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  • Writer's pictureAdela

Actively Improve Your Child's Sleep

Children's Sleep Consultant | Specialist for Toddler

Does Physical Activity Improve Sleep?

It’s a commonly-held belief that getting a lot of physical activity helps people sleep well at night, and evidence certainly supports that theory. A 2009 study from the Department of Paediatrics at the University of Auckland found that every hour of sedentary activity during the day resulted in an average of 3.1 minutes more in sleep latency, or in layman’s terms, the time it took the child to fall asleep after going to bed. Higher rates of activity resulted in less sleep latency.

What this can actually result in is a bit of a vicious cycle. Your child isn’t getting a lot of exercise during the day, so they have a slightly harder time falling asleep at night. That leaves them feeling a little lethargic the next day, which leads to even less activity, which leads to even less sleep. You can see how this can start to spiral out of control pretty quickly.

Children's Sleep Consultant | Specialist for Toddler

Does Extreme Tiredness Help Children Sleep Better?

Another commonly-held belief is that once we get really tired, we tend to fall asleep earlier to compensate, but a lot of people are surprised to learn that overtiredness actually has the opposite effect. Our brains fire up our cortisol production in an attempt to provide energy for whatever emergency we’re staying awake for, making it even more difficult to fall asleep.

Easy Ways to Get Your Child Active at Home

We’re all familiar with the old adage, “It takes a village to raise a child,” and even though the makeup of that village has changed significantly over the years, it’s still as true as it ever was. Back in the day that village might have been made up mostly of your neighbors and relatives. Now, playgroups, daycares, dance classes, soccer leagues, and other organized forms of social interaction have taken the role of said village.

But sometimes these organized activities aren't always feasible, especially for mamas already struggling with schedule conflicts. I like to think I’ve got as much energy as the average mama out there, but there’s no way I can keep up with my little ones on a physical level to the degree that another child can. Kids have so much energy, and the best way for them to burn it off, in my opinion, is by playing with other kids.

So with all of that in mind, here are a few suggestions for some fun activities you can engage in with your little one without requiring a whole team of kiddos to participate.

Children's Sleep Consultant | Specialist for Toddler
Specialist for Toddlers

1. Dancing

My personal favorite, and the favorite of a lot of kids as well. Throw on a YouTube video of a kid's zumba and let your little one go to town. I know, okay? We’ve all heard “I Like to Move It” enough to last us several lifetimes, but this is for the greater good.

Children's Sleep Consultant | Specialist for Toddler

2. Bike Rides

When it comes to outdoor exercise, you can’t do much better than the good old fashioned bike ride. Kids have to pedal faster and harder than adults to keep up the same pace, so you can hopefully burn off their energy around the same time you’ve hit your limit. Plus the changing scenery will help keep both of your minds off the fact that you’re exercising.

3. Yoga

Oh yeah, kids can absolutely do yoga, and a lot of them actually love it! They’re naturally flexible so they’re able to get into a lot of poses their parents can’t which is always a thrill for them. Counting how long they can hold the poses gives them a goal to work towards, and practicing mindfulness and serenity is something that’s beneficial for people of any age. Check out Cosmic Kids Yoga for some really exceptional videos. The instructor incorporates popular kids stories into her routines and, well, it’s pretty great.

Children's Sleep Consultant | Specialist for Toddler
Children's Sleep Consultant

4. Hello Neighbor

If your little one has a friend in the neighborhood, ideally only a few houses apart, you and your neighbor each hide an extra key somewhere outside and tell the kids whoever finds the key and unlocks the other’s front door first is the winner. It keeps them within your home's vicinity but still running around with a goal.

Children's Sleep Consultant | Specialist for Toddler

5. Video Game Workouts

Run away from monsters, escape flowing lava and punch away dinosaurs. PE Bowman has family-friendly YouTube videos that are entertaining yet activity-inducing for your little ones.

5. Wii Sports/Wii Fit

This one requires a bit of an investment, and I know that some parents think that video games and exercise are polar opposites, but the Nintendo Wii is a different beast. The sports games actually involve a significant amount of movement, and when it comes to keeping kids engaged and wanting more, this guy is the heavyweight champ. You can get a refurbished one at discount, including the Wii Sports game, which if you think about how much they’re likely to use it, is a pretty good deal.

Children's Sleep Consultant | Specialist for Toddler
Proven Results for Toddler Sleep Training

However you choose to ensure your little one gets enough physical activity, a commitment to an active lifestyle is something they’ll learn from their parents. And an active style doesn't always need to be soccer camps or hockey tournaments. Good sleep, mood, and overall well-being are learned behaviors that will last a lifetime.


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