Tantrums, slammed doors, bedsheets and teddies thrown on the floor – if you recognise any of these symptoms, there’s a chance you might have a Bedtime Problem. If Carmina Burana starts playing in your head whenever the time rolls around to get your little one to sleep, you might find this real parent advice pretty handy.
Start ‘Em Early
By this we mean both getting kids into a bedtime routine from an early age and also starting that routine fairly early in the evening. Jeanette Kaplan at Hispana Global recommends not rushing your kids to bedtime, “I don’t like to rush them, so I try to get them to relax and wind down at least an hour before the desired bedtime.” Making bedtime into a relaxed and easygoing affair will help to stop kids getting agitated or overexcited before they need to sleep.
Peace and Quiet… and Snacks
In the same way that a lengthy and relaxed bedtime routine will help little ones settle down, quiet time before bed will also help them unwind. Ashley Barton at Naptime Tales recommends some quiet time with a snack and a drink before bed to stop any complaints of being hungry or thirsty throughout the night.
…But Don’t Have Screen-time
Paula Shuck at Thrifty Momma’s Tips says, “After a 6:00pm dinner, there is no TV, and screen time of any sort is discouraged.” This isn’t just good advice for kids; research has proven that the blue light emitted from our gadget screens mimics the effects of daylight and stops the production of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin leading to disturbed sleep and body clocks. Avoid giving your kids tablets or smartphones to play with before bedtime to keep their sleep patterns regular.
Smart phones before bed? Not so smart.
Try Reading Instead
For lots of our real life parents, reading plays a huge part in helping children to nod off. Not only will it help kids look forward to bedtime, it also helps them to switch off from everything that has happened during the day as they become engrossed in their favourite stories.
Not to mention being a lovely and peaceful thing to do together as parent and child.
Brianne Manz of Stroller in the City has three children of different ages who all share a bedroom and says that creativity and staggered bedtimes are the key to a successful night, “It’s easier to put them to bed separately, so they don’t just talk and giggle.” Even if your little ones don’t share a room, having separate bedtimes for differently aged kids will help you have more control over your routine.
Talking Of Routines…
If there’s one thing nearly every real parent can agree on, it’s that an established and maintained routine is vital. “We have found routine to be so important,” says Jessica Turner of The Mom Creative. “Kids thrive on routine, and as long as we stick to it, bedtime is generally an easy transition for our family.” “Sticking to a routine and not giving in when they want to come out of their room are both key,” agrees Sarah Marturano of Must Have Mom. Chaos and disorganisation can be unsettling for kids, leaving them agitated and anxious – not the best traits for a happy night’s sleep. Making sure you have a consistent routine that everyone understands and follows will help bedtime flow and leave little ones relaxed and ready to drift off to Nod.
Which, more importantly, means you’ll be free to do the same!