Bedtimes can be challenging for foster children. They may need restful sleep even more than most kids, but they may have a tougher time getting it. Here are some tips for foster parents trying to make bedtimes easier.
Importance of Sleep for Foster Children
The American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a helpful statement on childhood sleep guidelines by age. Indeed, they stress that adequate sleep leads to many benefits including improved behavior, learning, and mental and physical health. They also warn that sleep deficiencies can increase many risks, especially for vulnerable teens.
Bedtime Tips for Foster Parents
Evening rituals are a great opportunity for winding down and bonding with your foster children. Encourage them to participate by offering them choices, and start preparing for bed about an hour in advance to make the process less stressful. Turn off all screens at least a half-hour before going to sleep. on one hand, younger children may enjoy reading stories and being rocked. On the other hand, older children can benefit from any quiet soothing activity. Further, calm and cheerful conversation works at any age to draw you closer together. Share the good things that happen to you each day. Talk about what you’re looking forward to doing tomorrow. Express your affection and gratitude. Show them that you enjoy spending time with them and appreciate their efforts.
Seeking Professional Help
Foster children may be at especially high risk for sleep difficulties for many reasons. They have to get used to sleeping in a different environment. They may feel anxious and confused about being separated from their biological parents and siblings. While it’s usually a good idea to keep bedrooms quiet and dark, some children may prefer a night light and soft music. Talk with your agency and health professionals about your individual concerns and how to address them.
Learn More About Bedtimes for Foster Children
If you’re thinking about becoming a foster parent, contact us at 2INgage. We serve vulnerable Texas children and families.