3 great tips for getting your child to go to bed peacefully
Merely mentioning bedtime can trigger a meltdown punctuated by flowing tears and ear-piercing screams. Such a constant struggle to get children to sleep can wear down even the best parent, but following these tips can help you banish the bedtime blues and ensure everyone in your house gets some rest.
Set a regular bedtime
Kids thrive when kept on a regular schedule, so put your little one to bed at the same time every night. Make that bedtime nonnegotiable and do not vary bedtimes from day to day according to your after-dinner schedule or convenience. Sticking to a set sleep-wake cycle sets a kid’s internal clock, meaning your son or daughter begins entering his or her sleep mode predictably. Even if your child still puts up a little fight every now and then, he or she will only be able to keep those drooping eyelids open for so long. Kids with unregulated circadian rhythms are most likely to resist going to bed and falling asleep because they have not learned to listen to their own bodies about when to rest.
Kids often resist bedtime because it signals the end of playtime. If they learn to associate getting ready to go to sleep with enjoyable activities, however, they may be more likely to go to bed. Like adults, children are creatures of habit, so couple pleasant routines to your kid’s firm bedtime. Encourage him or her to wind down for an hour or so before going to sleep. Taking a warm bath raises, then slowly lowers, their body temperatures, which jumpstarts the sleep cycle. Eating a small dairy-based snack such as yogurt or string cheese promotes drowsiness by calming the digestive tract and nervous system. After tooth-brushing, engage your child in a quiet activity like reading a favorite book.
Create an environment conducive to sleep
Set a bedtime atmosphere by turning off or dimming most of the lights in your house because being exposed to too much artificial light can trick the brain into thinking that it is daytime. Then begin announcing a “bedtime countdown” in a calm voice. Start at 30 minutes before your little one goes to sleep, and issue gentle reminders at the 20-minute and 10-minute marks. Playing soft, soothing music can also help your child relax. Using these techniques keeps your child’s mind focused on getting into bed and falling asleep while also maintaining a peaceful vibe that diminishes the chance of a bedtime blowup.