Creating a Healthy Sleep Environment for Your School Age Child

School age kids function best when they get adequate rest. Creating a healthy sleep environment can help your child fall asleep more quickly and get better rest throughout the night.

Creating a Healthy Sleep Environment for Your School Age Child

Comfy pajamas, a fluffy pillow, a humidifier, or favorite book… setting your child’s bedtime experience makes falling asleep far easier.

Set Your Child Up For Successful Sleep

We all know that sleep tends to be a huge deal when our children are babies. It’s understandable, though. Sleep is such an important part of their routines and development that even strangers are interested in it. When we’re out and about, people will actually ask, “How is she sleeping?”

They tend not to do that with your 9-year-old or teen.

After our little ones have, for the most part, mastered bedtime, it can feel like sleep issues are over for good. But just because our kids are able to lay down and hit the hay without screaming for you at all hours of the night doesn’t mean that we should ignore their sleep needs.

School-aged children, in particular, can benefit big-time when we set them up for a successful night’s sleep. Here’s how to do it.

Keep a Nightly Routine

We realize how important it is for babies to have a nightly routine to help them set their internal clocks and provide a sense of consistency. The same applies to big kids.

As children get older, you may want to streamline the overall routine, but do what works best for your family. A bath and some reading, music and meditation, setting intentions or saying prayers – whatever you choose, make it a habit. This will help your child ease to sleep and better avoid those too-late nights and early morning grumps.

Choose Books Instead of Screens Near Bedtime

The blue light from screens severely interferes with our body’s ability to calm itself to the rhythm of sleep. You can learn all about how to reset your child’s circadian rhythm for better sleep here.

Books (or even magazines and comics) can have the opposite effect and calm us down with just the right mix of mental stimulation and quiet story contemplation.

Why is blue light so bad? As shared by this Harvard Health study, “Blue wavelengths—which are beneficial during daylight hours because they boost attention, reaction times, and mood—seem to be the most disruptive at night. And the proliferation of electronics with screens, as well as energy-efficient lighting, is increasing our exposure to blue wavelengths, especially after sundown.”

One of our readers shared her family’s strategy for putting away devices at night. “I cleaned out a drawer in a less used area of the kitchen and installed an outlet and charging strip. All of our phones and tablets go in the drawer overnight. And we don’t access them until we’ve had at least 5 minutes of daylight the next morning.”

Daylight is also essential for sending the right signals to the body for a healthy sleep and circadian rhythm.

Create a Calm Sleeping Environment

Do you ever notice that you have a hard time slowing your brain down if you’ve got a cluttered, busy bedroom? The same goes for kids. By having children pick up their toys and put dirty clothes in the hamper as part of their evening routine, they’ll be setting themselves up with a calmer space.

If there’s too much stuff in your child’s room, that could lead to feelings of overwhelm at night. Try a few of these feng shui for kids’ rooms techniques to allow more space for energy to flow.

Consider diffusing lavender (here’s how to safely use lavender with babies and kids) in their room.

Choose a soft or red light version of a nightlight. Fluorescent light is very disruptive at night. I use these salt lamp nightlights in our bathrooms.

And, of course, a favorite stuffed animal or two and soft blanket offer an inviting, cozy cocoon for relaxing.

Improve Bedroom Air Quality

Make sure there are no chemical air fresheners in the bedroom. Chemical fragrances disrupt hormones in babies, kids, and adults. Consider adding a plant to each bedroom. Plants provide oxygen and certain plants are known for their air purifying properties.

This way, you can improve the air quality and introduce a greater concept of nature to your children, all without having to plug something into the wall. If you have a teen or tween smelly-socks-situation, make your own air freshener. Mix your favorite essential oil into a spray bottle with water. Shake or swirl to incorporate the oil and water, and spray around the room.

Open windows occasionally to release any off-gassed toxins from the room. In addition to letting in fresh air, this will help circulate the air in the room, cutting down any lingering toxins.

Use Guided Meditation to Counteract a Busy Day

If your child has a difficult time winding down, guided meditation might be the perfect trick. Since meditation can be a challenge for even adults to practice, a guided meditation tells your child exactly what to picture and focus on while allowing their body and mind to relax.

If you’re not sure how to get started with this, check out our archive of 50+ guided relaxation meditations, each with a different themed script to help you gently lead your child through mental visualizations and to reach a deeper calm.

Choose a Nontoxic Mattress

A bedtime experience isn’t complete without a bed. It’s important for children and teens to have a mattress that offers the proper support, chemical-free materials, and cushioning that their growing bodies need.

Many conventional mattresses are treated with flame retardants that can build up in the body. You can learn more about the effects of these and how to reduce your family’s chemical body burden.

The best way to avoid flame retardants and toxins in the first place is to choose an all-natural, organic cotton or natural wool mattress for your child. We recommend Naturepedic, an Ohio-based company specializing in all-natural, hypoallergenic materials, including organic cotton and natural wool. Naturepedic goes beyond GOTS certification and has strict standards to provide only the safest mattresses.

You can learn more about the Naturepedic Verse Mattress for kids in our personal review. Or use Greenchild15 to get 15% off of one of their excellent organic mattresses.

My Nontoxic Mattress Hack

I know that buying a brand new mattress for each child can add up. So, here’s a hack that can place an organic barrier between your child and their current mattress.

You can either choose an organic mattress topper to add a safe and extremely comfortable layer. Or get an organic cotton mattress protector pad. Either or both of these combined can make a difference when it comes to your child coming into contact with chemicals or inhaling allergens or fumes.

When you are able to upgrade to an organic mattress, these accessories carry over to the new bed and will help protect it for the long term. Our discount code Greenchild15 works on Naturepedic accessories too.

More Healthy Sleep Resources

Getting good sleep is one of the most important parts of overall health. Here are more ways you can encourage your child to get adequate rest:

7 Mindful Sleep Exercises for Teens and Tweens
The Best Humidifiers for Your Child’s Room
Common Safety Hazards in Kids’ Rooms
Montessori Floor Beds
The Best Nontoxic Crib Mattresses
Sleepy Sloth Guided Meditation for Kids
How Daylight Resets the Circadian Rhythm and Improves Sleep
How to Choose the Best Organic Mattress
Is Your Child Ready for a Big Kid Bed?

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