Sleep helps the body and mind reset and recharge after a long day of problem-solving and working with our physical therapist. You may notice that your kids are very tired after a good physical therapy session, and one of the best things you can do as a parent is to help get your child into a solid sleeping routine. But as every parent knows, this is often a task that is easier said than done. Luckily, after years of working with children of all ages, our physical therapy team has a few simple tips and tricks that you can implement to help create a lasting bedtime routine that really works!
Ask a Physical Therapist: How to Create a Bedtime Routine for Your Kids
Creating a regular bedtime routine can help your child prepare mentally and physically for the day ahead. A well-rested child is more likely to avoid tantrums during the day and complete regular activities like their physical therapy sessions with ease. But before you and your partner start crafting a plan to help your child sleep better at night, it’s a good idea to consider a few key points.
How Much Sleep Does Your Child Need?
Some children nap very easily, while others simply refuse. Similarly, some kids need more sleep than others. This simple chart may be helpful in determining an average number of hours that your child should be resting each day.
Making Time for Sleep
Kids today often have busier schedule than their parents. With school, social engagements, sports, physical therapy appointments and after-school activities, it can be hard to know when they should be getting to bed. Setting a goal bedtime is an important starting point for a good bedtime routine.
Where Should They Sleep?
If your child currently spend the majority of nights drifting from their own bed to yours and then to a sibling’s bed, you’ll need to set some clear goals around their bedtime destination as well. Where do you want them to sleep? Plan to have them fall asleep in the bed that they should stay in all night.
Making a Plan That Works
After sitting in on numerous physical therapy appointments, you know that kids do well when they know what to expect. If they are old enough, sit down with your kids and create a routine together. Go over everything, including leaving school, working with their physical therapist, doing homework and eating dinner and sleeping.
Next, estimate how long it will take to complete each task on the list before sleep and work backward to find the perfect bedtime for your kids. This could mean starting their bedtime routine as early as 5:30. But remember, if this doesn’t work for their current schedule, scale back on the number of steps in the routine.
Additional Tips for Success
- Start working on the routine before your kids get tired. It’s very easy for kids to become overtired after physical therapy and school, so it can be hard to avoid a meltdown if you begin later in the evening.
- Our physical therapist and other doctors recommend that parents limit screen time at least 30 minutes before bedtime. This means that your child shouldn’t be falling asleep to the TV or playing on the iPad.
- Create a welcoming space for sleep by limiting clutter and other distractions in their bedroom. Setting up a night light or using low wattage bulbs in lamps also help to create a cozy atmosphere.
Work Together to Reach a Common Goal
Want more great health and lifestyle tips from our physical therapy team? Contact us today to learn how your kids can live pain-free with regular physical therapy sessions!