Alpha’s Discovery Kids Celebrates Their 2nd Mississauga Location Opening!
by Susie Beghin, RECE, Founder of Alpha’s Discovery Kids
As I walk into our bright, brand-new Mississauga daycare location, I’m overwhelmed with pride and happiness. From the new shiny floors to the perfectly white walls, I can’t wait to see our newest location transform from a blank canvas into many children’s home-away-from-home.
As an ECE (Early Childhood Educator), and a mom, there is nothing more fulfilling to me than being able to help the many families in our community by providing them with a safe place where their children will be nurtured and cared for in a fun and educational environment.
The History of Alpha’s Discovery Kids
Alpha’s Discovery Kids has certainly transformed since its birth in 2004. We started as Alpha’s Discovery Club, an indoor playground, and evolved into our first daycare location in Mississauga in 2012. Built from ground zero, we started with no students and quickly transitioned to full programs and a packed waiting list and, from there, opened our 2nd location in Oakville in 2019.
And here we are today. Opening our 2nd location in Mississauga – and we couldn’t be more thrilled!
A true labour of love, Alpha’s Discovery Kids is more than just a daycare. It’s many children’s second homes and second families. As a parent, I understand the trust and faith it takes to leave your child in someone else’s care. And that’s why at Alpha’s Discovery Kids, every child in our care is treated as an extended part of our own families. Our children are our most precious gifts, and we always aim to teach and nurture children in a loving, respectful manner. Our goal is to do our best to give them our best.
With over 10 years of experience, we pride ourselves on our family environment, where every single experienced teacher is chosen because they are caring, flexible and nurturing, with a capacity and desire for life-long learning. With an ever-evolving field, we are constantly learning – learning more about children and how to teach them, learning new strategies and techniques and learning how to deliver the best care to every child.
A peek inside our new Mississauga location
“My mission is to give each child the best start in life” – Susie Beghin
The first 6 years of a child’s life are the most pivotal. With a child’s brain growing at an exponential rate, as Early Childhood Educators, we are helping to form these little brains, so they grow and become anything they desire to be.
We consider ourselves blessed to be able to have an impact during these formative years, and it’s why our unique curriculum is the key part of all of our programs at every location. We have developed The Four Pillars of Learning, and these pillars are reflected in every room inside our Alpha’s locations. Our Four Pillars of Learning are Language/Literacy, STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math), physical activity/nutrition and mindful awareness.
Our new Mississauga location embodies everything that Alpha’s Discovery Kids is about. Fresh, clean and inviting, with a capacity of 89 children, we are excited to welcome the newest members of our Alpha’s family. Each classroom has been thoughtfully laid out, from bathrooms set up within the classrooms (with mini toilets made for mini bodies!), to organized storage, to our Four Pillars of Learning areas.
We have 6 classrooms at our new Mississauga location, divided by age group:
- 2 Toddler Rooms (ages 12m-2.5 yr) with a capacity for 14 children in each room
- Junior Preschool Room (age 2.5-3.5 yr) with a capacity for 16 children
- Senior Preschool Room (age 3.5-4.5 yr) with a capacity for 16 children
- Kindergarten Room (age 4-6yr) with a capacity for 13 children
- School Age Room (age 6+ yr) with a capacity for 19 children
With teachers who are always patient, caring and committed to making each child’s experience the best it can be, Alpha’s Discovery Kids is a loving and inclusive daycare whose top priority is the well-being of each child.
We are pleased to offer:
- Flexibility: We understand every family has different needs. We work with each family according to their schedule, offering both full-time and part-time We will always do our best to accommodate your schedule based on availability.
- Inclusive environment:
- Every child is welcome at Alpha’s Discovery Kids. We are a fully inclusive daycare experienced in welcoming special needs children. We also participate in PIRS (Peel Inclusive Resource Services), providing additional support services to children with special needs.
