Sleep, the one thing that is precious to us all. Nothing is more challenging than both you and your child being awake at night, sleepless.
I have done some research on the best methods to get your seven-year-old to sleep well so that both you and your child can have a restful and rejuvenating night’s sleep.
While there are many methods to get your child to sleep well at night I have found seven ways to help your seven-year-old get the nightly rest they need.
These seven methods include, but are not limited to:
- Having a nightly bedtime routine.
- Being aware of beverage and food intake.
- Reading before sleep.
- Turning electronics off.
- Exploring the need for noise or silence at night.
- Offering comfort to nightly fears.
- Watching out for sleeping disorders in your child.
Continue reading below for an expanded explanation on each of these methods. Sleep is very important in our young children and even the littlest change could equal out to making the biggest difference in their sleeping habits and well-being.
Having a Nightly Bedtime Routine
Having a nightly bedtime routine is extremely important, not only in young children but in every one of us. A nightly bedtime routine can offer less stress and a comforting structure that will help us start the following day happy, rejuvenated, and on the right track to be successful in each of our daily endeavors.
There are many things that you could include in a nightly bedtime routine for your child.
- Brushing and flossing teeth
- Brushing Hair
- Getting into pajamas
- Laying out clothes and preparing for the following day
It should be noted that bedtime routines are individualized and should be structured according to the family schedule and the individual child’s needs and situations.
Being Aware of Beverage and Food Intake
There are many beverages and types of food that could lead your child to hav a restless night. Ingredients in these two options such as caffeine and sugar will make your child restless and unable to sleep due to the effects of the ingredients.
A lift of food and beverages that you should avoid giving your child at least two hours before bed includes the following:
- Ice cream
- Sugary Drinks: Juice, Hot Cocoa, soda/pop/soft drinks
- Caffeinated beverages: Soda/Pop/Soft drinks, energy drinks, coffee.
There are many things that can be included on this list, make sure that you always read over the nutritional information on the food and drink package before giving it to your child for intake, especially before bed.
Reading Before Sleep
Reading before sleep can offer your child the time to unwind and relax from the past day and all it held. Allowing your child to read or to be read to before sleep and the incurring relaxation will help them be able to fall asleep more swiftly.
At the age of seven, your child will just be beginning to learn how to read. This method offers you the chance to help nurture that skill. If you are encouraging your child to read independently, make sure they have books available to them that can help grow their skill while still being able to understand the words with their new vocabulary.
Independent Reading Book Recommendations for Seven-year-olds:
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
- Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina
- Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss
- Schnitzel Von Krumm by Lynley Dodd
- Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
If you wish to read to your child there are also a great many books you can read to them. These books can be a tad more advanced and still offer a great story for your child to listen to as they are lulled to sleep.
Recommendations on books to read together:
- Junie B. Jones Series by Barbara Park
- The Magic Treehouse Series by Mary Pope Osbourne
- The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
- Holes by Louis Sachar
- Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
Turning Electronics Off
There are many advantages and disadvantages to the wonders that technology and electronics bring into our lives. We can have any information we desire at the touch of a button, we can access media in any form we like.
On the downside, electronics can burden us with a lack of sleep whether we are conscious of it or not. The same is true for your child.
It is recommended by doctors and pediatricians alike to have all electronics shut off or not looked at again for the night, thirty-minutes prior to sleeping. Thirty-minutes is the recommended time at least to give your body the time it needs to recover from the bright-light that is produced by your electronic device.
If you use any of the following electronic devices such as a phone, tablet, laptop, television, etc., and try to go to sleep immediately after viewing the device it will be almost impossible due to the before mentioned “bright-light” that your device produces.
Turning off or putting away your electronics thirty-minutes before sleep gives your body the time it needs to recover from viewing the electronic(s) and therefore be able to go to sleep when you want to rather than fighting for sleep on your sleeping schedule.
