Advice For Parents

How To Make Bedtime Easier For Kids and Parents

February 24, 2021   By Jennifer Cook

Parents know best how sweet sleep can be since they miss so much of it when raising kids. If only they could get the kind of quality sleep that they need. 

Meanwhile, young kids wage bedtime battles every night, desperate to stay awake and do what they want. If only kids could understand that they need good sleep and enough of it. How can the whole family rest well now?

Our team at Ecosa understands how stressful and difficult it can be. It’s likely your child may be struggling in their own way too. The best way to counteract these sleep issues is to develop or refine your child’s bedtime routine.

Bedtime Routines Encourage Good Sleep Habits

Parents and children can enjoy better sleep if they establish a regular bedtime routine. A nightly routine helps to wind both bodies and minds down for rest, leading to a more refreshing sleep. The following day, you and your kids will feel refreshed and ready to tackle the day ahead.

“Why are you still up?”

First things first, before introducing a new routine, you need to be in the right mindset. All parents would know how much patience is necessary when introducing something new to kids. Introducing new sleep patterns will need even more patience. A child’s sleep problems vary, so you might want to work with a pediatric expert to develop a good bedtime routine.

“I can’t sleep.”

This is a common complaint from kids, so you need to understand why your child falls asleep later than you. Your child might feel anxious or worried about something or stalling because they want to spend time with you.

Try talking to them about it and getting them to tell you what has been running through their heads. Depending on their age, it could be school related, especially with preschoolers. Younger children often have nighttime fears, especially when they have just started sleeping in their own beds. Older kids aren’t immune to this too.

It’s never too early to care about your child’s needs, particularly with their mental health. It won’t hurt to consult a pediatrician to help your younger kids get enough sleep.

At other times, your child can easily fall asleep but just as quickly wake up in the middle of the night. Nightmares and bedwetting are common causes of waking up. Spend time with your kid to calm them down, change the sheets if needed, and make them feel safe and secure until sleep takes over again. This is an inevitable part of sleep training; it pays to help them understand and work through this phase.

“I’m not tired.”

Another reason your little one is up is that they want more playtime or screen time. They could have napped for too long during the day, meaning they want to stay up later and are still wide awake. Of course, some kids are simply stubborn, and you may have to teach them self-control.

Sometimes, this isn’t about playing more video games. Kids start throwing tantrums when they’re little more than a year old, which might be because they’re frustrated and can’t tell you what’s on their minds.

How Parents and Children Can Have a Good Night

These may be the most common reasons why children struggle to sleep at night, but other causes can affect your child’s bedtime routine. Whatever the case, it’s best to get parenting tips from professionals before doing anything too drastic.

Start with the Daytime Routine

Children, much like adults, have their own schedules during the day. Kids play, learn, explore, and they nap. Parents know their children’s routines by heart, but you might have to pay closer attention to their napping or energy levels.

Younger children need as much sleep as they can get during the day by napping and at night. Older children need rest too, but they no longer need naps when they are school-age.

Consider Their Sleep Space

Once you’ve monitored your child’s daytime routine, you can now think about their bedroom. Kids of all ages may feel scared, worried, or anxious about something such as the dark, a storm, or an unpleasant experience. They might also wake up through the night due to a nightmare.

Talk to them about their fears and be there to reassure them that everything is okay. Leaving a light night on can appease their anxieties and creates a safe and comforting space in their bedroom. 

Wearing out energetic kids through play and activities is a great way to prepare them for a deep night’s sleep. To further pull the child to sleep, you can make it a rule not to use electronic gadgets in the bedroom. Blue light from smartphones, tablets, computers, and game consoles will keep a child’s mind awake for hours.

Address the Cause of Sleep Problems

After you have optimised your child’s room for sleep, you can now move on to the main event: the bedtime routine. Whether fears, pent-up energy, or stubbornness are keeping your child awake, a bedtime routine can lessen the number of battles you have to fight on a nightly basis.

You can begin by setting a reasonable time for lights out. From that time, wind back an hour or an hour and a half to find your children’s prep period for bed. Do the showers or baths, brushing teeth and bedtime stories during this time. Depending on their age, you can sing them a song to get them to sleep or simply talk to them and enjoy each other’s company.

You can even cuddle up if your child is open to that. Cuddling may bring even more comfort and relaxation to a young child. When you decide to leave, you can replace your body with a stuffed animal. Your child will still have something to hold on to them and feel safe.

Take Steps from Morning until Evening for Better Sleep

By monitoring daytime napping, optimising the bedroom, and creating a routine for your child to follow, you will be able to address most, if not all, of the reasons which keep your child up at night. You can then have the rest you have always sought as a parent, and your child can sleep soundly at the right time.

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