- We celebrate diversity and all cultures at Alpha’s Discovery Kids. We accommodate all dietary restrictions, offer a fully Halal menu, and are Halal Certified. Our menu is designed with a child’s nutrition in mind, and we offer nutritious, hot meals representing all food groups
- Technology: We understand that it can be difficult to leave your child at daycare, and that’s why we use our HiMama app. Giving families peace of mind, the app provides the ability to check in with teachers, see photos and videos of your children, see the schedule of the day’s activities and receive real time reports of your child’s day (including food consumption, sleep schedule, etc)
We’d love for you to come in and take a tour of our new location, and we are now accepting registrations. With many of our families booking on the spot, we encourage you to book your tour today.
The response to our new Mississauga location has been overwhelmingly positive, and we are so happy that our families love our new space.
We can’t wait to welcome you to Alpha’s Discovery Kids!
Our New Mississauga Location is located at 2632 Liruma Road, Mississauga, ON L5K 1Z1. To book a tour or for more information, please contact us at https://www.alphasdiscoveryclub.com/contact/ or call us at 905-823-8257.
5 Ways to Tap into Your Inner Child
by Susie Beghin, RECE, Founder of Alpha’s Discovery Kids
As an educator, parent, and daycare owner, I feel blessed to be around children every day. Being with children has allowed me to learn how to tap into my own inner child. I have seen firsthand how important it is to my relationship with them. Children tend to engage with me and seek me out when I’m connected to my inner child.
What is the Inner Child?
The Inner Child lives inside you. It can best be described as “child-like”, innocent and free from worry. It can’t be taken away, but it can hide. It’s like a light shining within you that can’t burn out, but it can be temporarily dimmed.
Why tap into your Inner Child?
There are a couple of important reasons to tap into your inner child. One of the main reasons you will want to do this is to feel more joy and energy in your life. Have you ever noticed that children seem to be full of joy most of the time? They tend to smile and laugh more than adults. They are full of energy! The second reason is, as a parent, it will strengthen your relationship with your children. In the book Learn To Play, I state the importance of tapping into your inner child when you are playing with them. It will allow you to influence and educate them in the best way possible. And finally, it’s good for your mental health. When you tap into your inner child, it feels good!
5 Ways to Tap into Your Inner Child
- Spend Time with Children in Play – I found this way to be the easiest. Children naturally will bring out your inner child when you are playing with them. Resist the urge to direct the play. Just follow along with what they are doing. The more you follow, the more your inner child will come out. Let yourself be free in the play. Don’t worry about anything – like making a mess. Don’t be afraid to get silly and don’t worry about what anyone else thinks. Be playful and have fun.
- Be Curious – We can learn how to be curious by observing children. They naturally have a sense of wonder and curiosity about everything. They are learning about their world and there are many new things to learn. A baby is just figuring out how to open and close a kitchen cupboard. Imagine their excitement when they finally get it open! They want to do it repeatedly! Children are like scientists that are always testing a hypothesis. They are curious about how things work. We need to see the world in the same way. We need to be curious and look at the world with the eyes of a child.
- Be Mindful – Being mindful means focusing on the present moment without any judgement. Children are naturally mindful and have a heightened sense of awareness. They tend not to worry about the past or future and are mostly focused on what is happening in the present moment. We can learn a lot from children in this regard. Many of our worries and problems arise when we are too focused on the past or the future. We forget to enjoy the present moment, which is full of opportunities and joy. Want to learn how to be mindful? Click here and watch one of our videos about how to cultivate mindfulness.
- Look up – We live in a world with a lot of distractions and mobile phones have had a huge impact on us. I am guilty of spending too much time looking at my phone and scrolling through social media instead of enjoying the scenery on a drive. I have sat at the dinner table answering a message on my phone instead of engaging in conversation with the people sitting beside me. These same phones that are supposed to connect us to the world, often tend to disconnect us – emotionally. When we look up from our phones, we notice the world around us in a new way. We can’t engage with that world if we are looking down. Our inner child needs us to look up.
- Do something new – One of the best ways to challenge yourself to tap into your inner child is to try something new. Learn a new language, visit a new destination, or try out a new craft. Whatever you do, make sure you haven’t done it before. This will challenge your brain to make new connections the same way a child does when they learn something new.
