One of the most important parts of anyone’s day is while they are asleep! Sleep effects behavior, mood, ability to focus, grades at school and growth. But sometimes kids don’t want to go to sleep – they don’t want to miss out on anything! Sometimes they are so tired that they even have a hard time falling asleep! You can tell that children are getting enough sleep when they fall asleep within 15 to 30 minutes of going to bed, wake up easily in the morning, and don’t fall asleep during the day. Bedtime doesn’t have to be a battle. Here are a few tips to help get the kids in bed – peacefully!
Routine. I’m sure you have heard this before but it’s true! Our night time routine is simple – dinner, movie, bath, and books in bed. We try not do drinks after dinner (or they have to be in a small juice glass) that way there aren’t any accidents or trips up and awake. (Have you ever woke up to go to the bathroom and can’t fall back asleep? Frustrating!) Knowing exactly what is going to be happening next helps in the transition from one activity to another. It also makes sure that the child knows bedtime is coming!
Books. We love to read. When Josh was younger I would read bedtime stories to him. But sometimes, after our book he would still be wide awake! Not anymore! My son actually wants to go to bed because he wants to listen to the story! See we have started audio books! Josh’s bedtime is 9:00. He gets in bed about 8:45 and we start up his CD player. I order his books from Audible and Amazon. You can sign up for a free trial of Audible – and you get 2 free book downloads! You can cancel your trial right after you download your free books! Then I just burn the downloads onto a CD.
(That’s our lava lamp! Of course we had to have a Spongebob one!)
So Josh goes to bed and we start a book. But I have another secret weapon – and don’t laugh. It’s a lava lamp. WHAT?!? Yup. Lava lamps are calming. Josh’s therapist recommended one to us a while back. They provide visual stimulation and help to keep the mind from wondering. We keep his lava lamp on his night stand so it’s close by for him to watch. (Just a note: We turn off his lava lamp as soon as he falls asleep. We don’t keep it on all night.) You see, Josh watches his lava lamp while listening to his audio book and he is relaxed and listening until he drifts off to sleep. And the next night he is excited to pick up the book where left off!
(Bedtime chart from It’s a Mom’s World)
Here are a few other things to keep in mind:
You can also try putting on some calming music.
Make sure the room is a comfortable temperature, blankets are not restrictive and that pajamas are a comfortable material.
There is always one more thing. A kiss, hug, book, bathroom trip, drink, snack – you name it. Anything to get a delayed bedtime! Do your best to anticipate the usual last minute requests by adding them to your bedtime routine. If your child gets up don’t react (I know it’s easier said than done!) If you argue or give into the requests you are giving your child the extra attention and delayed bedtime they are seeking. Don’t fall for the trick. After a few nights of your child realizing that bedtime means bedtime they will stop making their one more thing request. I promise! Consistency and routine are the secrets to winning the bedtime battle.
Do you have any bedtime routines? Does your routine contain something perhaps a little more unconventional like our lava lamp?