When it comes to children and sleep, one of the most talked-about concerns from parents is how to get them to bed on time every night. Almost every parent deals with the difficultly of putting a child to bed at some point; sometimes the challenges comes with huge developmental changes the child is encountering. And for a lot of parents and kids, such times can be overwhelming, which leads to a strain in relationships and can lead to poor sleep for everyone in the household.
Below are 6 tips that help ease the bedtime challenges:
1. Make bedtime a routine: Making a routine for your children can take the stress out of bedtime for both of you. Kids thrive on structure as it often gives them a sense of safety and security. Getting your babies into a nightly routine helps them develop sleep associations and helps prepare them for bedtime. Some easy bedtime routines include a relaxing bath, story time in bed and plenty of good night cuddles.
2. Create a safe and ideal sleeping environment: Your child’s room should help promote sleeping. It is best to keep it quiet, dark and cool. From personal experience, I know that some young children want at least a little light in their room, so provide them with a night lamp or any sort of dim lighting.
3. Turn off electronics one hour minimum before bed: Remove cellphones, televisions, games and other electronic devices from their rooms. These devices promote wakefulness through stimulating content and tricks the brain into thinking it needs to stay awake. Electronics should be turned off or taken away at least an hour before bedtime.
4. Make sure they get regular exercise: It’s important that your kiddos get plenty of exercise during the day which will help them wind down quicker at night. Don’t over-exhaust them but just enough playtime at least 3 hours before bed should make sleep come easier.
5. Set up a cozy bed: We know that children go through sleep cycles where they can wake up in the middle of the night and settle into deep sleep again. Your goal is to ensure that discomfort doesn’t wake them up during the middle of the night. Warmth matters — if your toddler kicks their covers off, make sure they sleep in warm pjs and maybe with socks on.
6. Explain to you child what’s going to happen. Yes, as silly as that sounds, it could help. Act out little skits with stuffed animals that show a little one resisting bedtime in a relatable scenario. An example can be the following: the parent says, “Time for bed.” The baby animal asks to be rocked. The mom says no, we are just going to hold you, in your bed. From personal experience, children need their mum or dad to be comforting and thus will be more comfortable going to bed.