Tag Archives: learning

A Guide to Supporting Your Child’s Nightime Sleep

A Guide to Supporting Your Child’s Nighttime Sleep

Written by: Caitlyn Chun

It’s hard to overstate the importance of sleep! Research with children has shown that sleep and sleep routines are associated with language development, literacy, emotional and behavioral regulation, parent-child attachment, and family functioning. Sleep affects a child’s development!

The National Sleep Foundation recommends the following amounts of sleep per day:
• Newborns (0-3 months) — 14 to 17 hours 
• Infants (4-11 months) — 12 to 15 hours
• Toddlers (1-2 years) — 11 to 14 hours
• Preschoolers (3-5 years) — 10 to 13 hours
• School-aged children (6 to 13 years) — 9 to 11 hours
• Teenagers (14 to 17 years) — 8 to 10 hours

Tips to a Better Night’s Sleep
1. Get moving during the day
Regular exercise is a fantastic way to encourage better sleep. To help your child wind down from the day, exercise should be avoided in the 3 hours before bedtime. 

2. Maintain a consistent nighttime routine and bedtime for your child
Prepare for bed at the same time each night. Repeat the same activities in the same order each night. For example, your child’s routine might consist of bathing, changing into their pajamas, brushing teeth, and listening to a bedtime story. Sticking to a consistent routine of calming activities can give your child a sense of predictability and security around bedtime.

3. Limit screen time before sleepingLimit screen time before sleeping
Research indicates that the use of screen media (computers, phones, tablets, and video game consoles) close to bedtime is related to delayed bedtimes, fewer hours slept, and to poor sleep quality for children and youth. Make a habit to put away screens for an hour before bedtime and to keep devices out of bedrooms as much as possible. 

4. Read bedtime stories together
Reading stories about appropriate bedtime behavior can help your child to understand your expectations. If your child has nighttime fears, it can help to read books that deal positively with the dark, for example. Any book reading at bedtime is a great way to increase relaxing quality time with you! 

5. Adjust the environment for sleeping
A dark, quiet room is ideal to encourage restful sleep. A night-light can be used to provide soft lighting if your child is afraid of the dark. It is helpful to be mindful of the noise and the light around your child when they are sleeping. 

6. Maintain a consistent wake time
Waking up at the same time each day will help to maintain your child’s sleep schedule. Letting your child “catch up” on sleep in the morning can push your child’s sleep schedule back, resulting in later bedtimes. When your child wakes up at the same time each day, they will be ready to sleep at their scheduled bedtime.

Sleep Resources
Zero to Three: Sleep Struggles? We’ve got Resources
Nationwide Children’s: Healthy Sleep Habits for Infants and Toddlers
Nationwide Children’s: Healthy Sleep Habits for Older Children and Teens
Seattle Children’s Hospital: Resources for Sleep Conditions (selected resources available in Spanish and Vietnamese)

Bedtime Story Resources
Bedtime Story Prompts for Parents
StoryBerries: Free Bedtime Stories  



 

Eat, Nap, Play, Repeat: Your Child and Routines


Eat, Nap, Play, Repeat: Your Child and Routines

Written by: Caitlyn Chun

Everyone has routines that work for them. Perhaps this morning began like most of your mornings do: shuffle to the bathroom, wash your face, and brush your teeth before making coffee. These regular patterns serve important functions in our daily lives. For instance, our morning routines help us transition from being asleep to being awake and being ready for the day. In general, routines help us with transitions, and they give us a sense of comfort and security. 

Benefits of Routines
For our children, routines serve a similar purpose. Research on routines suggests that they play a critical role in establishing a child’s sense of predictability, stability, and security. When children learn to anticipate a loved one’s return, and when they will nap, play, and snack, they gain a sense of emotional security knowing that there is a trusted adult to help meet their needs. In the toddler years, routines help build independence, trust, and security. For preschool and elementary-age children, the use of routines can reduce impulsivity and hyperactivity and aid the development of self-control. 

Routines and Learning
Routines are repeated, predictable events that form the foundation of our daily lives. These moments provide some of the richest learning experiences for child development. Through routines, you can teach your child a variety of skills. For instance, a regular bedtime routine teaches children important sleep skills, such as how to wind down for the night. In addition, you can teach safety skills through practicing a routine that consists of holding hands with an adult, and then looking both ways before crossing a street. Similarly, children can practice their social skills when interacting with others through sticking to the routine of starting with a greeting, chatting, and ending with a goodbye. 

Don’t Just Feed – Nourish
As you move through daily routines with your child, take advantage of the time together to be fully present in the moment. You might explain the importance of the activity that you are doing together. You might let them know what you expect of them. You may even share personal stories and experiences from your own childhood. These moments are important learning experiences for our kids, and they are emotionally recharging for both caregiver and child. In these moments, you have the opportunity not just to feed, but to nourish. 

Resources
CDC Essentials for Parenting Toddlers and Preschoolers: Creating Structure and Rules
Family-Based Routine Support Guide: Building Relationships with InfantsFamily-Based Routine Support Guide: Early Elementary — 4 to 8 years



 

Supporting Young Children’s Emotion Regulation Skills

Supporting Young Children’s Emotion Regulation Skills

Written by: ClarissaAlfes

What is emotional regulation
Emotion regulation is the ability to handle and control strong emotions and feelings, and the behaviors that come from them. Both adults and children regulate their emotions every day.  Research shows when children build their emotion regulation skills they are better able to handle challenges, be resilient and succeed in school. 

Emotion regulation is difficult to learn, especially for children! Many children can struggle with knowing how to handle the strong emotions they feel. When children have difficulty controlling their emotions, it can lead to challenging behaviors. Research suggests children benefit from being taught how to identify and manage their emotions. Adults can guide children through the practice of controlling their emotions and calming themselves in appropriate, safe and positive ways.

Ways to support children in building their emotion regulation skills:
Dr. John Gottman, author of Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child, introduced the idea of Emotion Coaching, where parents support their children in building emotion regulation skills through:
•  teaching young learners to understand their emotions
•  encouraging children to talk about their emotions and feelings
•  working through challenging situations that bring about strong emotions. 

Here are ways to support your child in learning to recognize and manage their emotions:
1. Let them know their strong emotions are okay  
•  Validate their strong and negative emotions in a non-judgmental, calm way.
2. Label the emotions your child is feeling
•  Use Emotion Coaching to listen to your child, name emotions they are feeling, and help them think through solutions for their problem such as sharing, saying sorry, asking for help, using a calm down strategy, etc.
•  Narrating children’s emotions helps them to connect how they are feeling in their bodies to emotional vocabulary.
3. Engage them in activities that talk about emotions 
•  Read and discuss storybooks about emotions.
•  Play emotion games, such as emotion bingo, emotion matching and situation card games.
4. Be an emotional role model
•  Talk about your own emotions and talk through your emotion problem-solving.  Children learn through watching and copying adults.
5. Teach them ways to calm down
•  Teach calm down strategies and provide tools and physical spaces they can use to regulate by themselves. Use role play to practice these skills when children are calm. 
•  Do mindfulness breathing, meditation or yoga with your child
•  Teach children how to use an emotional thermometer to notice and think about how they are feeling.

Young children that learn emotional regulation skills are ready to recognize and handle upsetting emotions and take on challenges with resilient, calm and problem-solving mindsets.