Bedtime is often a constant battle for parents of small children. For some reason, kids think the house transforms into some kind of magical amusement park for parents after they're asleep, and they don't want to miss out on any of the fun. But for weary moms and dads, all of the protesting can zap away any remaining energy you may have left at the end of the day. If you're tired of the bedtime battle, you need to find bedtime routines for parents that actually work.
They may be too young to read the clock on the wall, but children thrive on routine. Warm baths, soft music, and a transitional stuffed animal can help kids get more comfortable with the idea of going to sleep. Keeping the time and the order of your bedtime rituals consistent each day can also help them anticipate what's next and avoid a lot of unnecessary protesting. That's not to say that they won't try to ask you for an extra five minutes to say goodnight to all of their toys.
Although you're probably willing to try any and everything to get your kids off to sleep, certified sleep consultants the Sleep Sisters recommend limiting your routine to somewhere between 15 and 30 minutes, to prevent putting your little ones down to sleep too late.
Bedtime may never be easy, but trying a few of these tips can help take some of the stress out of getting your kids to sleep.
1. Take A Bath
There's nothing like a nice warm bath to get your kid ready for Dreamland. According to What to Expect, a bath can help kids relax after an active day of play.
2. Have A Snack
After going to the potty, a hungry tummy is the second most popular reason to get up during the night for my kids. According to the Baby Sleep Site, allowing your child to have a healthy snack with little sugar can help them sleep through the night.
3. Keep The Time Consistent
It's important for parents to train their kids' bodies to prepare for bedtime. As WebMD mentioned, keeping bedtime the same every day — even on weekends — can help you establish a sleep pattern.
4. Use A Transitional Object
Often, children protest bedtime because they don't want to be away from their parents. But as Parents suggested, putting your child down to sleep with a transitional object such as a favorite stuffed animal can help make bedtime a lot easier.
5. Play Soft Music
My daughter has listened to the same lullaby CD for six years, and refuses to go to sleep without it. According to Parenting, soft music, without words, can help set the mood for sleep.
6. Dim The Lights
As it gets closer to bedtime, turn the lights down low. Making the room darker can help your child get used to the idea that nighttime is for sleeping, as the American Occupational Therapy Association mentioned.
Today's kids are constantly plugged in. Television, iPads, and laptops act as stimulants and make it difficult to get kids ready for a good night's sleep. As Parenting suggested, start winding down approximately one hour before bedtime by turning off the television, computer, and other electronic devices.
8. Read A Story
Reading a bedtime story in your child's room can help set the mood and get her ready for sleep, according to What to Expect. Just try to avoid anything scary that might make her want to climb into your bed after a bad dream later.
9. Choose PJs
Letting your child choose her favorite pair of pajamas before bed can help get comfortable — and maybe even a little excited – about going to sleep, according to the Baby Sleep Site. A lightweight cotton pair is best to keep your child's body at a comfortable temperature throughout the night.