Getting your child to sleep can be a challenging task for many parents. As kids are getting older especially during the toddler years, bedtime can be a battle of wills often with endless tears and meltdowns. Here we have collected some tips and ideas as to how to create a healthy bedtime routine for your child.
If you haven’t set a routine yet it’s time to do so. The earlier a child gets used to a good bedtime routine the easier it will become, later on. This, however, doesn’t mean you can’t introduce a stricter bedtime practice later on in their lives.
Ideally, you want your toddlers in bed by around 7 pm, however, this might be a bit ambitious on your part especially if you have an active child on your hand. When establishing a new routine don’t force it onto them as it’s likely will end in a meltdown. It’s best to introduce all changes gradually. You want to avoid putting your child to bed when they are still wide awake but also too late when they might be too moody and they might end up not listening to you. Keep an eye out for signs of fatigue and tiredness and make note of the time. Try to stick to that bedtime for a few days, even if it’s a bit too late and every 2-3 days move their bedtime 15 minutes earlier so they can get used to it slowly.
Once you manage to establish a good routine make sure you stick to it. There might be some changes over time but make sure you introduce them slowly and once in place try to keep to them.
There are many reasons as to why bedtime can be a nightmare for parents. Usually, the reason lies in a poorly managed pre-bedtime routine. Transitioning from a high energy state to sleeping might be difficult for your child. Overstimulated and excited children will be less likely to be ready for bed. Some kids need tiring out before bedtime but make sure you try to achieve that throughout the whole day. Spending time outside and playing games is a great way to burn some energy however you want to avoid high energy activities before bedtime. You should aim to slow things down about an hour before your desired bedtime.
Some tips to create an easy meltdown free pre-bedtime routine.
Move to the bedroom
It’s a good idea to slowly start ushering your child towards the bedroom. Play some quiet games together in their bedroom. Don’t let them watch TV or play games on your phone or tablet at this time. Avoid anything that can be too stimulating.
It’s good practice to dim the lights as this will encourage sleepiness. Try to cool down the room’s temperature a little and warm the bed for them to make it even more inviting to get in there. Put on some quiet music or even better some white noise in the background while preparing your child for their bedtime. You can use pleasant smells to your advantage as well. A little bit of lavender oil can help immensely.
Make sure you have a night light installed. Most kids don’t like sleeping in the dark and a small nightlight can be the perfect solution. This can also help them to find the toilet if they need it during the night.
Hopefully, by this point, your child is a bit more chilled out and will be ready to get into bed.
Offer a light healthy snack before bedtime. This can help them relax and they won’t wake up in the middle of the night hungry. Avoid anything with caffeine or chocolate and opt for something high in protein.
A warm relaxing bath can help your child relax and wind down. You can even include a gentle massage with some baby nighttime massage oils after bathing for further relaxation.
Make sure you teach your child a good oral hygiene routine from a young age. Even if they don’t have teeth yet it’s good to get them used to the process and the feel of a toothbrush in their mouths. Teach them that brushing teeth is not optional as this will save you from a lot of arguments later on as they get older.
Try to avoid yes or no questions. Instead of asking Are you ready for bed? Try to offer them two things to choose from. Do you want to take a bath first or brush your teeth? Children, especially toddlers like to feel like they are in charge as they are learning how to be independent. Let them choose what they want to eat before bed or let them pick the book they want to read.
Before jumping into bed make sure your child uses the toilet. This is especially important if they are still potty training or if they are prone to bedwetting.
Most kids love bedtime stories. Let them choose the book they want you to read and look at the pictures together while you are reading the book. If your child is nor overly into the idea it might be a good idea to take them shopping and encourage them to pick storybooks for themselves.
It’s important to make their bedtime routine fun so they won’t be dreading it every day. Shower them in praise when they comply and don’t forget to keep giving them a lot of hugs and kisses throughout the process. A good bedtime routine should give you a good time for some bonding. Try to keep your cool and avoid yelling at them if you get frustrated.
It’s very important to establish good sleeping habits at a young age as they will have an effect on their sleeping habits later on in their lives. There are many traits children grow out of overtime however this might not be the case with a poor bedtime routine. This problem can easily persist and stay with them throughout their school years as well. This can affect not just their studies but their overall health.
Creating a healthy routine for them can be a challenging task but it will definitely be worth it in the long run. What’s your bedtime routine? Let us know down in the comments!