When it comes to bedtime, parents have heard it all, from “just one more story, p-l-e-a-s-e” and “I’m thirsty” to “there’s a monster under my bed!” While the excuses may change from night to night, one thing remains the same; in spite of their reluctance to give up on the day, children need a good night’s sleep.
Regular rest provides what a child’s body needs to grow and develop. A good sound night of sleep promotes alertness the next day, stimulates brain development, helps keep the immune system strong and reduces stress. However, going from playtime to bedtime can be tough for a child.
So, how can you make the nighttime transition easier? Start by trying these bedtime tips:
Be consistent. Repetition of a nightly routine helps children feel more secure. Establish a bedtime ritual and stick to it – even on the weekends. You will find that following a routine will help your child know what to expect and reduce resistance to going to bed.
Incorporate soothing activities. Include calming activities in your nighttime routine to help wind down from the day. A calming bubble bath is the perfect way for your child to relax and get clean.
Brush teeth. Brushing our teeth is an essential part of a healthy bedtime routine and signals to your child that it’s time for all snacking to cease.
Buy comfortable pajamas. Just like you, children want to be comfortable when they sleep. Choose pajamas that are seasonally appropriate and non-restrictive. If your child expresses a preference, honoring it will make getting ready for bed much easier.
Make reading a bedtime story part of the routine. Reading 20 minutes a day with your child will contribute greatly to developing your child’s reading skills, as well as their love of reading. You will also send the message that reading is fun because snuggling up to a good book can transport you both to a different world.
Have quality time. Use the end of the day as a time to relax and connect. Ask your child to tell you the story of their day and share highlights of yours. You can encourage their creativity by making your story a tall tale.
Sing a song or play some soothing music. Send your little one off to sleep with sweet lullabies, light background or classical music. Soft music can also help drown out other noises in your home, keeping your child’s sleep undisturbed.
Say goodnight. Don’t make a habit of drawing out the final goodnight – make sure the room is a comfortable temperature, turn the nightlight on and say, “Goodnight, sweet dreams, and see you in the morning.”
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