There aren't many parents who haven't had to face the bedtime blues at some point in their lives. If you have kids, you will know what we mean. Not only is it hard enough getting our kids into bed in the first place; it's also difficult trying to get them to sleep once they are finally tucked up under the blankets. With a range of hilarious bedtime excuses to counter our best efforts, we end up losing as much sleep as they do!
Still, there are a few things you can put in place to make bedtime easier. If you're currently struggling, we hope the following tidbits of advice are helpful to you.
Set a bedtime and stick to it. It's okay to be flexible with bedtimes on a weekend, especially when your kids don't have to be in school the next day, but on a weekday, you need to put rules in place. If you tell them to go to bed at a certain time, then go to bed they must. Once your children get into the habit of going to bed at the time you set, the easier your life will be.
Create a routine. Another way of getting your children into the habit of going to bed at a decent time is to create a routine. Do specific things, such as giving them a bath, or reading them a story, and they will know what is expected of them next. Playing calming music while they are in bed, or snuggling up next to them, are two other things you can add to the routine and get them off to sleep quicker.
Eliminate screen time. Research suggests that time in front of the tv or computer screen can interfere with our sleep-wake cycle, so cancel screen time at least two hours before going to bed. While your children may kick up a fuss, you could do other things with them to fill in the time before going to bed. This can include any activity that is going to tire them out, such as active play to tire them physically, or reading to relax their frenzied minds.
Create a better sleeping environment. If your child is scared of the dark, then invest in a night lamp to calm their fears. If the bedding isn't conducive to a good night's sleep, make some changes. These are the best sheets for hot sleepers, for example. If there is too much light coming in from the window, invest in some night shades. And decorate the room so your child enjoys going into the bedroom at night, perhaps with some glow in the dark stars on the ceiling, to make their sleeping space more attractive.
Don't stress out. Provided your child gets into bed, don't stress out if they don't go to sleep quickly. Give them what they need, such as a beaker of water and a book to read, and let them relax before you turn every light out. If you're constantly checking to see whether they're asleep and if you're getting angry at them because they aren't shutting their eyes, you are only going to stress them out and make getting to sleep harder to do.
While we may not have covered all bases - we're not you, and we don't know your kids - we hope some of these tips have been helpful to you. Let us know if you have any words of wisdom of your own, and give us all a hand in battling those bedtime blues.
CANDY TAI is a wife to David and mom of 5 with a degree in Communications. She's a native Texan (Hook 'Em Horns!) who's been making her home in the Kansas City metro area for nearly 15 years. She loves being able to shuffle her kids from their various sports activities, piano lessons, and school activities. She enjoys fashion, beauty, reality TV, and moviegoing.