Do you want a well-rested family and a peaceful night sleep? Find out how other parents get their little ones to bed on time.
Kids will be kids and getting them to sleep when you want isn’t easy. Hang in there. Before you let them rule the roost, try to reclaim your night with a few of these sanity-saving ideas and make sure everyone goes to bed happy, without arguments.
1. Take it slow
Don’t rush your routine as it can ruin your chances of an easy night. If you tell your children it’s five minutes till bedtime rather than just “It’s time for bed”, you can then take your time getting ready together. By calmly doing the same things in the same order you always do, night after night it puts the kids in a routine which will make them go to sleep easier. Remind your children what you expect them to do next, every step of the way.
2. Time it right
Trust us, your kid’s body clock will make them feel sleepy right on time when you send them to bed at the same hour, every night. For children up to five years old, this should be from 7pm or 7.30pm. Or from 8pm to 9pm, when they’re age 10 to 12 years old.
3. Make bedtime a treat
Try being creative and give them a real reason to look forward to bedtime. When children don't get enough sleep, they have a harder time controlling their emotions. They can get irritable or hyper right at bedtime making it a struggle to get them to sleep. Being creative at bedtime can be as simple as letting them have a teddy who only comes out at night, or wearing pyjamas they picked themselves. A football-themed bedframe for your budding Beckham or a pink four-poster fit for a princess. Ban boring bedtimes and not only will they be excited to sleep, they’ll want to do it in their bed, not yours.
4. Get stretchy together
You don’t need to be a yoga-mummy to teach your kids to tune into their body and mind, ready for sleep. Get a copy of Good Night Yoga: a pose-by-pose bedtime story by Mariam Gates. Take deep calming breaths. And start pulling simple shapes, such as Sun Breath or Clouds Gathering.
5. Snaffle some sleep snacks
Is their tummy rumbling? Feed them up to 45 minutes before lights out, but no later. Wholegrain toast, an apple or crackers won’t give them a burst of energy. Remember sweets and sugary drinks should be avoided unless you want them to be bouncing off the walls!
6. Switch your screens off
Help your kids get enough melatonin (the hormone which makes them sleepy) by turning off your iPad, TVs and tech an hour before bed. Unwind the mindful way with reading books, playing with jigsaws, colouring in or building with bricks instead.
7. Read about real heroes
Are two of the most inspiring kid's books missing from their bedside table? Dim your bedroom lights, curl up together and read Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls or Stories For Boys Who Dare To Be Different. Both offer your youngster 100 new role models to look up to, so read a few pages and remind your children they can achieve anything after a good night’s sleep.
8. Tell them to rub their ears
Still not sleeping? Show them how to stimulate their Shen Men – the acupressure point in your ear. Tell them to copy you when you feel for the hollow at the top of your ear and rub both sides of your head at the same time. Or press the space between your eyebrows for a minute for a similar effect.
9. Say goodnight twice
Relax your anxious child by telling them you’ll check up on them. Say goodnight and tell them you’ll be back in fifteen minutes to say it again. Delay your second visit a little longer each night. And soon enough, they’ll be asleep before you come.
10. Give gold stars
Little ones love a sticker chart. Reward a good night’s sleep with a gold star and when they get seven in a row, give them a special treat such as five extra minutes of fun time or play a game together in the morning.
11. Get a mattress that suits your child-not you
When buying a mattress for your child remember they are the ones sleeping on it and it’ll last until they’re ten or eleven. A strong mattress will last longer and be of benefit to a growing child’s posture so spend as much as you can comfortably on a firm one and give their growing body proper support when they sleep. If you purchase an unsuitable mattress they could suffer back problems, aches and pains as adults. Find a hypoallergenic mattress if your child has allergies like eczema or asthma to relieve any problems they may have at bedtime.
12. Listen to their stories
Help them go to sleep on a positive note. Ease their worries. Reassure them of your love. Encourage them to tell you about their day and tell them one thing they did which pleased you to ease. Then kiss, cuddle, lights out.