Observing healthy sleep habits for your children this fall

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Observing healthy sleep habits for your children this fallTired of the bedtime battle? Parents say, “Time to go” and in response hear, “But why do I have to go to bed now?”

Depending on the age of your child, one solution is to help them to understand the “Why?” Children are curious by nature. As they get older, many are equally or more internet savvy than their parents. Make use of their natural curiosity and budding computer skills during weekend family time with a fun internet or library search to learn about healthy sleep patterns. A great online resource is the Canadian Sleep Society that offers concise tips for parents.

You can’t afford not to get enough sleep.

Lack of sleep can affect our immune system and many experts agree that children and teens require a minimum of nine hours of sleep a night to stay healthy and alert at school.

Good “sleep hygiene” applies to children too, not just adults. Bedrooms need to be at a comfortable temperature, not too warm or too cold, and they need to be quiet and dark enough to enable sleep. Too much light or noise (such as a television or computer screen) distract from a good night’s sleep. Build into your children’s schedules a consistent pattern of “wind-down” time before bed that prepares them for bedtime and healthy sleep habits. This can include relaxing activities such as bath time or reading a short story.

Nutrition can also affect sleep. Children, like adults, can’t sleep well if they are hungry or if they have consumed heavy or large meals too soon before bedtime. Canada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating includes options for healthy light snacks and your doctor can discuss with you whether a bedtime snack makes sense for your child.

For additional support, check with your Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) as most offer resources on health & wellness, parenting and nutrition. You may go to workhealthlife.com to find out more about Shepell·fgi’s EFAP. However, if your child persistently has trouble sleeping, speak with your doctor.

For more tips and resources on childhood safety, visit us at workhealthlife.com

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