Helping children to get the quality sleep they need
Today is World Sleep Day, and here Mel Wood shares her tips for improving children’s sleep hygiene. She also talks about how she developed the ‘fidgetbum’ to help more young people get the quality sleep they need.
Children and Sleep
Sleep is as important as diet and exercise for our overall wellbeing. Quality sleep for children helps with every aspect of their development, both physical and mental. So anything that can help a child to have a full and natural nights’ sleep is invaluable.
Some children find it difficult to relax and wind-down at bedtime, especially if they have a disability or have sensory challenges. Not only is getting to sleep difficult, but movement throughout the night can lead to the child waking, having kicked off the bedcovers.
We decided to create the ‘fidgetbum’, which can help. It is a luxurious material that goes under the mattress and over the top of the duvet and zips up, keeping your child nice and snug under the covers.
So how can you help with getting your child to sleep? Let’s break down the night into three steps:
Settling the child / The Golden Hour
Lots of parents use the idea of the ‘Golden Hour’ to help to settle and relax their child before bed. The secret here is a regular routine that helps the child to wind-down naturally. No electricals. No stimulation. Reading stories. Reduced lighting.
What you do in the hour can vary, but the end result should always be to get to the point at which the child knows that it’s time for them to try to go to sleep. This is where the fidgetbum can help. When it’s not in use, the ends of the fidgetbum simply hang at the sides of the bed. When it’s time, and the child is settled under the covers, the process of fastening the fidgetbum signals it’s time for sleep. When zipped up, the fidgetbum gives an immediate sense of snugness – just like a big hug in bed.
The fidgetbum stretches over the top of the duvet, with the child snug underneath. The gentle pressure from the fidgetbum soothes, relaxes and reassures the child. Obviously, a child rarely just goes straight to sleep, and will move around in the bed to get comfortable. The fidgetbums stretchiness allows them to manoeuvre freely, but will keep that constant snugness that reassures the child.
During the night
When we’re asleep, we all move around in bed. As adults, if we kick off the covers, we can pull them back in to place and go to sleep. Children find this more difficult - usually resulting in the child becoming cold and calling out for mummy and daddy. The fidgetbum helps here too – no matter how much they wriggle, the cover will stay on. No more waking up cold and no more duvet runs! When the child is awake, they can easily climb out of bed if they need to.
When not in use, the fidgetbum discretely folds under the duvet, so the child can enjoy their favourite bedding designs. It’s machine washable and tumble dries. It folds neatly so that you can take it on sleep covers or on holiday – making every bed, their bed.
By reinforcing routine and familiarity, and focusing on maximum comfort, children may find it easier to relax and get the crucial sleep they need.
How do you help to ensure your child gets the best nights’ sleep possible? Do you have any tips to share?