A good night’s sleep is as significant to one’s health as a balanced meal or exercise. It is so incredibly important that frequent sleep deprivation may lead to weight gain, lack of energy, and sometimes even mind-related disorders. Hence, it is crucial as a parent to make sleep a priority for your child. Here are some of the bedtime routines that I follow at my home so that my daughter has a restful sleep.
As a parent, I understand how it is a Herculean challenge to make your child, not only go to bed but stay there as well. It’s not easy, but it is indispensable to help your child get the quality sleep they need.
Regular schedules and routines play a vital role in a trouble-free and easy bedtime. There are no hard and fast rules in parenting for bedtime routine as every child is unique and different. But what is most important is that you find out what suits you and your child and experiment with it. Make a routine for your family. Here are a few tips that worked well in preparing my daughter for bedtime.
1. Work as a Team
You must discuss with your spouse, the bedtime and wake-up time routine for the family. Make sure that you consistently follow the timing thereafter. If you are introducing the bedtime routine, then explain the new plan to your child/children if they are old enough, then add it to their daily routine chart (if they are following one). For younger kids, who still can’t read, show them a picture chart (which has actions like changing clothes, eating dinner, and going to bed).
2. A consistent Bedtime routine
Routine is a parent’s lifeline. The kids just love it and feel reassured, rested, and comfortable when they follow a set of predictable routines. As a routine, you could add washing up, changing into PJ’s, having dinner, brushing teeth, emptying the bladder, reading stories, and a small prayer before sleeping. There is no set of rigid routines for every day. Make sure that the bedtime routine is under 30 minutes. It should not be too exciting for the child, nor very elaborate. If the child gets too excited, then it will take ages for them to settle down or fall asleep.
3. Room Environment
It is the role of the parent to see that the room is soothing and inviting for sleep. Make sure the lights are dimmed or switched off (preferably at the same time every day), and the noise levels of the home are also at a minimum when you are trying to make your children go to bed. It would not help if the child sees the parents watching a movie loudly when they are asked to go to bed. In case they ask for light then, a dim light may be switched on for their comfort.
4. A security Object
Many children require a specific soft toy or their favorite blanket as a security object to fall asleep. Make sure it is always present in the room while you take your children to bed. The security object makes the child feel comfortable, secure and it reassures your child before they fall asleep.
5. No screen time – before bedtime
Research shows that the blue light emitted from TV, Phones or iPads interfere in the production of the sleep hormone ‘Melatonin’. Melatonin levels are higher when people are sleepy. Watching TV or phones before bedtime can thus keep them awake for a long time. As a rule of the thumb, turn off the TVs and phones at least 2 hours before bedtime.
One last thing, I always find the children can be tricky just before bedtime. They come up with requests for water, a snack, ask for hugs from all the family members, or sometimes they may even ask for 5 minutes extra time. Make sure you don’t give in to such requests. For, When you give in, your whole bedtime routine can be undone.
I would love to hear from you about the bedtime rituals or routines that you follow. Something that worked well for your household. Please share it with me in the comments section below. Looking forward to reading them.
You could also check out my parenting section for more tips and tricks on parenting.