After the end of a long day, the last thing any parent wants to do is fight with their child over bedtime. But for many families, bedtime is a daily source of stress and anxiety that can escalate into a tantrum meltdown. The parents want nothing more than their child to go to bed, and the child wants nothing more than to stay awake. While in many cases, the child wins and ends up falling asleep in his parents’ arms, in their bed, or even on the floor, it doesn't have to be that way.
Here's 6 suggestions that will help parents win the bedtime battle once and for all.
1. Have a consistent bedtime routine. Have you ever noticed that a young child loves to read the same books over and over again? Children love repetition and love anticipating what comes next. The same is true with bedtime. Kids find comfort in consistent routines. When a solid bedtime routine is established, it builds feelings of comfort, safety and security in the child. Each evening, start your bedtime routine after dinner. Give your child a bath and follow it up with a quiet activity, like reading a book, together. When it's time to put your child to bed, give him a hug and a kiss before tucking him in. The more consistent your bedtime routine is, the less pushback you’ll get from your child.
2. Set the mood of the room for sleep. Babies can be lulled to sleep by the sound of a vacuum cleaner. The white noise a vacuum creates is soothing and drowns out other sounds. Same goes for older children who tend to sleep better with a constant noise in the background. Whether it's a fan or simply playing some white noise CD, having background noise helps kids fall and stay asleep. Having the room temperature set warm-ish between 68-75 (F) / 21-24 (C) can also help to make kids feel tired and fall asleep quickly.
3. Establish healthy sleep habits.. While it can be tempting to rock your baby to sleep, don't. Instead, put your baby to sleep when she's drowsy, eyelids heavy, but still awake. Doing so allows her to learn to fall asleep on her own. Many parents allow their older children to fall asleep watching television in bed. Despite the boring content on most channels these days, the rapid sequence of moving images on TV screens are actually stimulating (in terms of brain activity) and consequently make it harder to fall asleep. When kids are allowed to watch television right before bed, they have a harder time falling and staying asleep.
4. Keep kids well rested during the day. Many parents stop allowing their children to nap because they believe that if they nap during the day, they won't sleep at night. The reality is that overtired children are much harder to put to bed at night. Depriving your child of needed daytime sleep will typically make nighttime sleep worse, not better.
5. Avoid stimulating activities before bed. After work, some parents enjoy nothing more than roughhousing and wrestling with their children. When active playtime happens right before bedtime, children can get wound up and calming them down becomes problematic. For nighttime family fun, consider playing a quiet board game or reading books to/with your kids.
6. Be sure that everyone is on the page. Whether it's mom, dad, granny or nanny putting the children to bed, everyone should follow the same routine. Avoid mixed signals as a result of different routines. Children put up less of a battle when the bedtime routine and expectations are kept consistent.
By "Go Nannies"
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