Putting your child to bed can be challenging, especially if you aren’t sure what you’re doing.
Don’t worry. There are several things you can do that will make you and your child’s evening smoother, easier, and healthier.
It all comes down to creating the right bedtime routine.
Check out these five tips that will help you put your child to bed every night.
1. Create a Bedtime Routine (And Stick with It!)
Routines are very important for children. The right routine before bed improves sleep in children that have trouble staying in bed.
There isn’t a single routine that works for every kid, but it should include the things your child needs to do before going to sleep. This means brushing their teeth, putting on their PJs, eating a snack, and reading a bedtime story.
Find something that works for your family and stick to it, but don’t make it any longer than 30 minutes. If taking a bath is something your children do before bed, the routine can be a little longer.
2. Bedtime Snacks
Kids need more than three meals a day to have energy and stay healthy, so a snack before bedtime isn’t a bad idea. Eating something will help them stay content during the night. They won’t be waking you up at midnight if they get hungry.
The snack shouldn’t be too filling. A full stomach can make it harder for children to fall asleep. Stick with options like fruit, crackers, or cereal.
3. Set Up a Good Sleep Environment
The room shouldn’t be too hot or cold. This plays a part in how you dress your child for bed. Don’t let them sleep in long pants or shirts during the summer or shorts during the winter.
The room should also be dark. If the dark scares your child, turn on a night light or leave the bedroom door open and the hall light on.
4. Security Item
Going to bed means being separated from the parents. It can be scary for a child to feel alone.
Kids that struggle with separation anxiety can fall asleep easier with a security item, like a doll, stuffed toy, blanket, etc. This item will comfort them and gives them a sense of control.
5. Don’t Fall for the “One Last Thing”
At the end of the bedtime routine, right before you’re about to leave the room, your child might ask for a drink of water or one more story. You shouldn’t give in to these requests.
Instead, add things like this into the normal bedtime routine, and make it clear that when your child goes to bed they need to stay there.
If you give in to these requests, the entire routine you’ve set up can come undone.
My Child Still Won’t Sleep…
If you’ve tried these things, and other things, and your child still has trouble falling asleep at night, you may want to schedule an appointment with your doctor.
Sleeping problems in children could stem from anxiety or even 18-month old sleep regression.
Be Clear and Firm About Bedtime
Bedtime is bedtime, so make sure your child knows this. If they come out of the room when they are supposed to be in bed, don’t react to them. Just take them by the hand and put them back in bed without saying anything.
If you argue with them, you are only delaying bedtime, which is what they want.
Once you get the kids to sleep, make sure you try some of these amazing sleep solutions to give yourself a good night’s rest as well.