Getting enough sleep is really important for children’s development and functioning. Our bodies are mechanically wired to need sleep, while we sleep our body is busy repairing and strengthening and our brain is busy processing and sorting. One key way to help children to get enough sleep is to have a good bedtime routine. A good routine leads to a good night’s sleep.
Try some of these tips to help you implement a bedtime routine for your kids:
1| Routine, routine, routine.
Routines are our body’s clue that it is time to do something, such as time for bed. Your pre-bed routine should include all the things that your child needs to do before going to sleep, including brushing teeth, putting on PJs, and having a snack or drink of water. Your child may want to read a book with you, talk about the day, or hear a story. Whatever you choose to do, keep the routine the same every night and be firm about ending it when it’s time to sleep
2| Have an environment that promotes sleep.
Make sure the bedroom is dark and quiet and the noise level in the house is low. You might have a linen spray or use essential oils that are calming or perhaps you use a white noise machine that cues ‘sleep time’ in the environment.
3| Make bedtime feel safe and secure.
A lot of children fight bedtime and hate going to sleep because they dislike separation. Bedtime means separation. Make separation easier for kids with a special personal object, like a teddy bear, or blanket. It can provide a sense of security and control that comforts and reassures your child.
4| Be consistent.
Our body works like a clock and gets used to doing things at set times. Choose a bedtime and stick with it. Your child’s body will get used to knowing that at 7pm (for example), it’s time to sleep and will start to do its own bedtime routine and make your child feel tired around that time.
5| Have a warm bath before bed.
The temperature and warmth of the bath will help to relax your child and help them to feel cozy and warm, ready to snuggle in for the night. It is also crucial to maintain hygiene as part of your everyday routines.