Child Anxiety at Bedtime
Is your toddler always anxious during bed time? Well, majority of children struggle when getting to sleep and staying asleep all night and the common culprit is anxiety. When toddlers do not sleep, the parents don’t sleep and the other family members become overtired and cranky mess.
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For several kids, the primary cause for worry is the fear that they will not be able to sleep. Other kids even start to worry about their sleep hours before bed time. They also wake up during midnight and worry that they will not fell asleep again. Yes, this is irrational thinking, yet trying to discuss the reason into your kid typically does not work in this case. But rather, break the cycle of worry and help your kid learn to fall asleep. It is a skill that would last for a lifetime.
Below are the ways to get rid of toddler anxiety at bedtime:
- Never Skip Pillow Talk
Spend time on your toddler’s bed or snuggle beside him or her and talk about anything’s on his or her mind. Consider setting limits. If you say it is time to go, then it’s time. Never give in to your toddler’s whining. Tell your kid in advance that you like to spend special time with him, yet you cannot stay for too long. You should not also talk a lot. There are times that listening alone would let your toddler to solve his own worries.
- Before Bedtime, Get Rid of Screens
Avoid every digital device for at least one hour before bed, about 2 hours. Screens emit blue light, which can inhibit the natural melatonin release of the body.
- Avoid Stimulants
Avoid energy drinks and caffeine and beware of the hidden stimulants in second-hand smoke and chocolates. Sleeplessness and anxiety are side effects of numerous medications and these include OTC ADHD medications and cold medications. If you think the medications of your child are part of your problem, ensure to call your physician before stopping them.
- Never Skip Story Telling
Bedtime stories can refocus the mind of your toddler in an imaginary, positive world and help them forget all of their worries. Reading to kids has been proven to help them improve their vocabulary and beneficial to their development. Look for books that your whole family will surely enjoy.
- Consider Melatonin
Supplements for short term melatonin can be a good way to get your child’s sleep cycle back on track. Basically, melatonin is a substance produced by one’s body that gives you the feeling to fall asleep. Although it can help your children fall asleep, there are limitations and risks to melatonin use and you must ask your pediatrician first before using an OTC supplement.
When you have tried everything and your toddler still experience anxiety at bedtime, it would be wise to call your pediatrician as it will help you know more about the causes of anxiety and sleeplessness. Your pediatrician will also give medications if necessary and can treat uncomplicated anxiety. However, there are times that pediatricians make a referral to a sleep center for sleep study or some tests.