Once you learn to tap into your inner child, you will be well equipped to engage with you kids and build the relationship. The spark is within you, you just need to let it shine!
Learn to Play Workshops: For Parents
Susie Beghin wants to give children the best start in life. It’s why she founded Alpha’s Discovery Kids in 2012, a daycare and preschool dedicated to providing quality education and a positive learning environment.
Now, Susie shares the foundation of Alpha’s Discovery Kids’ beloved and celebrated inquiry-based curriculum in her new book, Learn to Play: The Four Pillars Learning System.
Learn to Play: The Four Pillars Learning System, is a must-read for all parent-to-be or parents with young children! In the book, Susie shares her teaching method with parents and educators as a tool for learning both at home and in the childcare setting. For each pillar of learning, there are strategies on how to build skills as well as sample free-play and intentional play activities – by age group, from infants to preschoolers.
Susie is now offering workshops to teach the fundamental concepts in the book for parents who want to learn how to teach their kids through play. She is inviting parents to participate in the free workshop to explore the book in a hands-on learning environment. Note: parents must purchase the book to enroll in the free workshop.
The workshops will be held monthly at the following location:
Alpha’s Discovery Kids – Mississauga
6435 Erin Mills Parkway E-02 Mississauga, ON L5N 4H4
Tickets available on EventBrite. Click here to book tickets.
Gardening With Kids: 7 Lessons They Learn
At Alpha’s Discovery Kids, encouraging growth and development is what we do best. Our students have become very involved in tending to classroom plants. We have made it a seasonal tradition to create an outdoor garden with our preschoolers. They love digging and planting at the beginning of the season, watching the growth and then picking the vegetables during the middle of the season. All the knowledge they gain throughout the process will stay with them for years to come. The learnings will shape them as they grow into adults who will one day be responsible for their own little place in the world. When children help in the garden, they begin to understand what it takes to grow. They begin to understand that plants need water and food just like they do.
7 Lessons children learn from gardening
Engages all the senses–Gardening can be a complete sensory experience for kids. Growing plants isn’t about just digging in dirt, although that’s a great way to experience using the touch sense, but kids can use all their other senses while learning how to grow their own food. Sight, taste and smell comes into play when they get to experience the aromas and tastes of what they have harvested.
Encourages healthy eating–Learning to grow your own food encourages you to eat it. As you and your family eat more and more fruits and vegetables as your garden produces, they may be experiencing new foods for the first time and discovering new favorite foods too.
Life cycles-Big lessons can be learned in the garden about life and the lifecycle of plants, bugs and animals. From new baby rabbits (that you want to keep out) to mature bees carrying honey back to the hive and to the life of the plants themselves, they can literally watch life happen in the garden.
Bugs are useful-Gardening shows kids how useful bugs are in the world. They begin to understand that even earthworms have a place in the circle of life. Learning these things can help make bugs seem less scary.
Nurturing & Responsibility-These two are technically different skills but they really go hand-in-hand. Helping plants grow teaches kids how to nurture a little life and it teaches them responsibility since they will have to help water and feed the plants. Remembering to do this and helping adults keep an eye on the plants is a big responsibility for children. They love to watch as their hard work pays off and the garden vegetables grow.
Family bonding– Gardening is a family experience. Everyone can gets involved on some level. It’s fun for us to do it together and experience growing food or plants. Not only is it fun but it gives us a chance to teach kids so much and that’s fulfilling for us and them.
Gardening is good for the soul-Gardening gives us a chance to pause and get back to nature. Nature has a way of calming us. No screens are involved so that’s a big bonus. It’s a time out from the rest of life when they just get to concentrate on the dirt between their fingers.
Daycare and Summer Camp Open House 2022
We are so excited to showcase our beautifully expanded and renovated facility in Oakville at our Open House this weekend. We want to give you a little sneak peek of the activities that will be offered for children during this event.
