This author of “Become Your Child’s Sleep Coach” said kids are picking up on their parents’ anxiety during the coronavirus pandemic while also forming new habits because they’re home and around mom and dad more.
“They’re coming to their parents’ room more often, running down the hall,” said Schneeberg, who is also the director of a sleep program at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.
She advised parents to use a “worry jar” during daytime hours, encouraging the kids to write down their concerns.
“And then at some point during the day, there’s some special one-on-one time with the parent and you take the worries out of the jar and talk about them,” she explained, noting that this means bedtime becomes more relaxing. “What I recommend is putting a reading light by the bed. Then, I have what I call ‘a bedside basket,’ which is a basket of things a child could do that are quiet activities.”
Kids can use drawing pads, picture books, regular books or puzzles until they become drowsy. Avoid rewards and punishment, and set-up a system that empowers the child to be successful.
“If you build that skill of them being able to quiet themselves down after the routine with you is over, I think that’s such a long term life skill,” said Schneeberg.
What about those teens that won’t go to bed?
“The bus is not coming, right? So, it’s very hard to convince them to go to bed early. Try not to let their wake up and bedtime slide more than two hours away from normal.”
Bottom line? Don’t worry too much.
“Their biological clock, as you well know, is really tuned to get up later, and, due to this time now, it’s allowing them to sleep at a time that they’re more programmed to do,” said Schneeberg.
Warmer weather means more outside physical activity which could help get kids back on track.