Beating the lice blues is a difficult thing when your family has been turned upside down by a case of head lice. During an infestation lice can literally keep your child up at night because they are nocturnal creatures that are much more actively eating, laying eggs, biting and crawling when we are trying to rest. If your family is currently dealing with head lice or over the worst, establishing a bedtime pattern can help little ones fall asleep and stay asleep.
Hours of Sleep Required by Age
Every stage of childhood requires different sleep schedules, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Infants 0-2 years of age need the most sleep with a full 12 hour nights rest and at least a 2 hour nap during the day. Children 3-6 years old can essentially just skip the nap and still get a full 12 hours rest at night. When children reach ages 7-12 it is recommended they get 10-11 hours of sleep per night. Teenagers between the ages of 13-18 are not off the hook yet. Their bodies are continually growing and their minds are also developing during this stage. Experts recommend at least 8-9 hours for their age group.
Tips for Developing a Positive Bedtime Pattern
-Pick a bedtime that is consistent with your families schedule. Prepare homework, finish chores and all other needful daily activities with plenty of time beforehand so your child doesn’t feel pushed to hurry. Make sure they are receiving the full amount of sleep needed each night with plenty of time to wake up and prepare for the next day’s events.
-Do not allow children, especially older children and teenagers, to have media devices in their rooms. Overstimulation due to video games, watching tv screens, or playing on phones can hinder their sleep experience by keeping them alert and not in the sleep mode.
-Bathe at bedtime. Warm, relaxing showers or baths are a great way to start the night time regime. Buy your child scented body washes or shampoos that promote stress relief and deep sleep. Some scents that will help are lavender, jasmine and vanilla. Any type of smell that you love can be used to start telling the brain it’s time to slow down.
-Keep noise and lights low. Bedtime is not the best time for action movies or loud pop music. Dim the lights and keep noise to a minimum while your child prepares for bedtime. Even playing soft, soothing music could create an environment of peace and tranquility. Have a dim night light or a fun, low light that slowly changes colors and gets the room ready for rest.
-Give your child a nighttime only blanket or stuffed toy for comfort. Let them choose a favorite comfy blanket or a cherished stuffed animal that they can snuggle up with when it is bedtime. This provides them a secure, constant companion to feel safe and sleep soundly.
-Read to your child right before bed. Sing a favorite song. Talk with them about their day. Spending time with them right before they fall asleep is the key. Whether you read or not, that one on one moment is a great way to help them feel comforted, assured and ready for bed.