As families wander our hallways, classrooms, and outdoor playground area, they will see featured activities on display as well as engage in some hands-on activities with their children. This will give prospective families an opportunity to experience our Four Pillars of Learning curriculum first hand.
We will be offering some yummy snacks, treats and refreshments to enjoy during this event. We welcome children of all age groups to explore each room and participate in what is being offered along with their parents.
Our program grows with your child and because we know that your families are growing too, we have offerings that begin as early as infants all the way up to 12 years of age.
The founder of Alpha’s Discovery Kids and owner of all three Alpha’s locations, Ms. Susie will be here to meet and greet all guests. Our centre Supervisor Ms. Shannon will also be onsite ready to greet you with a smile, answer questions and offer a personal tour. Our talented team of core educators will be waiting for you in our classrooms ready to represent and showcase our proprietary holistic curriculum.
This event offers a unique opportunity for our existing parents to engage with each other and share their experiences with new families too. Even though we are a well-known award-winning location with a 5-star rating and amazing reviews, nothing beats a real parent to parent chat. We know that education, cleanliness, safety, food and nutrition, love and comfort are the top priorities of all parents. We can’t wait to open our doors and share what we have to offer. With a variety of programs and flexible options, there is sure to be something for everyone.
We offer Full-time, Part -time, Toddler, Nursery school, Jr. & Sr Preschool, Kindergarten, Before and After School – Age programs and Summer Camps.
Spring Cleaning for the Mind
Spring is all about fresh starts and new beginnings, symbolized by growth and new life. It’s a time when we are encouraged to clean our homes and organize our lives. It’s also a great time to give a little attention to renewing your mental health.
At Alpha’s Discovery Kids, we place equal focus on teaching children about mindful awareness and physical health as we do with teaching them academic skills. We do this because we know how important mental health is to the learning process. Engaging in self-care is fundamental to having a clear and refreshed mind. We often forget to take care of ourselves when busy schedules and caring for others is prioritized. We must actively listen to our mind and body and understand that taking time for oneself is not a luxury or an act of selfishness, but rather a critical element for self-growth and fulfillment. Doing this for ourselves is good for those around you too: your family, your co-workers, and it sets a good example for your children. You may wonder how we calm the busyness and begin the self -care process.
Here are 5 steps that can help you clear and refresh your mind, spirit and body.
5 steps to spring cleaning of the mind, spirit and body
A clear mind begins with self-love and self-reflection. Self-love starts with taking the time to do the work that is needed to be healthier, happier, and more at peace with yourself. Once you have gifted yourself the time, then reflection can begin. How can we connect with what our mind and body are telling us if we don’t pause and listen first? Renewal of the mind, body and spirit is a journey, and is successful when practiced gradually. The good news is that you have already begun by taking the time to read this blog.
Here’s a little activity you can do to start the reflection process:
- Imagine yourself sitting beside the water and the waves are crashing. Try to find your reflection in the water.
- Now, imagine yourself sitting beside the water and there are no waves, and the water is still. Try to find your reflection in the water.
The waves represent your active and stressed mind. You can not see your reflection when the waves are crashing. You must calm the waves and your mind to reflect, refresh and renew. Each of these steps require a mind free of clutter and distractions. Find a quiet place at home or in nature and just take some time for yourself to reflect, without thinking about anything on your to-do list and make sure you don’t have a phone with you or anything else that may distract you.
2.Re-write short-term and long-term goals
It does not matter how big or small. Having a set of goals can give you a sense of purpose in life and guide you toward your desired path.
Short term goals that can bring you joy, and happiness can be as simple as:
- Reconnecting with an old friend by phone or in person.
- Taking more time to do enjoy a nice cup of coffee or tea alone
- Getting a fresh new haircut
- Forgiving someone who has done you wrong
Long term goals that can bring you joy, and happiness can be as simple as:
- Planning or completing a project at home
- Starting a new hobby
- Booking a trip
- Read a book
- Improving a relationship with someone you care about
3.Refresh Physical health
Engaging in physical activity has been scientifically proven to play an important role in sustaining mental health and well-being. This can be as simple as adding one healthy habit to your routine. or removing one unhealthy habit.
