As my kids are growing, our sleep "issues" have changed over the years. What used to be kids not staying in their beds overnight or waking up way too early has transformed into kids that are staying up way too late, having a hard time falling asleep or having sleep terrors that keep ME awake for hours.
Over the past year, my husband and I have made an effort to tackle sleep issues head on so that we can all get the sleep we need. Not only does great sleep help you feel better, it can also help your body grow, stay healthy, perform better and - most importantly - our kids are happier when they get enough sleep.
So I'm teaming up with Circle to share our top sleep solutions for tweens and teens. And my husband is talking about what he and I are doing as adults to protect our sleep over on his blog.
Sleep Tips for Tweens and Teens
So how can we help our tweens and teens get to bed on time, fall asleep quickly and stay asleep? Of course there's no "one-size-fits-all" plan, but we've found a mixture of hacks that work for our three kids.
Like most families, we've found that an important part of our kids' sleep habits starts with their exercise habits. Our kids are active and participate on sports teams and can often be found riding bikes and scooters around our neighborhood. But on days where they don't have practice or are spending more time inside than outside, we make a point to get outside and walk the dog together. Exercise during the day leads to better sleep at night.
When we first started having sleep problems, we turned to our pediatrician for advice. She recommended putting all of our kids on a strict bedtime routine. By starting bedtime an hour before you want your kids to fall asleep, you help their bodies wind down and register that it's time for sleep. Between weekday activities and weekend fun, we aren't always able to stick to our routine, but when we do, there is a noticeable difference in their quality (and quantity) of sleep.
Taking a shower, brushing teeth, choosing their clothes for the next day and reading or journaling in bed are all parts of our bedtime routines.
Use Circle to Shut Down Screens
Circle Parental Controls has made a huge difference for our family (for so many reasons). Circle Home Plus is the easiest way for families to manage content and time online for Wi-Fi devices at home and mobile devices across all networks - all from one simple app. I'm sharing all of the reasons we love its screen management capabilities below, but one of my very favorite features is BEDTIME. For each child, I can create a bedtime that will automatically shut down their devices at their designated time. Right now we try to have all of our kids in bed at the same time, so all of them have the same "Circle Bedtime" of one hour in advance.
Shutting down their devices ensures that they aren't on screens an hour before sleep (which research has shown can lead to improved sleep quality). It also serves as a reminder to ALL OF US that it's time to wind down and start our bedtime routine. Before Circle, I was finding myself distracted by laundry or Facebook ahem or who knows what and missing our hour cut off. OR, I would be telling the kids to shut things down and then getting mad when no one listened.
Now, thanks to Circle, the devices are shut down, and the kids know exactly what is expected of them. (And I don't have to be the screen enforcer, which is my favorite part).
Use a Diffuser
We've found that diffusing soothing essential oils can help our kids calm down and fall to sleep faster. We typically use a blend of lavender along with an immunity booster. I set up the diffusers while the kids are getting ready for bed, so everything is ready when their heads hit the pillow. At this point I don't really care if it's actually the oils that are helping or just a placebo effect. It works, so I'm sticking with it.
Consider a Weighted Blanket
I have one child that has night terrors and another one that used to be plagued with nightmares. Weighted blankets have been pretty incredible at helping with both. They say that feeling the weight and pressure on them helps them to feel safe. If you decide to give it a try, I recommend finding one that's roughly 10% of your child's weight. If you have one that's too heavy, it can actually have the reverse effect.
If your kids tend to feel anxious at night, encourage a journaling routine. There are lots of different things you can encourage them to write about (and you can even do it with them).
Here are a few things you can encourage your child to journal each day:
- Three good things that happened during the day
- Three things they are thankful for
- If you have a worrier, you can ask your child to write down all of the things they're worried about - so it stays on the paper and not in their head.
- Three things they're really good at
My daughter has a daily journal that is a place for her to write a few things about her day along with one good thing that happened and one thing she's worried about. She doesn't use it every night, but it has been a great tool on nights when sleep is not coming.
Talk to your Doctor about Melatonin
For some kids (and adults), taking Melatonin an hour before bedtime can really help your body wind down and fall asleep faster. It's a non-addictive supplement that you can purchase over the counter, but (of course!) check with your pediatrician before giving it to your kids.
Whether your kids are tweens or teens, it's important to encourage good sleep habits at a young age. We often assume that our kids will just be "good sleepers," but it usually takes some work on our part (and theirs) to learn how to set themselves up for success to develop a great sleep routine.
Why Our Family Loves Circle Home Plus Parental Controls
With three kids and two adults, our house can sometimes feel like screen central. My husband and I both have work computers, our kids have school computers and home computers. There are three cell phones in our house, and even a tablet. Oh - and let's not forget about the two Smart TVs.
It can feel like my entire job as a mom is to monitor screentime on alllll the devices.
Luckily, Circle came into our lives.
Pause the Internet (hello, dinnertime, family time, game time, puzzle time), Off Time, Time Limits, Bedtime and Rewards.
It can be used in and out of the home across all of my family's connected devices. All of my home devices connected to Wi-Fi are covered and mobile devices are still covered even on networks outside of our home.
I'm able to assign devices to each of my kids and set limits for how much time they're allowed each day, what they are (and AREN'T) allowed to do on their device - and even see what websites they visited during their screentime. (Which is a great way to see if my kids are really doing homework when they say they are.) Ahem.
I also sort of love that I can press one button and pause all Internet throughout the entire house (even those Smart TVs). I don't use it often, but when dinner is on the table, or everyone needs to get outside and run around for a bit, this is a magical button.
I'm also able to reward my kids for helping out around the house. So when my son unloads the dishwasher, I can give him extra screentime or even let him stay on a device a little bit past his normal bedtime.
Sleep Hacks for Adults
This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.