Children to Bed? – The 3 Step Routine that Works
Most parents will meet with some resistance when it’s their children’s bedtime. The mutinous looks, tears, tantrums, and don’t get me started on what the kids are like! The sooner this consistent, calming bedtime routine is imposed, the sooner bad nighttime habits will cease, guiding children into accepting and even looking forward to sleep:
1.) Ready, steady, go to bed:
Engage excited children with calming activities, such as reading a book or doing puzzles, or a glass of warm milk will also help make them drowsy.
Stagger children’s bedtimes and put the youngest to bed first, so you can develop a routine for each of them. Remind them of each stage with phrases such as ‘it’s time to brush your teeth’ and ‘in a few minutes it’s story time’, emphasizing the routine leading to sleep.
Let them choose their own pajamas and which soft toy to take to bed. Don’t forget to tuck up their teddy too, to encourage feelings of love and security.
2.) Resistance is useless!
Don’t let your kids watch TV or play console games just before bed, as these will increase the time it takes to sleep. Remove any such devices from the room if you have to.
Be calm yet firm when dealing with an argumentative child, as engaging with bad behavior and pleading will only encourage repeat performances, stalling bedtime.
If your child cries as you leave reassure them that they will see you in the morning. To avoid tears all night try to resist repeatedly going in to see them if they continue. They should soon settle.
3.) Hush a-bye:
If they are now too big for their bed it may be time to invest in a double mattress so they can be more comfortable trying to sleep with extra room to move around.
Create the connection between their bed and sleep, so they will be more able to settle every night. Once in bed read them a short relaxing story or two, sing them a lullaby, or repeat a phrase such as ‘goodnight, sleep tight’, to show that getting into bed can be fun and playful.
Kiss them goodnight, turn on a nightlight if needed, then leave the room. This gentle finality every night reassures that it is time to stay in bed and sleep, and playtime will resume again in the morning.
Children won’t change their habits overnight, so keep calm, patient and be consistent. They will soon begin enjoy the routine quite happily!
This guest post is sponsored by Mattress Online one of the UKs leading online retailers of Beds and Mattresses.