Children’s Sleep in Isolation
We are living through extraordinary times now, and I know that many people, myself included, are feeling anxious and unsettled. It’s no wonder then that our little ones will also be feeling anxious – their routines and daily lives have all been altered, and they will be picking up on the worries of those around them. The change can impact their behaviour and sleep, which can make life under lockdown even harder.
I know I say it a lot, but routine is critical when dealing with babies and toddlers, especially when it comes to sleep. Everyday life and the structure we have built into every day has changed drastically in such a short space of time, so it’s understandable if routines and schedules have gone out of the window at the moment.
Where possible, though, I would try and continue, restart or even introduce some structure around sleep for your little one, particularly a pre-sleep routine at bedtime and for naps if your wee one still needs sleep during the day. These are important to let your child know that it’s time for sleep – children thrive on routine, and an excellent pre-sleep routine can help them start to sleep better.
It doesn’t have to be too elaborate; ensure that you follow the same routine each bedtime (and a shortened version for naps), and you should find getting your little one to go to sleep is less of a struggle.
Your child may well be getting less fresh air and exercise than they are used to, which can again impact sleep. So whenever possible, it’s great if you can get your wee one outside in the fresh air at least once a day. I know our trampoline has been used more in the last week than the whole of last summer!
Fresh air and exercise can work wonders in promoting good and healthy sleep. If you’re not able to get outside each day during the lockdown, that’s fine. If you can encourage your little one to dance around inside or burn off some energy in a game, that’s another option.
There are loads of free classes and videos popping up all over social media at the moment, so it should be easy to find something for you and your little one to enjoy inside.
It may be that some of your little ones are aware that something strange is going on in the world but aren’t sure of what exactly is happening. This can be scary and unsettling for wee ones – it’s good to talk to them about what is going on in an age-appropriate way and encourage them to ask questions if they’re at an age where they may have heard things but not be able to understand them fully. This can all help to reassure them and hopefully allay any fears that may be bottling up.
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Caro is a Senior Certified Sleepy Lambs Sleep Consultant® based in Edinburgh, Scotland.
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