Since the beginning of time, bedtime has been a battle of wills between parents and kids. Parents beg, plead, and even sometimes threaten their children to go to sleep, while kids desperately try to negotiate a few more minutes of playtime. And after a few rounds, the whole process can end up leaving parents feeling totally pooped. But before you throw up your white flag and let them stay up all night, you should know about some bedtime routines that'll get your kid in bed without a tantrum.
As Baby Center suggests, toddlers appreciate the consistency of a routine. Getting your child to bed will be a lot easier when your child knows exactly what to expect. Keeping bedtime the same will allow your child's body to get used to a certain sleeping pattern, even when you aren't at home. The National Sleep Foundation recommends parents start winding down after dinner, keeping activity, noise, and light to a minimum. Additionally, it helps to do most of your bedtime prep in your child's bedroom, so that he can get comfortable with the idea of sleeping there.
Unless they're totally pooped, you may never get your child to fall asleep without a little bit of a fight, but adding a simple routine, like one of the ones listed below, can make life a little bit easier for moms and dads. And at the end of the day, that's all we really want, right?
1. Read A Story
One of my favorite ways to end the day is snuggled up in bed with my kids and a good book. According to WebMD, a bedtime story is a great calming activity and can help make the transition to Dreamland a little easier.
2. Give Them A Bath
What's not to love about a nice, soothing bath? Baby Center recommends a warm bath as a way to get your child ready for bedtime. Let her totally bliss out by adding toddler-safe bubble bath to the water. Just be sure to keep an eye on your child at all times to ensure her safety.
3. Choose PJs
Allowing your child to choose her pajamas is a great way to let your little one exercise her independence, as What to Expect recommended. Give her a choice of two (more than that might be a bit overwhelming) sets of comfy pajamas that feature her favorite characters or colors. You can even make a game out of getting dressed before the end of a song.
4. Choose A Nighttime Companion
Being left in a room alone in the dark can be scary for kids, so give them a lovie that will keep him company while he sleeps. Allowing him to choose the one he wants will empower him and make him feel more secure.
5. Play Some Tunes
Set the scene for sleep by eliminating any distracting noises that may keep your child awake. Soothing lullabies or classical music can help create a peaceful environment for your child at bedtime, Baby Center suggested.
6. Keep The Time Consistent
As mentioned in Parents, keeping bedtime the same each night can help your child's body adjust to going to sleep on its own. As they learn to tell time, keeping bedtime the same will also help them anticipate what is to come.
7. Give A Warning
As it gets closer to your child's designated bedtime, it can help to give him a warning that his playtime is almost over. As Parents suggests, use a timer, bell, or other impartial indicator that will signal to your child it's time to go to sleep.
8. Have A Snack
As What to Expect recommends, a small, healthy snack to keep kids from getting hungry during the night. Limit the choices to things like cheese, yogurt, or some fruit-sweetened snack, and keep the portions small. Just be sure to serve something that's low in sugar to prevent him from being too wired during the night.
9. Stretch It Out
Among it's many benefits, yoga can allow your children to release the stress of their day. As Parenting suggests, doing a few deep breathing exercises and simple stretches with your child at the end of the day is a great way for both of you to relax.
10. Use Their Imagination
If your child has trouble falling asleep on his own, teach him to use his imagination to visualize pleasant activities such as playing at the beach or taking a walk, suggests family therapist, Kim West.
11. Give Them A Little Light
Fear of the dark is a constant battle in my house at bedtime. Little ones are often insecure about what is happening around them when they can't see. On her website, Supernanny suggests using a nightlight to help eliminate fears of the dark.