routines are important
Research shows that routines support healthy social emotional development in early childhood. Children with regular routines at home have self-regulation skills (managing feelings and understanding the feelings of others), the building blocks of good mental health.
When young children know that routines are in place, they can trust the 'sameness' and relax and learn through the activities that happen.
This is why coming to Nursery regularly is so important, this helps children relax and build friendships and learn. We use a visual timetable and consistent routine in the sessions to help this.
At home, keeping things such as breakfast time, storybook sharing time, cleaning up time, going for a walk or shopping time and snuggles on the sofa time the same each day helps with this.
When routines change, you can talk about the new event together beforehand and this really helps children to think about it and get used the idea, even if this change is a new routine, you can use the internet to look at photos to help the child understand and feel comfortable. This might be visiting the library, going to the dentist, joining a toddler group or coming to Nursery. Our welcome pack has many photos to discuss with your child. You can use this website and we are happy to send pictures and videos to help with settling into Nursery.
As your child gets older, talk about questions you might have about the routine or event and encourage them to ask questions too. Tell them how you are feeling and why, this will allow your child to appreciate other people's feelings.
The BBC iplayer - The Toddler Club has a lovely video about routines in the home.
Good sleep is important for your child's physical and mental wellbeing.
A relaxing bedtime routine is an important way to help your child get a good night's sleep.
Relaxation tips to help sleep
Doing the same relaxing things in the same order and at the same time each night helps promote good sleep:
- A warm (not hot) bath will help your child relax and get ready for sleep.
- Keeping lights dim encourages your child's body to produce the sleep hormone, melatonin.
- Once they're in bed, encourage your child to read quietly or listen to some relaxing music, or read a story together.
- You could also suggest your child tries this relaxing breathing exercise before bed.
Know how much sleep your child needs
The amount of sleep your child needs changes as they get older.
Toddlers 1 to 2 years old
11 to 14 hours including naps
Children 3 to 5 years old
10 to 13 hours including naps
Avoid screens in the bedroom
Tablets, smartphones, TVs and other electronic gadgets can affect how easily children get to sleep.
Older children may also stay up late or even wake in the middle of the night to use social media.
Try to keep your child's bedroom a screen-free zone, and get them to charge their phones in another room.
Encourage your child to stop using screens an hour before bedtime.
Your child's bedroom
Your child's bedroom should ideally be dark, quiet and tidy. It should be well ventilated and kept at a temperature of about 16 to 20C.
Fit some thick curtains to block out any daylight. If there's noise outside, consider investing in double glazing or, for a cheaper option, offer your child earplugs.
Getting into a Routine takes time
Making changes with your child takes time to become a routine. Young children may still wake in the night and not have the language or experience to explain their feelings. Calm reassurance and return to the child's bed may happen repeatedly for a few weeks, before the routine settles. Keep Going- You can do this! Talk to us, we can sympathise and support if it helps!
Get help with sleep problems
If you've tried these tips but your child keeps having problems getting to sleep or sleeping through the night, you may feel you want more support.
You can speak to a GP or health visitor to begin with. They may refer you to a child psychologist or another expert.
Help can also be found here: https://thesleepcharity.org.uk/
Keeping regular activities is so important for children and families' mental wellbeing.