Good Bedtime Routines to Help Your Children Sleep
So You Can Sleep
One of the most challenging parts of raising children can be putting them to sleep (and hoping that they stay there). By bedtime, everyone is tired and cranky, even you as a parent, which makes it even harder. Even worse, many children seem to find another wind, making it really challenging to get them into bed.
That being said, it doesn't have to be that way. Here are some good bedtime routines to help your children get to sleep.
Start the routine early.
Children are just like us. They need time to unwind and relax before they are ready for bed. You can't just bring them in from outside, put them into bed, and expect miracles to happen. Instead, they need a good half an hour (at least) to get ready for bed. Some children need even more time than that.
This leads to the next step, make bedtime a routine.
Children function best when they have routines. They know what will happen every day, and what is expected of them. This often gives them a sense of security.
So, what should your bedtime routine include? Most parents start with a bath, pajamas, and teeth brushing. Then, most parents take time to lay in bed and read with their children. At that point, they should be able to tuck them in and walk away.
Avoid caffeine (and food) before you start the bedtime routine.
Nobody, not even us parents, can fall asleep after a big meal, especially if they are drinking caffeine. Our children can't either. If they are hungry or thirsty right before you tuck them in, you can give them some warm milk and a small snack.
Turn off all electronics, even the television.
There are multiple studies that have shown that all electronics should be taken away before you get ready to go to sleep. Your children's (and your) bodies need to prepare for bed. The bright lights of electronics doesn't help at all. It stimulates your body instead of helping it unwind.
You also need to take the televisions out of your children's rooms. Instead of going to bed, they may turn the television on or even play a video game.
Their bedroom environment is also important.
Many studies show that children sleep best in a room that is cooler. If they are too warm, they won't be able to fall asleep. If they are a little cooler, they can just reach for a blanket.
Their bedrooms should also be dark and quiet, unless they are scared of the dark. If they are, you may want to use a night light, or just leave the hall light on, until they fall asleep.
If you are a parent, it is your job to make sure that your children get a good night of sleep every night. Not only will they be better behaved during the day, it also allows you to get the rest that you need.
So, how can you do this? You need to start a bedtime routine, so that your children know what is expected of them. You also need to start it early enough so that their bodies start to get tired. Most parents have their children get a bath, brush their teeth, and spend some together in bed before turning out the lights. Reading to them every night can help them, both to fall asleep and to do better in school.
Heavy meals, caffeine, and electronics should also be avoided for a few hours prior to bedtime. All of these things can keep your children awake, long after bedtime. If they are hungry or thirsty, milk and a small snack should do. If you allow your children to watch television before bed, their bodies are going to be stimulated, instead of the other way around!