Some good tips to combat the use of technology before bedtime, especially in your seven-year-old are as follows:
- Turn off electronics thirty-minutes before your child is meant to be asleep
- Keep electronic devices such as tablets, phones, laptops, etc. outside of your child’s bedroom.
- Encourage reading (with a physical book) before bed rather than viewing electronics with a bright-light. The benefits of such are listed above.
For a more in-depth exclamation about “bright-light” read here.
“Bright-light” is also known as “blue-light”. Blue-light is emitted from electronic devices and, as a result, causes your body to postpone the release of melatonin into your body to cause you to sleep.
Melatonin is your bodies’ natural sleep-inducing chemical. Blue-light can also cause your bodies’ sleep clock to reset.
First, the reason it is recommended that you put your electronic devices away thirty minutes before attempting to sleep is that it gives your body time to recover and produce the melatonin that has been denied due to the use of the blue light in the technology that you or your child has been viewing and using.
Secondly, Having your child’s body clock altered is not beneficial at all. This will result in their sleep schedule being disrupted. This will also be negative due to early morning school and the scheduled that is pre-set there.
It is important to be aware of the time spent on electronic devices and wise where that time is spent.
A result of good technology use will mean a good night’s sleep and a steady sleeping schedule for both you and your child.
Exploring the Need for Noise or Silence at Night
You may have discovered yourself that you can not sleep well without noise present. These noises do not have to include the sounds of large crowds, construction or traffic, but simply the sounds of a turning fan, or electronic hum.
While noise is not preferred by everyone, many find that having a noise present at night, helps them sleep through the night and be well rested. This need may be found in your children too.
There are many methods of sound you can use if you find your child sleeps better with it.
- White Noise – White Noise by definition of the Merriam-Webster Dictionary is, “a heterogeneous mixture of sound waves extending over a wide frequency range”. These sound waves can produce sounds such as that of static consistency that offers a good background noise (much like that of a fan, AC, or heating device) for sleeping.
- Nature Sounds – The sounds of nature are indeed relaxing and can offer the noise and relaxation needed for a good night’s sleep. These sounds can include rivers, rain, wind, waves, thunderstorms, etc.
- Instrumental Music – Instrumental music is as equally impactful as the others in its effectiveness to relax and help an individual sleep, it is all up to the preference of the sleeper. Great instrumental music to listen to for sleep can include soft harp or guitar, piano, and orchestra music.
If you find that your child needs silence to sleep rather than noise, here are some helpful tips.
- Make sure that the volume of any electronics you or others use while your child is sleeping is kept low, if not silenced with head or earphones.
- If the walls are thing try adding some soundproofing to the walls. If the door is thin maybe think of investing in a thicker door or again adding soundproofing.
- If your child still has a struggle sleeping or is in a situation where noise is always a possibility, earplugs are an equally effective method to use to guarantee a silent night.
Offering Comfort to Nightly Fears
I remember when I was a child of the same age, I constantly had fears due to my imagination of the horrors that could at any moment creep out of my closet, craw out from under my bed, or even appear from the darkness that encased my room.
A seven-year-old’s imagination can be very wild and vivid. It is extremely important that you are aware of your child’s fears, a certain fear could keep them awake at night.
By knowing your child’s worries you can help offer comfort and eradicate those fears.
A fear can tend to be very individualized for each child, but here are some tips to help resolve some of the most common.
If your child is afraid of the dark, offer a resolution such as a nightlight. There are many kinds of ways to light your child’s room that can offer comfort in different ways.
- Here is a regular nightlight that can brighten your child’s room. It has day-to-dawn sensors so you don’t have to worry about unplugging or turning it off. The light it provides is also a warm light so it will not hinder your child from falling asleep.
- A Lava Lamp is also a very cool way to add light to your child’s room. It is a dim light that won’t keep your child awake but is light enough to eradicate any fear that may linger. The soothing movements of the lamp can also console and relax your child.
