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It is very important for children to get enough sleep each night. A well-rested child is healthier, happier, and will be ready to tackle the day ahead of them. Unfortunately, it can be hard to get the kids to cooperate when bedtime rolls around. The following tips will help you get them settled down for the evening, as well as allow them to enjoy a full night’s sleep.
The Bedtime Routine
Children thrive on routine. Having structure in their life creates a safe and secure environment that they enjoy. Incorporating a routine into your evening will allow them to drift off to sleep with that same sense of security they crave. Not only will a bedtime routine relieve the children’s stress, but it will also make the parents feel more relaxed.
The bedtime routine needs to start 15 to 30 minutes before you actually want them lying down in their beds. This is when the TV, and all other electronics have to be turned off. Screens stimulate young children. They are not at all helpful when trying to get them in bed. Dim the lights, and begin speaking in softer voices. You can even try moving more slowly. It can help to have soft music playing quietly in the background.
During this period of time, you need to be encouraging them to brush their teeth, and get into their pajamas. You might choose to read a bedtime story followed by plenty of good night kisses before being tucked in. Play around with different scenarios until you find what works best for your family.
Create an Ideal Sleeping Environment.
Your child’s room needs to be an oasis where they can go to sleep. If possible, place toys in a separate area of the house. You want your little ones to associate sleep with their bedroom, not playtime. If their toys must be in the same room, make clean-up a part of the bedtime routine. Have all of their things put away in bins and closets where they won’t be tempting the kids to get out of bed.
Keep the room dark and quiet. A nightlight is perfectly acceptable, especially if they are afraid of the dark. A soft light can be comforting in these situations. Do not have a TV in their room, and make sure all video games are removed. You might find a fan helpful as it will create white noise.
Make sure their bed is comfortable to sleep in. Begin with latex mattresses that offer just the right amount of support. Use a mattress pad, and fitted sheet with a flat sheet, and comforter on top. Don’t forget cozy pillows for older children.
Choose Good Foods for a Snack.
Most children will benefit from a bedtime snack. Kids sleep better when they are not hungry. Do not serve the snack in bed, and make sure you are picking out foods that won’t keep them awake. Look for foods that are healthy, but not too filling such as fruits or crackers.
You definitely want to avoid caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant that will keep little ones wide awake. They are not healthy anyway, but if your child is hooked on caffeinated beverages, stop serving them three hours before bedtime. Switch to warm milk for a sleep-friendly alternative.
Once you have a routine bedtime in place, have created an ideal sleep environment, and know which foods are best, it will be much easier to get your children settled down for the night. Children thrive on routine. Before you know it, everyone will be feeling much more rested.