How To Get Your African Child To Sleep Better


By Adebowale Bello. Freelance Health Writer. Medical and editorial review provided by the DLHA Team. 

Rural African children posing together outdoors without top wear

Rural African children posing together outdoors without top wear.


Everyone needs sleep. For children, it is crucial as their body needs it for growth and development. However, young children aged six and below might struggle to sleep because they are scared of the dark or of being alone in their room.


A recent poll conducted by researchers at the C. S. Mott Children's Hospital and the University of Michigan in the United States of America, revealed that 1 in 4 parents have young kids who find it hard to sleep because of worry or anxiety. These parents were also more likely to leave the TV on for their children to fall asleep as they didn't have an established bedtime routine.


According to another expert, a bedtime routine not only helps children sleep better but also provides one-on-one time, allowing the child to get their parent’s full attention.


If you do not know how to set up a bedtime routine for your African child, here are some practical tips:


If your child has their own bedroom, here's a bedtime routine to follow,

  • If your child has electronic gadgets in their bedroom, turn them off.
  • Let your child take a bath
  • Ensure that your child brushes their teeth
  • As they lie in bed, you can tell them some traditional African folktales or read from a kid’s book
  • Tuck them in bed for the night
  • Turn off the light as you step out of the room


If your child does not have their own bedroom, you can follow this bedtime routine instead,

  • Turn off all electronics gadgets in the space, if possible
  • If not possible, reduce the volume or brightness of such devices
  • Let your child take a bath
  • Ensure that your child brushes their teeth
  • As they lie in bed, you can tell them some traditional African folktales or read from a kid’s book
  • If adults are still in the same space as a child that is trying to sleep, turn off some lights to reduce the brightness in the room.


Creating the right environment for your child's sleep is very important as it allows them to fall asleep and remain asleep. A completely dark room is ideal for your child's rest. 


According to the poll report, 1 out of 4 parents keep their kid's room completely dark so they can sleep soundly while 3 out of 4 leave the door slightly open to allow light rays into the room. Alternatively, they may switch on a night light or rechargeable lamp and dim it.


The report also showed that 1 in every 2 parents play some calming music or use a white noise machine to help their child sleep. They also stayed in the room till their child fell asleep, and this is something you can try as well. As your child tries to sleep, keep surrounding noise from electronics or relatives to a minimum.


Dealing with Nightmares


Sometimes, though, your child may have difficulty sleeping through the night because of nightmares. The nightmares may occur occasionally or frequently and may disrupt your child's sleep.


When children with nightmares wake, they may attempt to go to their parents’ bedroom and sleep in their bed. You need to decide on what to do if this situation arises - do you want your child sleeping in your bed after waking from a nightmare or would you calm them down, take them to their room and gently tuck them back in bed?


Whatever your decision, you need to be consistent with it, don't send them to their room today and allow them to sleep on your bed tomorrow. The consistency in your approach will help your African child adjust accordingly and make them more likely to sleep well in their bed.


Wrap Up


Your African child may not want to sleep on time because they are playing, are worried or anxious. However, you can improve the quality of their sleep by establishing a consistent bedtime routine and creating the right environment for them to have a sound sleep.



University of Michigan. Getting young children to bed: Sweet dreams or nightmare? [internet. June 2024]. Cited June 21, 2024. Available from here. .



Getting Good Sleep May Add Years To Your Life

Normal sleep: What Africans should know



Published: June 25, 2024

© 2024. Datelinehealth Africa Inc. All rights reserved.

Permission is given to copy, use and share content for non-commercial purposes without alteration or modification and subject to attribution as to source.




DATELINEHEALTH AFRICA INC., is a digital publisher for informational and educational purposes and does not offer personal medical care and advice. If you have a medical problem needing routine or emergency attention, call your doctor or local emergency services immediately, or visit the nearest emergency room or the nearest hospital. You should consult your professional healthcare provider before starting any nutrition, diet, exercise, fitness, medical or wellness program mentioned or referenced in the DatelinehealthAfrica website. Click here for more disclaimer notice.

Untitled Document