Below is a post from Sarah Cummings of SleepAdvisor.org. She has some excellent advise on helping your kids go to bed more easily. We all know the struggle of actually getting kids to willing go to sleep. So read on to learn how to make the transition from wake to sleep a ton easier.
Being a child can be an exhilarating, exciting time. There’s so much to learn and see and do – friends to make, wars to wage, adventures to discover – that frankly, the whole experience can be a little exhausting!
Yet still, even though your kids are running around on overdrive, giving everything 110%, 24/7… they have difficulty in falling asleep. Or staying asleep. Or basically, in getting as much rest as they so badly need.
Getting enough, good-quality sleep every night is a great habit to get your kids into, from an early age. Because, whether we’re six, sixteen or sixty, we all benefit from a healthy sleep cycle! Sleep affects our moods, our relationships, our careers, our health and our overall happiness. So it’s something we should take pretty seriously.
If your little one isn’t sleeping when they should, try these quick tricks to send them off to slumber sooner…
1. Set a bedtime…
…And stick to it! Because if your child goes to bed at 9pm one night, then 10pm the next, you simply can’t expect them to willingly sleep at 9pm again the third night, can you? At least, not without a great deal of fuss! By setting the same bedtime every night, and not wavering from it, your child will eventually realise that it’s a no-give area. They have to be in bed at that time, every night. Keep up the routine and they’ll naturally start getting sleepier towards this time, anyway. Yay!
2. Create an evening routine
It’ll be much easier for your kids to respect this bedtime if they’ve followed a certain set of steps leading up to it. After all, we all have some kind of routine in the mornings… we get up, we shower, we have breakfast, we wash our teeth and we head out the door. So why not have a routine in the evening, too? Little rituals that will remind us that bedtime isn’t far away? My recommended evening routine is this:
With one hour to go until bedtime, shut down electronic devices (more on that in a sec).
Give your kids a bath, including some calming scents like lavender if you have some.
Let them have a cup of warm milk as you read them a bedtime story, either in bed or in your favourite comfy chair. This bonding time with you will help them feel safe and secure before they drift off for the night.
3. Promote a relaxing environment
Before undertaking the steps above, make sure your child’s bedroom – and, in fact, your home – are soothing places to be. After dinner, keep lighting soft in the living room (with a dimmer switch, lamps or candles instead of harsh overhead lighting) and illuminate your child’s room with a night-light. Turn off your laptops, TVs, smartphones and tablets well in advance of bedtime; not only do they overstimulate the brain, but the blue light they emit actually blocks the body’s production of melatonin. And since we normally rely on this hormone to relax us before sleep, these screens can make your child more alert, instead of settled down.
In addition to controlling the light, pay attention to sound, too. Keep voices low and soft, avoid playing loud music and, if your children still have trouble getting to sleep, try playing white noise sounds in their room to ease them into slumber.
4. Address any fears
Our kids have very active imaginations, and sometimes we have no idea what scary things are preventing them from falling asleep. So when they try to tell us why they simply can’t stay in bed – that monster in the closet, etc – listen. Help them face their fears by addressing them in a frank and practical manner. Like saying: “Well, don’t be rude to the monster. Say goodnight, so he can sleep, too”. Make a game of it by saying goodnight to all the possible creepy things in their room and they might be able to settle down more easily.
Or you could take the “try it yourself” approach. Spend a night in their room and think of all the possible things that could be perceived as scary; that weird creaky noise, that bulky shape on the chair, etc. Then you’ll be prepared with logical answers when your child approaches you with their fears. You can calmly tell them that the noise is just the refrigerator, that the bulky shape is their clothes and so on. Once you’ve been in their shoes, their fears will be easier to understand, and address – meaning that night terrors no longer keep them lying awake.
That’s just scratching the surface of all the ways you can help your kids sleep more easily. For more in-depth advice, on sleep and everything related to it, check out the posts on the Sleep Advisor. Soon both you and your kids will be enjoying a deeper, sweeter sleep, every night of the week!
I really hope you enjoyed the insights Sarah had to offer on getting our kids to sleep. Definitely check out Sleepadvisor.org for more posts on mattresses and sleep for both adults and kids.
I also want to thank Sarah for providing this content so I can concentrate on preparing for Baby Belle. But don't fret, I'll be back soon!!