Proper sleep, in the right amount, is a necessity for our children. Without it they become irritable, cranky, less able to fight off illness. One thing we learned early in our parenthood is: sleep begets sleep. That’s right. A well rested child is much easier to put to sleep than one that is over-tired. It’s the same way with adults too. We can get to the point where we’re exhausted, and just can’t drift off.
With our kids, there are a number of things that can form easy routines. Routines that will help foster a positive environment for sweet slumber. Without a routine, bed-time can be one of the biggest struggles we face.
Have a period of time before bed-time which your children spend without involving technology. TV, computers, smart phones, all can interfere with the brain’s ability to “turn off” for the night. Try cutting technology out 1.5 to two hours before lights out.
Children, especially little children, really thrive with routine and consistency. This goes for bed-time as well. Set a realistic time, and stick to it every night. Even on week-ends if at all possible. Work back-wards from this time to come up with the daily bed-time routine for your family.
Give a Heads-Up
Just as we don’t enjoy unexpectedly being jolted from something we are doing and completely focussed on, neither do our children. Especially when caught up in their worlds of make-believe. Try to give at least a 30 minute warning so that they are not caught of guard. This will help lessen any resistance to giving up their favourite activity.
I always find it nice to go to bed knowing that I’ll come down in the morning to a clean kitchen. It’s one of the main reasons I take the time to tidy it before turning in for the night. If time is taken to tidy play areas, there will be a whole new world of adventure and imagination to discover come daylight! Also, it will signal the beginning of bed-time.
Try giving a warm bath, perhaps with a drop of lavender essential oil. Lavender is relaxing and calming, and helps the mind to transition to sleep. Allowing your child to pick out their own PJ’s, a short story and have a small drink of water, will help them to feel like they have some control over bed-time.
Tucking in with a favourite comfort toy or blanket, making sure the room is as dark as possible, and keeping it a little cool will help your child enter dreamland even more peacefully. Sweet dreams!