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As parents we all know that the amount of sleep children get is really important. If they are tired after a bad night’s sleep, it can not only affect their mood, but also their concentration levels throughout the day. As adults, we know how much we need sleep, but children can need a little more encouragement to ensure they get the amount they need and a restful night’s sleep.
However, it isn’t something you can necessarily teach, and simply telling your child to sleep better is just not going to cut it. You need to help them develop good bedtime habits, much like you would yourself if you were struggling to sleep at night. It isn’t difficult, and as long as you accept that it takes consistency and time, you will be able to help your child improve their sleep, sleep through the night, and develop good bedtime habits. So if this is something you are struggling with, then rest assured as here are some tips and tricks for you to consider.
Tips To Help Develop Good Bedtime Habits
Make sure the bedroom is dark and quiet
One of the first things you can think about is the bedroom environment. The bedroom in which they sleep needs to be quiet and also dark. The darker it is, the better they will be able to relax. So it may be time to consider something different on the window like new curtains or even blinds.
As we enter summer, now more than ever it can be hard to help children realise that it is bedtime, because it is so light outside. A darker environment in the bedroom will help your child to relax and associate the time with sleep. It is all about creating a relaxing and warm environment, and if you can do that, you are on your way to ensuring that your little one has a good night’s sleep.
Consider the bedtime routine
The next thing to think about is the bedtime routine and how you can instil good bedtime habits. This starts from bath time and how you act all the way through to the time you want your little ones to go to bed. The routine can differ, and just do what feels right for you and your little ones. But the best advice would be to follow a bath, warm drink, read a book and then bedtime sort of routine. It helps your child appreciate what is coming next, and also relax into the evening, which in turn should help them rest when the time comes for going to sleep. Here are some of the factors to consider.
The bath time routine
Not all people want to introduce a bath before bed, as some may not even use the bath each day. But the bathtime element can be a great starting point for the bedtime routine. It is a warming and relaxing environment, and it can also be one more element of stimulation through water play before bed.
Warm drink and snack
It might be that you want to encourage a warm drink. Babies and toddlers will likely have milk before bed, but it doesn’t need to be something you stop as your child gets older. Many children still enjoy a warm cup of milk, or perhaps a decaffeinated tea or hot chocolate. This could also be a good time to enjoy a book, either reading to your child or letting them read unaided for a few minutes.
Encourage good habits and learning through play
It may sound controversial, but encouraging good habits and learning them through play can help when it comes to bedtime. Role-play is a great way to introduce new habits and routines, and this can work well for bedtime. Your child may have dolls, or perhaps introducing something like a Baby Annabell and helping your child to p[ut their baby to sleep at night. They can learn about having a warm drink, the bath time routine perhaps, and even settling to bed at night. Role-play can help to teach valuable habits in other ways, and this could be a great way to cement the need for good sleep.
Work out any issues they may be having with sleep
Do you find you are faced with the same reasons and excuses as to why your little one won’t sleep? You are not alone. Many parents state that the common reasons or excuses they are faced with are things like needing the toilet, wanting a drink, or feeling hungry. If you are regularly presented with these excuses or reasons try and nip them in the bud before bed and incorporate them into your new routine. A toilet visit, a drink before bed, and a snack before bed maybe. This way, you can then reason with your little ones before it becomes a habit or a consistent thing for them to do.
There is no denying that the more consistent you are, the more habits will be developed. Make sure you stick with times, and the things that you encourage at bedtime. The earlier you start a routine with your child, the more it will be cemented into their mind as they get older. But it doesn’t mean to say that if you have an older child where a bedtime routine has never been fully established before can’t still develop good habits at night. Consistency with timings, what you do and encourage, can help your child to create the habits you are wanting for a decent bedtime and, of course, a better night’s sleep for all.
Keep it positive
Finally, try and keep the whole bedtime experience a positive one. It can be easy to get frustrated, angry, or upset when your children are misbehaving or not doing what you would like. But avoid those heated emotions and remain calm. The best advice is to keep up with the same routine and use positive reinforcement.
Let’s hope that these tips help you when it comes to encouraging your little ones to sleep better and develop good bedtime habits.
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