One of the hardest jobs of a parent is getting a child to sleep at the appropriate time. For some, it is a constant nighttime battle that leaves both the parent and child sleep-deprived. The following tips can help parents create a simple bedtime routine that will make nighttime a peaceful time in the home.
Decide on a time that will ensure your child gets enough sleep. Depending upon the age of the child, most children need at least 10-12 hours of sleep. In addition to setting a bedtime, parents should decide when to implement the new routine. Implementing a new routine when there are hectic schedules, impending travels, or other distractions may not be the best idea.
Create a Ritual
Come up with some signals for your child that indicates it is time for bed. This could include a bath, putting play things away, or turning off the television and unnecessary lights. The point is to help the child relax and decompress from all of the stimuli throughout the day.
Prepare for Battle
At first, some kids will put up resistance to the new routine. Parents must try to remain calm, speak gently, but firmly to children who put up resistance. Losing your temper will do more harm than good. Do not give in to attempts to delay bedtime.
Make Bedtime Appealing
Sometimes kids avoid bedtime because they think they are missing out on something. Try to make going to bed more appealing by doing special activities with them that is only offered at bedtime. Ideas include, having a special bedtime storybook selection, singing lullabies, or quiet games. Do not allow any distractions to interfere during this time.
Children thrive on consistency. Parents must be willing to stick with the routine for however long is necessary. While there may be a need for minor adjustments and flexibility in the routine, consistency is key to making it work.
Other ideas that are helpful in creating a bedtime routine is involving both parents in the implementation. Parents should work together in creating rituals and activities that will help the child prepare for bed.