Getting good sleep is very important for the healthy growth of your child’s physical and mental development. That is why it is beneficial to encourage and establish good sleeping habits for your children.
Routine and Familiarity – Kids thrive on routine. Knowing what comes next makes them feel safe and comfortable. It also makes our job as parents a little easier because they begin to know what comes next without you even saying it!
Come up with your game plan – Plan what your strategy is going to be and what the routine will look like. For kids who are old enough to understand, explain the steps of what their bedtime routine is going to be. Make it sound fun, this is going to be something that you do together.
For smaller kids, sometimes it helps to make pictures or a booklet of each step. You can even take photos of their evening snack, bath time, brushing teeth, etc. This will make it more exciting and show them visually what comes next. During the daytime, have your child organize the pictures in the proper order so that they are prepared when it comes to that time.
Stay consistent – Have a certain bedtime that you stick to. Let your child know what time that is, and show them on the clock (this will also help with learning numbers and telling time). Also, give them a 10 minute warning time, so that they know their bedtime routine is approaching.
Agree with your partner on your child’s routine, so you can be consistent no matter who’s turn it is to put them to sleep. It is good to switch up the turns while keeping the same routine. This way they don’t get attached to only one person, and you will not have an issue if someone is away or a babysitter has to put them to bed.
Enjoy it but do not prolong it – 30 minutes is a good total time for the routine (not including their bath). Let them get their PJs on, brush their teeth, get their security item (stuffie, blanket), etc.
I like to let them choose a bedtime story and then have a little chat afterwards (and sometimes throughout). When the routine is done, stick to it. Do not agree to “ok one more time,” or “10 more minutes.” When time is up, time is up……
If my son chooses one of the My Custom Kids Books personalized stories, after I’ve already kissed him goodnight, I let him look through it once more by himself to find all the hidden turtles. He used to always choose the personalized ABC book. The rule would be that he can look through it only once, name any letters he could remember, and find the turtles. Then he’d put it aside and lie down and close his eyes.
You’ll find that over time, the bedtime routine should become easier and easier.
And then it’s Mommy’s time for rest….phew!