Here’s some ideas:
- Drink more water
- Park father away so you get a few more steps
- Put it away – Tidy up as you go
- Make your bed
- Opting for fresh over processed food
- Cutting back on sugar or salt
- Cut back on caffeine or Alcohol
- Take the dog out for a walk or run
- Sign up for a sport you enjoy
4.Renew your spiritual health
Practicing your faith can do wonders for cleansing of the mind. According to wellness coach and author of “The Adrenal Fatigue Solution”, there is a strong connection between faith and mental health. She states “There is one age-old method that can reduce stress levels. It’s free, doesn’t require a prescription, and has zero side effects or drug interactions. You will know it as faith, and millions of people around the world rely on it to see them through hard times. The results are not just anecdotal, there is evidence that it works. Faith and spirituality are abstract concepts, but they can lead to concrete results in mental health improvement and stress reduction.”
Whatever your faith is, spend more time with it. Really connect with it to engage your mind and spirit.
5. Rethink your stress management skills
Learning coping skills that allow you to accept any given situation is an important skill in reducing stress. Knowing which situations make you uncomfortable can minimize distress and encourage better coping behaviors. Making a conscious effort to notice and understand your inner and outer world at this very moment can improve your mental health. Living in the present moment is difficult when you are distracted with tasks and responsibilities. We forget to appreciate life’s precious moments.
Taking time to develop the skills needed to better manage your stress and anxiety can be as simple as:
- Take a brief pause in your day to indulge in a sensory experience (Smell something pleasant or touch something soft)
- Try your best not to dwell on what you can’t control or what is in the past
- Pay attention to what triggers your stress responses and avoid those things if possible
- Take a moment to notice the sun and wind on your face
- Remove physical clutter to clear mental clutter and stress
With these 5 steps to spring cleaning the mind, body and spirit, let’s take a moment to spring into action and be good to ourselves.
GOAL SETTING FOR KIDS:
5 SIMPLE STEPS TO TURN A WISH INTO A GOAL
We all love to dream! In the beloved fairy tale, Cinderella said, “A Dream is a wish your heart makes” but what if we want to turn those wishes into reality. How can we teach our kids to do that? We can teach them to set goals. A goal is like magically turning that dream into reality by setting an intention to achieve that very wish. Teaching children the difference between a wish and a goal is essential and will help your child become a goal-oriented and mindful individual. Here’s 5 simple steps to turn a wish into a goal:
You will need:
• A wish to cultivate from a young dreamer
• Fairy tale movies or books
• A marker
• Language and literacy
• Fine motor
• Self awareness
• Problem solving and troubleshooting
• Self esteem
• Exploring strategic planning
MANAGE POSITIVE OUTCOMES
Brainstorm with your child on a possible wishes that can become goals. Be realistic and both age and developmentally appropriate. By doing this, you will set them up for success and they will not give up on goal setting.
When helping your child set a goal or put a dream in motion:
• Take your time
• Keep it simple!
• Play along and make a goal of your own
• Acknowledge each idea and use open ended and encouraging language and tone.
• Do not discourage but set aside goals that may not be attainable right away i.e. Driving a car
REMOVE THE MAGIC WAND!
Help children understand there is nothing wrong with having a wish. But waiting for a wish to come true is unrealistic unless of course you have a little “Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo” magic up your sleeve.
• Show your child examples of how people make their wishes come true through action.
• Explore some fairy tale books or videos where this is evident.
• Have fun with this!
ENGAGE & EXPLORE
At the start of a brand-new year, we often set resolutions for ourselves but often do not create an action plan to achieve those goals. We need to replace the word “wish” with an intention. Use an action word that will help to accomplish the goal.
• introduce … Action words!
• Set intentions.
• Try to help your child imagine what it will be like when the goal is met with success. How will they feel?
INTRODUCE THE MAGIC OF COMMITTING GOALS TO PAPER
It is indisputable that committing our goals to paper and reviewing them regularly gives us a higher chance of achieving them.
