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Eight Sleep Tips for Every Child

From The No-Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers and Preschoolers by Elizabeth Pantley

  • Provide the right nutrition
    Foods can affect energy level and sleepiness. Carbohydrates can have a calming effect on the body, while foods high in protein or sugar generate alertness, particularly when eaten alone. A few ideas for pre-bed snacks are: whole wheat toast and cheese, bagel and peanut butter, oatmeal with bananas, or yogurt and low-sugar granola.

    Vitamin deficiencies due to unhealthy food choices can affect a child's sleep. Provide your child with a daily assortment of healthy foods.

  • Help your child to be healthy and fit
    Many children don't get enough daily physical activity. Too much TV watching and a lack of activity prevents good sleep. Children who get ample daily exercise fall asleep more quickly, sleep better, stay asleep longer, and wake up feeling refreshed.

    Avoid activity in the hour before bedtime though, since exercise is stimulating - they'll be jumping on the bed instead of sleeping in it!

  • Teach your child how to relax
    Many children get in bed but aren't sure what to do when they get there! It can help to follow a soothing pre-bed routine that creates sleepiness. A good pre-bed ritual is story time. A child who is listening to a parent read a book or tell a tale will tend to lie still and listen. This quiet stillness allows him to become sleepy.

  • Work with these eight ideas and you'll see improvements in your child's sleep, and yours too.

    Excerpted with permission by McGraw-Hill Publishing from The No-Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers and Preschoolers (McGraw-Hill 2005) by Elizabeth Pantley

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