Screaming children, frustrated parents, anger and tension everywhere. This is a reality for many parents as the time draws closer for bedtime. What should be a relaxing and fun time of day turns into a nightmare, something that is dreaded from the moment parents wake up the next morning.
If you find yourself in this situation, itâs time to step back and look at the way bedtime is done in your home. Changing one or two aspects of this nightly routine can do wonders for you and your children. Turn this nightly struggle into a way to bond with your kids, giving both you and your kids some much needed sleep.
1. Set A Bedtime and Stick to it
Seems reasonable, even easy. But like most parenting tips and tricks, it’s easier said than done. However, this is one of the most important things you can do to help bedtime run smoothly. When there is no set bedtime, chaos can ensue. Kids do well with routine, when they know what to expect and when to expect it. It is also a statement of your authority as a parent
. When there is no bedtime, or if bedtime is whenever the kids fall asleep, it says that you have little authority. Kids will take that idea and run wild with it. Set a reasonable bedtime and stick to it no matter what.
2. Make a Bedtime Routine
Having a set routine before bed can help kids wind down, making sleep
a more achievable goal. Be sure to only include calming activities for their bedtime routine
. Starting with a bath can help them expend some energy, brushing teeth, go potty
, then move into a nighttime story, lullaby, or just some quiet conversation. Keep it peaceful and allow them to wind down.
3. Avoid TV
It seems like letting your kids sit quietly with cartoons on would be calming. In reality, TV can be very stimulating. They may be sitting quietly, but their minds are in overdrive as they follow the story that is filled with bright colors and lots of movement. There’s nothing wrong with a little TV before your nighttime
routine begins, but once you start the routine keep the TV off. Try reading a story to them instead. This can give them the relaxation they need and gives them the attention from you they crave.
4. Tickle Fests and Wrestling MatchesThey are a lot of fun for everyone, but hold off on these events once you start the bedtime routine. They’re too stimulating and get the adrenaline pumping which makes getting to sleep directly after nearly impossible.
5. Late Night Snacks
Avoiding late night snacks, especially sweet ones, can also help keep children calm at bedtime. Food is fuel, so avoid fueling them up right before they have to sleep
6. Keep Toys Away
Avoid stimulating bed and crib
toys for smaller children. Of course they can have a cuddle buddy if they want, but toys
that sing and light up should be kept out of the room at nighttime. These only serve to over stimulate and become an easy way for kids to put off sleep.
7. Keep CalmThe more tense you are the more tense the kids will be. If you are anxious and frustrated, the kids will see it and become just as anxious. No matter what they throw at you (literally) keep calm. Don’t match shout for scream. If you stay calm, but firm, they will calm down too.