Our Top 5 Tips To Get The Kids To Sleep
Ahh, bedtime. Once the kids are in bed, you get to have that much needed ‘me-time’ (or, more accurately, time to fold laundry, or clean up dinner). No matter what you spend the time doing, the few hours between getting the kids to sleep, and crashing out yourself, become a pretty important part of the day to keep the house running. That being said, we all know the absolute hell it can become when your kiddos just won’t budge. They’re not tired, they’re still hungry, “just five more minutes”, regardless of the excuse, and as much as you love them, in those moments, you could tear your hair out! So, to reduce the stress of bedtime, we’ve put together the top five tips for getting the tykes to bed, and asleep.
Wind Down Routine
Structure is one of the best things you could do for your little one. Giving your kids a bedtime routine allows for them to get into the habit of winding down for bed, and getting sleepy around the same time every night. So, a few hours before you’d ideally like the tots in their cots, start winding down. There’s a lot of ways to help your kids realise it’s time for bed, start off with a bath, dry them off, put them in their PJ’s, and from there, choose a few things that your kids can help you do to get them ready for bed. This could be closing the blinds, choosing a story to hear, or even just saying goodnight to everyone. Once your kids get into the habit of performing this routine every evening, they’ll be able to transition into putting themselves to sleep when they’re older.
Avoid Using Bedtime as Punishment
We’ve all been there. The kids just won’t calm down, they’ve had a bad day, you’ve had a bad day, and the naughty corner just isn’t cutting it anymore. It’s unbelievably tempting to just send the brat that has all of a sudden taken over your child to bed! We hate to break it to you though, you must avoid using bedtime as a punishment at all costs. If one night bedtime is the outcome of bad behaviour, and the next, you’re trying to convince the kids that it’s fun (for you at least), it just won’t work. Bedtime will become much easier if your child knows it’s a time to unwind, relax and get rested for the next big day of adventures. Make sure that in your household, sleep is something fun and good, not a punishment.
Power is an important dynamic to take notice of in your relationship with your child. If they have a sense of control, and choice, they’ll be more at ease with letting you help with decision making. So, for the sake of bedtime, let them make the little decisions, so that you can make the big ones. If you want them in bed by 7, let them choose their pyjamas at 6:30. If your bub is actively involved in their bedtime routine, they’ll feel in control, and happier to go to bed!
Lots of kids ask for bedtime snacks, and we get it, as an adult, we’re told we shouldn’t eat right before bed, or past a certain time (or whatever the new trend is), but it might be the one thing your bubs is missing from their bedtime routine! Night time snacks can actually help your child get to sleep, if chosen correctly. Things like dairy products, nut butters and whole grains can actually enhance your bubs sleep, and help them sleep deeper, ultimately resulting in you getting that much needed extra hour in bed.
Tire Them Out
We hear it all the time “but, I’m not tired!”. Your kids might have a fair point – maybe they didn’t tire themselves out today, and little bodies have big energy! If your kids often complain about not being tired, it might do wonders to get them into a sport, or increase the amount of time that they have to run around and be active. If your child is old enough to be in a sports time, enrol them (this also does great things for their ability to follow routines – like the bedtime one we mentioned!).
Next time bubs just won’t close their eyes, try a few of these things to help them. Make sure bedtime is always a relaxing, and good things in your child’s eyes, so that you can get the shut eye you desperately need (and deserve) as well!