09/11/2016 09:22 GMT | Updated 09/11/2017 05:12 GMT

Encouraging Sleep In Pre-School Children

Use these five simple tips from DryNites® ConfidentNites® mindfulness expert, Selina Sasse, to encourage sleep for your pre-schooler the mindful way

Establish a regular wind down routine

  • Give your child time to wind down in the evenings. By reducing exposure to things that stimulate their minds like the TV or electronic games you can help them relax before bedtime. Many parents find it helpful to do some calming stretches and relaxation exercises together. This helps them to unwind physically and emotionally and it's also a great way to bond with your little one

  • Ensure that they have a calming bath or shower in their wind down routine. This will relax their muscles and give them a chance to reflect on the day so they have a calm mind for bedtime

  • Children greatly value family time, so it's a good idea to read a story with them before bed

  • Establish a set time for lights out so their body and mind knows when to sleep

Listen to them

  • Give your child your full attention at bedtime and space to talk freely about anything that's happened during their day. This will help them feel important and will reassure them before going to bed

Keep them informed

  • Let young children know when changes to their routine are happening. Tell them how long it is until they are back at school or going on holiday so it doesn't come as such a shock when it comes around

  • As well as keeping them informed it's also important to get them involved in upcoming changes. Encourage them to take responsibility so they have their clothes ready for their first day back at school or ask them to lay out things they wish to take on holiday. This can help them mentally prepare for changes

Deal with changes in routine in a mindful way

  • Allow them to express their emotions around any unexpected changes, like the loss of a loved one or a family breakup. Listen to them fully and reassure them that they aren't alone. Be aware of them adding to their own concerns and help them not to fuel their anxiety in this way

  • If bedtime has changed over half-term or holidays, allow enough time to gradually get back into term time timings. Switching your child's routine too quickly can be confusing for them and their body clock

  • Sometimes changes can trigger bedwetting - something that affects 900,000 children in the UK every year. But waking up to night time accidents needn't be a problem especially if handled mindfully. For example, if your child wakes up in the night it's important to check in with your own emotions so that you can tend to their needs calmly and independently of you own emotional triggers

Encourage mindfulness

  • Children are naturally mindful in that they are often completely absorbed in the moment. They mirror their parent's behaviour so if situations are handled calmly and confidently and with your full attention they will be more likely to act in the same way

  • It is very common in our busy lives to try to keep on top of everything and live on 'auto-pilot' - when we go through the motions of completing daily chores, but our mind is lost in thought or we have zoned out. By giving your full attention or taking three breaths and focussing on being fully present with what's going on, you can have a more mindful approach

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