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Is Your Childís Bedroom a Nightmare?

Be honest, when you designed your childís bedroom did you consider their sleep needs?  Or did you, like the vast majority of parents, choose items that looked appealing?  If so you are not alone, but the bedroom environment can have a huge impact on your childís sleep so it is important to get it right.

Often childrenís bedrooms are stimulating, completely the wrong environment to relax and fall asleep in.    Children may spend time in their bedroom during the day playing and therefore not associate the bedroom with a place to relax and fall asleep.  Here are my top 10 tips for you to follow and turn the bedroom back into a rest room:

1.      1.  If possible store toys out of sight in cupboards.  If this isnít possible use a sheet to cover them over at night.  There is nothing more tempting at night for a child than seeing their favourite toys.

2.      2.  Televisions and computers in bedrooms are best avoided.  If you do have them in your childís room they should not be used during the last hour before bedtime because they are mentally stimulating.

3.      3.  Sometimes posters on the wall and pictures can be enough to frighten children during the night.  The poster of a wrestler looking tough may seem fine during the day time but at night it can suddenly become intimidating to a child.  If your child wants to keep the posters up you could cover them over at night or place them in a position where they canít be seen from the bed. 

4.      4.  Colours are very important in bedrooms.  Pastel and neutral shades are the best for promoting relaxation.  Red is best avoided at all costs.  Fast food restaurants are painted red as it is the least relaxing colour in the spectrum.  Fast food retailers rely on a quick turnover of customers and they use the colour red to ensure that their customers donít stay for very long. 

5.     5.  Blackout blinds are an excellent investment particularly during the summer months when the nights are much lighter.  Our bodies need darkness in order to produce melatonin.  It is melatonin that leads us to feel sleepy so it is important that the room is dark to promote sleep.


 6.  Scents can help to set the scene for relaxation.  Many of the baby products now contain sleep inducing scents such as lavender.  There are many products on the market that are specifically designed for children.

7.      7.  Temperature in the bedroom is very important.  If it is too hot it will cause your child to find it difficult to get to sleep.  The ideal temperature is round about 18 degrees.  Buy a nursery thermometer if you are unsure and keep a check.

8.      8.  Music can help to set the scene.  Try playing relaxing classical music during the run up to bedtime.

9.      9.  Never use the bedroom as a place to send your child for a punishment.  You want your child to view time in their bedroom as a positive experience not a negative one. 

     10.   Is your childís bed comfortable?  Try out your childís bed for at least 20 minutes and see how it feels.  It is surprising that we often arenít aware that mattresses need replacing until weíve been forced into spending some time in our childrenís beds.  If the bed isnít comfortable your child is going to find it difficult to relax.

 

Victoria Dawson is a sleep practitioner, teacher and trainer, most importantly she is a Mum who has in the past experienced sleep problems with a child.  She speaks at national conferences about sleep and parenting issues and is often featured on radio . 

Victoria runs training courses for groups of parents and details can be found at www.trainwithelite.co.uk

 

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