sleep! Dr. Gomez is also a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.