Whether you are two or twenty, getting to bed and getting to sleep can prove to be a challenge. In some cases, the battle occurs when your child simply cannot bear to miss one moment of potential wakefulness. Admit it- this keeps you up some nights, too. Sometimes the problem is that you do everything right beforehand, but when you get there you just can't sleep.
There's too much still going on in your head. Again, this issue strikes at both children and adults; there is a simple solution to bedtime issues for all of us. The key to getting to bed and then being ready to sleep when you get there is to learn to send your body the proper bedtime signals.
Why is A Bedtime Routine So Important?
A bedtime routine is the best way to train someone's mind and body to be prepared to sleep at the appropriate time each night. With children, this is especially necessary since they often will resist the idea of going to bed once they are old enough to regulate their own sleep patterns. Still, we all crave the structure that a little routine provides.
If you have trouble getting enough sleep, a proper bedtime routine can be as helpful to you as it is for your child. Your child needs you to set the bedtime routine because they are unlikely to come up with a functional routine on their own. If you do put one in place, however, you will be able to streamline the process of getting your child into bed and off to sleep. It works well from a disciplinary perspective as well as a physiological one.
How Do You Make A Bedtime Routine?
Creating a bedtime routine is a simple matter of designing a schedule and sticking to it.
First, set a bedtime and try to adhere to it no matter what else may happen each day. A regular bedtime trains the body's inner rhythms to expect sleep at a certain time and in a certain quantity.
Next, plan the activities that will fill the hour or so before bed and comprise the routine itself. These activities should be soothing rather than stimulating to either the mind or the body. Therefore, you should avoid things like rough housing and other physical activities, as well as television and computer time. Instead try prayer, a hot bath or shower, or a bedtime story or book. This can also act as an important source of quality time between you and your child.
In fact, you will both come to know the routine and look forward to it. You may even find yourselves planning for it by picking a special book out. Once you have determined a routine, try not to deviate from it too much. Your child may attempt to test you by asking for extra time or activities. If you are not consistent with them, then the routine will be useless. Once you both have the routine established, however, it will tend to go smoothly and bedtime will become better for child and parent.
Other Tips For Establishing A Bedtime Routine
Establishing a bedtime routine with a young child can feel like a headache at first, especially if they're used to being able to do whatever they want before bed. With a little time and persistence, your child will get used to it and the complaining should die down. It's a good idea to start a routine over the weekend, so your child has a couple of days to begin adjusting to it before they go back to school or daycare.
When forming your child's routine, don't forget to include time for them to get ready. Don't let your child determine how long they need to get ready for bed; if you do, they'll take as long as possible so they don't have to go to sleep! Instead, give your child a set amount of time to get ready. Give them enough time so they don't have to rush, but not so much time that their bedtime is delayed.
It's a good idea to have your child get ready for bed before doing their final, wind-down activity. That way, they can go right to sleep after that activity concludes. Being in their pajamas will also help encourage a child's mind to begin relaxing and transitioning into sleep.
Make sure your child's bedroom is suitable for good sleep. If there is a large amount of light coming in through their window, consider investing in blackout curtains to help. If noise is an issue, talk to your child and see if it is making it hard for them to sleep. If so, consider getting them some earplugs. Some children may not like the sensation of wearing earplugs, so your experience may vary. You can also consider putting on some soft music or white noise to help lull your child to sleep.
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