As any parent can attest, kids generally don’t make bedtime easy. Even though this is supposed to be the most relaxing portion of the day, many children do everything in their power to make this time as stressful as possible. While there’s no “one size fits all” solution for getting your kids to go to bed without protest, there are a number of easy steps you can take to make your little ones more amenable to bedtime. Parents looking to send their kids off to dreamland in a relaxed manner would do well to consider the following pointers.
Create a Regular Routine
Children thrive on routine. The more accustomed they become to certain rituals, the less likely they are to actively push back against them. So, if you put your kids to bed at inconsistent times or have yet to develop a regular bedtime routine, a little bit of structure can do you a world of good. To start with, you’ll need to give your little ones a designated bedtime and ensure that they adhere to it. If they get into the habit of going to bed at the same time each night, their internal clocks will quickly adjust, and your kids will soon start getting tired as the clock gets closer to their respective bedtimes.
In addition to setting bedtimes for your kids, you’ll need to decide on when they should start getting ready for bed. Depending on how many tasks your children need to perform in the leadup to bedtime, the prep phase may take upwards of an hour. If your little ones are unaccustomed to structure on the bedtime front, they’re liable to do a fair amount of complaining in response to this new routine. Still, after a few weeks of sticking it out, they’re likely to become a lot more amenable to designated bedtimes.
Limit Screen Time Before Bed
There’s no denying that kids – and most adults, for that matter – love their screens. From phones to tablets to televisions, it seems like many of us spend the bulk of our time staring at a wide assortment of screens. However, it’s possible to get too much of a good thing. For instance, heavy screen use in the leadup to bedtime can leave a child’s mind excited instead of relaxed, which is hardly conducive to falling asleep in a timely manner.
To help prevent screen time from interfering with your children’s bedtime routines, require them to shut off all screens at least one hour in advance of bedtime. Encourage them to use this time to engage in relaxing activities, like reading (or being read to) deep breathing exercises and mental visualization.
Be Mindful of Napping
Although napping can be a great way to replenish depleted energy levels during the daytime hours, it’s possible to overdo it. So, if any of your children spend hours napping every day, there should be no mystery as to why they’re never in the mood to fall asleep at night. To nip this in the bud, be mindful of how much time your kids spend napping. While little naps are generally fine, naps that encompass a significant portion of a child’s day can be a huge hindrance to their ability to sleep through the night.
Speak to a Family Physician
If any of your children are experiencing considerable trouble getting to sleep and/or staying asleep, reach out to your family physician. If there are any underlying physical or mental health issues at the heart of this problem, your doctor will help you get to the bottom of them and provide you with invaluable advice on treatment. Cincinnati residents in search of a new family physician are encouraged to fire up their preferred search engines and enter “general family medical practice Mt. Auburn” in the search bar.
Although bedtime is meant to be a tranquil period of peace and relaxation, children tend to view it as anything but. Instead of winding down for the day, kids take the arrival of bedtime as a sign to be as hyperactive and excitable as possible. As such, it’s easy to see why so many parents actively dread this time of day. If you’re tired of bedtime being a nightly battle with your little ones, put the previously discussed measures into practice.