Bedtime can be a struggle for every parent and child regardless of age. Establishing and maintaining good sleep habits for children when they’re young can help prevent future sleep problems. Unfortunately there’s no magic trick to making bedtime easier. There are however some things you can do to help your child establish healthy sleeping habits. If you are struggling with getting your child to bed, then here are some helpful tips to making bedtime easier.
Tip #1: Have a set bedtime for each child
Most children struggle with going to bed at night because they don’t have a set time that they go to bed. Although a child won’t tell you they need structure, most if not all need a strict schedule everyday. Giving your child a specific bedtime gives them the time they need to wind down. It will be difficult at first, but once they begin to realize that bed time is at 8:30pm every night (or whatever time you decide on) it will be less stressful on you and less stressful on them as well. In addition to going to bed on time, this will also get their internal clock on a consistent cycle and will get them waking up at an appropriate time also.
Create a routine your child can count on.
Tip #2: Once you put them to bed they need to stay there
Sounds easy enough right, but if your child has not established a bedtime routine yet they will most likely venture out of their bed several times. In order to make bedtime easier on everyone, most importantly your child you need to keep taking them back to their bed so they understand that you are serious.
Tip #3: Provide a light bedtime snack before bed
Most kids will ask for a snack before they go to bed anyway, so you’re just making things easier by providing one for them. Usually if they don’t get one before they go to bed they will come after you’ve tried to put them in bed insisting they are hungry. By giving them the snack before they go to bed you will eliminate any question of them actually being hungry if they come out, or wondering if it’s just a ploy to stay out of bed.
Tip #4: Give them a nightly routine to follow
Kids thrive on structure and giving them a routine to follow every night will make bedtime easier for you and for them. Everyone is different and has different schedules so your routine will differ from someone else’s. For example, every night before bed most children will at least get their pajamas on, use the bathroom, and brush their teeth. That is their routine, and by doing so they are preparing themselves to get into bed and go to sleep. Your routine might include some other things like picking up the toys or reading a book. Just try and do the same thing every night so they get use to the routine.
Tip #5: Make sleep a priority
Make sure your child knows how important sleep is and that everyone in the house needs to get their allotted amount of sleep in order to be healthy. If your child sees you grouchy every day because you stayed up late the night before they will definitely want to mirror that behavior. You set the example.
Helping your child establish healthy bedtime routines will make bedtime easier for you, your child, and the rest of your family. Stick to your routine and eventually they will get the hang of it and know that you’re serious about how important sleep is.