For many families, pandemic-level sleep issues are still present for parents and children alike. Many adults experience problems with getting a good night’s rest due to the everyday stress factors, such as balancing work and family life, along with all the stressors of everyday life. Research shows many younger school-age children have issues getting quality sleep. In the past two years, bedtimes and wake times have drifted 30 to 60 minutes later for some families. Many children who needed sleep aids at the beginning of the pandemic are still needing them now.
Experts are still studying the long-term effects children may experience due to pandemic-disrupted sleep, but if your children are still having trouble catching those Z’s, here are some ideas that might help:
1.) Enact New Bedtime Rituals. Current research shows that our internal clocks work much better when we go to bed at the same time every night. Establishing rituals that signal “bedtime” to your children can help. These can be routines, such as reading a bedtime story, journaling and reciting words of affirmation.
2.) De-Stress. There are many bedtime routines that parents can implement to help their children transition into a calm state-of-mind. First, ask your children what makes them calm and incorporate it into their routines. For example, certain DIY aromatherapy crafts provide some good options. Bath time with lavender oil is another way to calm children before bed.
3.) Nutrition To Help Sleep. Certain foods can help produce better levels of the feel-good hormone serotonin, which is linked to general happiness. Examples of these foods include a healthy mix of vitamins, minerals, fatty acids and proteins, such as fruits and veggies, fish and whole grains.
Adjusting your family’s sleep schedule to pre-pandemic levels can be difficult, but trying some of these ideas may help get your family back on track!
Rachel Buchholz (2022). Still Seeing Pandemic-Level Sleep Issues in Kids? This Might Help National Geographic, (1).