• Write the child’s intentions down on paper. You can also cut out pictures and paste them on the paper so that you have a visual of the goal in addition to the words.
• Make a plan of action and answer the questions: Who, what, where, when and why. Knowing why you want something plays a big part in motivation. And more importantly HOW? There may be many HOW’s in the process of getting to one’s goal.
• Help your child set a deadline by asking them how long they think it will take them to achieve their goal.
• Set a reminder on a digital device or calendar with the deadline.
Remember to do this at every step along the way. A goal isn’t achieved in one day. It takes time and usually a lot of little steps to make it happen. Celebrate those little achievements along the way!
Toilet Training – How To Achieve Success
by Shannon Speers
From the moment of birth, humans strive toward independence. Young children especially feel the need to do things for themselves. Given guidance and opportunity, our children will achieve many things. At Alpha’s, we believe that by fostering independence, children can be active agents in their own development, including toilet training. Self-help, wellness routines such as washing their hands and face, dressing themselves and becoming independent in the washroom are all routines that can be mastered independently with increasing levels of self-reliance.
As a Centre Supervisor, one of the most popular questions parents ask involves toilet training. Our Toilet Training Reference Guide was designed to assist parents as they embark on one of the most challenging tasks that parents of young children will face. This can be challenging for many reasons. Acknowledging this whole heartedly will be the first step for any parent. We must first understand that we trained our children to wear diapers and now we must guide and un-train them from what they have always known. Before we can start, we need to recognize the difference between “toilet training” and “toilet learning”.
How does “Toilet Learning” differ from “toilet Training”?
- Toilet training is something that is adult directed. It may involve a time pressure for your child. Toilet training involves an attitude of having to do it now because the adult chooses so and creates a power struggle situation.
- Toilet learning is when the child is involved in their own learning. Toilet learning starts with readiness signs. Toileting is a skill that needs to be learned; it cannot be taught overnight. The key to toilet learning is teaching, not training.
One of the main differences between toilet learning and toilet training is the adult’s attitude which can have a big impact for the child. By allowing the child to learn on their own with a bit of support and help from the adult, you are providing an opportunity for empowerment.
Parents will often ask us if “we do potty training”. The answer is “No, we do toilet learning” and when I say “we”, I mean we do this together with the parents as a team and not strictly during school hours. This process is simply impossible without a joint effort between home and school. Often the issue lies with the commitment to the process. This can be avoided by developing an understanding of the importance of being as devoted to the process as you are to the end goal.
At Alpha’s, we work with families and help them to become prepared by offering guidance and support through active communication and set up plans together to achieve positive developmental achievements. Part of this is working together to determine developmentally appropriate time lines and monitor signs of readiness to begin the steps toward the children achieving autonomy of their bodies with respect to toileting.
If you have questions about this process, please reach out to us.
SLEEP SAFETY TIPS FOR INFANTS
Parents often ask us about sleep safety for their children and especially for infants. Here’s our top sleep safety tips for infants:
Safe sleep is as easy as A B C
- Don’t sleep in the same bed as baby.
- The safest place for baby to sleep is the same room as their caregiver.
- You can place crib next to the bed.
- Keep the room smoke and pollutant-free.
- Keep the room cool to prevent overheating.
- Always place baby on their back to sleep.
- Help to prevent flat spots on the head by changing sleep direction daily and it also helps them to build strength by activating muscles on both sides of their neck.
- Because baby sleeps on their back, Tummy Time is essential! Tummy Time should begin as soon as baby comes home.
- Baby should always sleep in a crib.
- Use a crib or bassinet that meets current safety standards.
- Provide your baby with a firm sleep surface.
- Keep crib empty. No toys or blankets!
- Remove loose bedding, bumpers, and toys as they can put safety as risk.
- Avoid using sleep positioning devices.
To learn more about Tummy Time, Sleep Sacks and healthy sleep for babies. Click here.
Sleep Tips for Young Children: How to get a good night’s rest
Some say “never wake a sleeping baby” but what if the baby won’t sleep at all? What if they sleep too much? Knowing how much sleep your child needs can be confusing because it seems everyone has an opinion on the topic and there is so much information to sift through about sleep tips.