- A third option includes that of a star lamp. This lamp is not very bright but projects illuminations of stars and constellations all around your child’s room. This can illuminate and occupy your child until they find sleep. This lamp also includes a timer if it is not wished to be kept on for the entirety of the night.
- Finally, a personal favorite of mine is the glow in the dark stars. I personally had these in my childhood bedroom and they offered the perfect amount of illumination and relaxation for me. They are not bright enough to keep someone awake but bright enough for you to see your room once your eyes have adjusted. Having stars above me every night not only eradicated my fears of the dark but gave me a sense of comfort. One which your child too may find agreeable.
If your child fears a monster under their bed there are many things you can do as a parent or guardian to eradicate that fear.
- If your child has a large gap under their bed then you can fill the space with storage boxes or drawers for clothing or other storage needs. By filling the space you will eradicate the fear of anything or anyone having space enough to be under the bed.
- Have a tool that will help eradicate the fear such as “monster spray”. Many parents will use a tool like this to spray the areas the child is afraid of to eradicate the fear. They tell them the properties of the spray will make it so no monsters will appear or something of the like and spray the areas of the room their child is afraid a monster will appear. As a result, no monster will ever appear.
- Another common fear in children is a monster in their closet. To eradicate this fear you may use the same tactic as with the “monster spray” or simply put a chair against the closet to “trap” the monsters inside. Another idea is to switch their fear around by showing them a movie with a positive outlook on monsters such as “Monsters Inc”.
Other ways to provide comfort at night is in simple things such as playing music or providing your child with a stuffed animal. Sometimes if you have a dog or cat these animals can provide comfort to your child as well.
Watching out for Sleeping Disorders in Your Child
If you find that no matter what you do your child is still not sleeping well, they may have a sleeping disorder. There are many sleeping disorders that a child could have. Sleeping disorders are categorized into to separate titles; First, dyssomnias and second, parasomnias.
According to reference.MD, Dyssomnias are “A broad category of sleep disorders characterized by either hypersomnolence or insomnia.
The three major subcategories include intrinsic (i.e., arising from within the body), extrinsic (secondary to environmental conditions or various pathologic conditions), and disturbances of circadian rhythm. (From Thorpy, Sleep Disorders Medicine, 1994, p187)”.
- Insomnia – Inability to sleep
- Hypersomnia – Excessive tiredness
- Narcolepsy – Extreme tendency to fall asleep in relaxing surroundings
- Sleep Apnea – Occurrs when a person’s breathing is interrupted during sleep.
Also according to reference.MD, Parasomnias are defined as, “Movements or behaviors associated with sleep, sleep stages, or partial arousals from sleep that may impair sleep maintenance.
Parasomnias are generally divided into four groups: arousal disorders, sleep-wake transition disorders, parasomnias of REM sleep, and nonspecific parasomnias. (From Thorpy, Sleep Disorders Medicine, 1994, p191)”.
- Sleepwalking – Walking around while sleeping
- Sleep terrors (night terrors) – Physically waking up from sleep in terror due to a dream or nightmare.
- Nightmares – A frightening or unpleasant dream.
- Sleep Paralysis – A form of paralysis that can happen for a few minutes most often upon falling asleep or waking up.
These are not the only disorders that are listed above, there are many more. If you suspect that your child may be suffering from a sleeping disorder contact your child’s pediatrician and set up an appointment to be seen as soon as possible.
It is always important to keep your child safe and well. If your child does indeed suffer from a sleeping disorder your child’s pediatrician may be able to give some tips or prescribe needed medicine to help your child have a well rested and uninterrupted sleep.
How long does a seven-year-old need to sleep? The recommended time that your seven-year-old should spend sleeping is between nine to eleven hours of sleep each night.
What can I use to help my child sleep? As stated before refraining from sugary and caffeinated beverages helps your child sleep at night. Also, making sure that your child exercises can help them provide themselves with the motivation to sleep at night.