Tips to help kids catch more zzz’s while hospitalized
As parents of hospitalized children know, sleep for young patients can be hard to come by in the hospital because so many things can disturb the normal sleep pattern the child has at home.
Parents can help too. Here are some tips to help hospitalized kids catch more zzz’s:
- Try to keep your child on a similar sleep schedule as the one at home, with time for extra naps and longer sleep periods at night.
- Make the hospital room as dark as possible at night and as light as possible during times when your child is awake. This will keep your child aware of day and night changes and encourage natural sleep.
- Use items from home to provide comfort to your child, particularly during sleep – a favorite blanket or stuffed animal, for example, or a pillow from home.
- Play soft music or white noise to drown out some of usual hospital noises that will disrupt sleep.
- Try to time a warm bath for just before bedtime.
- Try motion. Rocking or swinging can help infants fall asleep better. So can swaddling.
- Create story time. Hearing a parent’s voice can soothe kids and help them get to sleep. If parents can’t be there in person, they can tape a favorite bedtime story. For older kids, audio books can be a good alternative.
- Speak up. Parents should not hesitate to ask nurses to be quiet when entering the room.