Keep in mind that what works for some may not work for all. While some of you may be simply exhausted because your child doesn’t sleep enough, other parents may be experiencing worry about children who sleep too much. Some children will naturally fall below the recommended or typical sleep amounts for their age group and can function well on less sleep. Some children may need extra sleep, but it’s something to monitor because that means less awake time to learn and play. You’ll want to check with your pediatrician if your child’s sleep needs are excessively high or low.
If these topics are keeping you up at night and your child too, you are not alone. Sleep is a big topic among parents and it’s important to remember to stick to the facts. Always use reputable sources of information online, books or consult with your doctor rather then using the advice in a mommy’s group, from a friend or family member. Although the latter may be a trusted source, it’s best to check on that advice with a professional to make sure it is sound.
How Much Sleep Do Children Need?
This chart is a general guide to the amount of sleep children need over a 24-hour period, including nighttime sleep and daytime naps.
|Infants (4 to 12 months old)||12-16 hours|
|Toddlers (1 to 2 years old)||11-14 hours|
|Children (3 to 5 years old)||10-13 hours|
|Children (6-12 years)||9-12 hours|
|Teenagers (13-18 years old)||8-10 hours|
Here’s some handy sleep tips that may help your child (and you) get the sleep you need:
Establish a regular sleep pattern
Establishing a regular sleep pattern is important. It will help your child understand when it is time to sleep. Also, your child will have better sleep. Bedtime shouldn’t vary by more than an hour across all days of the week (even weekends) – whether your child has an early start the next morning or not. The same goes for waking time.
A consistent bedtime routine
It is good to have the same routine before bed each night. This will help prepare for sleep. Quiet activities are good, such as reading a book or having a bath or shower. In the half hour before bed, there are some things you want to avoid such as active games, playing outside, TV, internet or mobile phone games. These activities will stimulate the child and make it difficult to fall asleep.
Make sure the bedroom is comfortable
The bedroom should be quiet, comfortable, and dark. Some children like a night light. This is fine. Make sure your child sees the bedroom as a good place to be.
Bed is for sleeping, not entertainment
Devices and games will distract your child and are not good for their sleep. Keep them out of the bedroom. “Needing” to watch a screen to fall asleep is a bad habit. This can easily develop, but you don’t want it to happen.
Some foods can disturb sleep
A high intake of sugary or fatty foods has been linked with more restless sleep. Avoid sugary or high fat snacks before bedtime, as well as large meals. A small healthy savoury snack, one hour before bedtime, would be fine.
Take care with daytime naps
It is normal for young children to nap during the day. As your child gets older, they will need less sleep. This means they will need to nap less. The number and length of naps depends on your child. If your child is not going to sleep at a reasonable time at night, it may be time to shorten or stop daytime napping.
Exercise and time outside
Daily exercise is an important part of healthy living. It also promotes good sleep. Time spent in bright daylight does the same. Outdoor exercise achieves both these things. It’s best for young children to go outside for at least 2 hours throughout the day to get the physical activity they need. However, it is best to steer clear of vigorous activity in the hour before sleep.
Work with your doctor
If your child is sick or isn’t comfortable, their sleep will suffer. Some children suffer from specific sleep problems such as frequent nightmares, snoring or sleep apnoea. It is important that these problems are dealt with. If you think ill health is involved, discuss this with your family doctor.
Specific sleep-related issues in children
The Sleep Health Foundation has a range of helpful fact sheets for children with sleep issues. These include tips on sleep issues for children with ADHD (see ADHD and Sleep in Children) or autism (see Autism in Children and Sleep), as well as more general topics such as bedwetting (see Bedwetting), childhood snoring (see Childhood Snoring and Sleep Apnea) and behavioural problems with settling to sleep (see Behavioural Sleep Problems in School Aged Children).
Sleep is important, not only for your child’s well-being, but yours too! For more information about how we promote children’s well being, check out our programs!