Did you know that sleep directly impacts physical and mental development in children? Unfortunately, the battle over bedtime is not a new one and parents know that it can be tricky establishing a bedtime routine that is effective in getting your little one to sleep. Why not take a second look at your child’s bedroom design to see if any tweaks could make bedtime a happier (and easier!) experience for everyone!
By Alescia Ford-Lanza MS OTR/L, ATP
1. Consider the texture of fabrics. Does your child prefer flannel? cotton? sateen? Their favorite t-shirt will help clue you into what fabric texture would be most appealing on their bed. Likewise, tune into what clothes and fabrics they dislike wearing, and make sure those are not mimicked in their bedding!
2. Heavier comforters, down-filled duvets, sleeping bags or weighted blankets can have a relaxing effect, because of the extra pressure, especially for children experiencing sensory disorders, anxiety, ADHD or stress or issues related to autism. A weighted blanket releases serotonin in the body due to the deep touch pressure. Serotonin is the chemical that makes us feel calm and have a stable mood. Children with autism are often low in serotonin.
4. For the child who is sensitive to the noises down the hall that keep him/her awake, consider a white noise machine near the bedroom door or an iPhone/iPad app that is designed to elicit sleep-specific brain waves.
5. Of course, it's always fun to play on your child’s interests and find a theme-designed bed constructed to look like your child’s favorite car, boat, or castle!
Keep in mind that it is most helpful to have a bedtime routine that is predictable for your child. No matter what you choose for a bedroom design, make choices that promote the positivity of sleep for your child. Sweet dreams.