How to get your child off to sleep at a reasonable time, without tears, tantrums or stress.
Anyone who has ever tried to get a grouchy, tired child up, breakfasted and off to school or for a family day of fun through tears, tantrums and general misery will know the importance of a good sleep routine. That starts at birth and giving your child a good bedtime routine is one of the best things that you can do for them.
What a child does during the day contributes greatly to what they do a night
1. First, you have to know that the child is healthy and well-nourished. I know I lack energy when I haven’t eaten right, so will your child. Also, I can’t sleep if I’m hungry, so a small, slow release carb snack a little while before bedtime is helpful.
2. Spend time talking with your child – bring back the family dinner. That way problems are more likely to get aired and less likely to come back to haunt a child in the wee small hours when they should be sleeping peacefully.
3. Be consistent. Bedtimes can be negotiated but once a time is settled upon, it must be kept.
4. The bedtime routine should be kept, right from birth; that way children get to know when bedtime approaches, but it should be a nice, relaxing thing. The bedtime routine should be a thing to enjoy, not to fight.
5. The bedtime routine itself is important. Start about an hour before bedtime, reducing the amount of stimuli to the child’s brain so it begins to switch off. Turn off the TV and cut out overly-exciting games such as the computer. Invite the child for a cuddle when you can chat or read quietly together. This will be something to be cherished by the both of you for many years to come, believe me.
6. When it seems natural and you are both relaxed, tell the child that in 5 minutes…after this story….whatever, but set a time and stick to it, it will be bathtime. Don’t waver but try not to make it a big deal, either. Sometimes the child won’t want to bath then but remain calm and insistent. Carry them to the bathroom if needs be, but keep up the gentle, low chatter. This is not the end of the nice time with you so the child will learn not to be threatened by it, but they will also learn that you mean it. Make sure they visit the toilet.
Published in: Family