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Helping Anxious Kids Sleep At Night

Anxiety is an unfortunately increasingly common problem in young children, affecting their ability to fall asleep and sleep soundly each night. Studies suggest that around 20-30% of school-aged children struggle to sleep at night, with fears and worries making a peaceful night difficult for everyone. If your child is or children are struggling with anxiety at night, there are a few things you can do to help ease them into a better night. Here, we’ve put together a few tips to help.

Bedroom Environment

Whether your child spends a good chunk of their time in their room, or it’s kept mostly for bedtimes, having the right bedroom environment can help to avoid anxieties and alleviate any that are existing from the day. A comfortable bed with a sturdy but fun headboard can lighten up the room and help make the space seem more comfortable and special. Our Teddy Bear Wooden Headboard is great for younger kids to create a unique and imagination-friendly environment for the sweetest dreams, or our Panda Upholstered Headboard works wonders too. Sticking with lighter colours and rearranging the bedroom to reduce the amount of shadow or dark spaces can help reduce nerves and create a more calming bedroom environment.

Read Them A Story Or Have A Chat Before Sleep

Bedtime stories have been a longstanding tradition for a lot of families, but it can actually help your child to sleep too. Reading a relatively calm, even boring story gives them the comfort of company while helping them to reach that drowsy, sleepy stage that’ll make it easier to fall asleep. If your child has a lot on their mind, having a chat with them in the evening and setting aside time in which to do so can help them offload any worries they have and in some cases, you may be able to work through these worries with them to relieve the pressure even more. 

Avoid Putting On Pressure

As frustrating as it can be when your child or children don’t seem to want to sleep, it’s important to be patient and avoid putting pressure on them when it comes to bedtime if they’re anxious. While some things, such as limiting screens before bed, can benefit the child, you should also be open to the idea of letting them do something relaxing if they can’t sleep. Letting them read or colour when they can’t sleep could help them relax and unwind enough to sleep, and may even become a routine that helps keep things consistent.

Reduce And Gradually Remove Screen Time Before Bed

If your child is used to screen time before bed, it could do more harm than good to completely remove it without warning. However, you should reduce how much they get in the hours running up to sleep. Not only does the blue light inhibit the natural melatonin release to help them relax for sleep, but access to social media (if they’re old enough), YouTube or other troubling topics could be making their worries worse. Gradually reduce their screentime in the evenings until you can comfortably cut it out for a couple of hours before bed without causing any unnecessary stress to your child. 

Research Worry-Handling Techniques For Kids

There are a number of stress management and worry handling techniques out there, but not all will be child-friendly. Depending on the age of your child, you could try a few different things. For younger children, consider worry dolls – these are based on Guatemalan tradition, in which children give away their worries to little dolls, which are then put under their pillow. The idea is that the doll will then worry instead or in some legends, can even get rid of the worries for the child. You can either buy these dolls online, or use a small stuffed toy instead. 

Keep To A Routine

Routine will keep things predictable and manageable for an anxious child, while maintaining a sense of independence if they know what’s supposed to happen and when. Your ideal routine will differ depending on your family’s lifestyle, your child’s age and more, so experiment a little to work out what’s best. This could be as simple as having a bath or shower, brushing their teeth and then heading to bed, or could include a warm drink, a bath, a story, or anything else your child may benefit from. 

Speak To Your Doctor

If your child or children are still struggling with their sleep after the tips above, taking a visit to the GP could help you find a more specialised and personalised solution. The GP or pediatrician can also help you rule out any other underlying causes or medical issues that might be causing the sleepless nights, giving you peace of mind and support where needed.

For more information or for help in choosing a headboard for your child’s room to help brighten and create a more comfortable space, get in touch with a member of our team, today.