If you’re reading this article, you must be a tired and sleep-deprived parent. Let’s face it, no matter how much we love our children, their bedtime routines (or the lack of them) are enough to make the strongest of people sigh and give up.
Making a proper bedtime routine is definitely not an easy task, but it is extremely important. If you’re wondering how to convince your child to go to bed at a reasonable hour without losing your mind, this list might be able to help you. Here are five ways to make your child’s bedtime easy.
1. Make sleep a priority
I may tell you to make healthy eating habits a priority, but sleep is just as important. When your child doesn’t get enough sleep, they become cranky and irritable, or may even fall unwell. To avoid all this hassle, make sure you set specific times on the clock that indicate bedtime.
Make sure everyone in the house follows this routine every single day, including the weekends. You can tell if your little one is getting enough sleep when they fall asleep within 15-30 minutes of going to bed, wake up fresh, and don’t feel tired all day.
2. Discuss sleeping patterns
Before you actually go ahead and set a bedtime routine, it is important to discuss with your spouse or partner, and even with your children. This will help all of you to work as a team and coordinate timings. If all of you have different timings for bed and you cannot agree on a specific hour of the day, then this will cause problems for your child’s bedtime.
If your child is old enough, sit down with them and have a talk regarding why a proper sleep schedule is necessary so that they agree to follow it. If you have a toddler, try explaining with the help of a chart or colorful pictures that show activities like changing into kids pyjamas or brushing teeth.
3. Sleep problems
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) has provided a chart where it depicts the amount of sleep required (in hours) for the different age groups of children in a 24-hour span.
Infants (4-12 months) need around 12-16 hours of sleep, toddlers (1-2 years) need 11-14 hours, preschoolers (3-5 years) require around 10-13 hours, grade-schoolers (6-12 years) require 9-12 hours, and teenagers need 8-10 hours of proper sleep.
In case you see sleeping problems in your child, such as difficulty in falling asleep, heavy breathing while sleeping, or waking up frequently at night, visit a doctor immediately.
4. Follow a routine
Kids love routine. So try to incorporate that while putting your baby to sleep. For example, read them a storybook, or sing a special lullaby. Consistent nighttime routines help children with mild sleep problems to fall asleep much more easily.
Some activities also help your child to feel sleepy, just like reading before going to bed helps adults. Moreover, when you engage in these activities, you bond much better with your child, and they associate good and peaceful feelings with the bedroom.
There is no single routine that is applicable for every family, but some of the common activities like brushing your teeth together, playing soft music, putting on PJs, and hearing stories. Ask them how their day was, and what they did all day. Listen to your child and participate actively. All this will cumulatively help you to establish a proper bedtime routine easily.
5. Sleep environment
The room where your child sleeps has to be kept as comfortable as possible. You can’t have loud music blaring from your bedroom or keep bright lights switched on in your child’s room. Either switch off the lights or keep a soothing lamp turned on in the room.
You may also leave the hall light from your child’s bedroom to yours switched on for safety purposes. If your child wants, stick some glow-in-the-dark stickers of stars on the ceiling, or light a scented candle that helps to fall asleep faster.
Over to you…
When you follow a properly laid-out sleeping routine, you instill not only good bedtime habits in your child but also qualities like punctuality and discipline. A child who sleeps properly is a child who is physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy.
So always establish a bedtime routine that is easy for all of you to follow and help your child get accustomed to it from an early age.