How do your end your days – are bedtimes for your children smooth or rough?
Instead of ending the day in a calming and relaxing manner, many parents struggle with bedtime battles that can last for hours before a baby finally falls asleep.
Fortunately, there are many things you can do to end these bedtime battles once and for all and take back bedtime control.
1. Set an age-appropriate bedtime and be consistent with this set bedtime.
We all should go to sleep and wake up at approximately the same time every day.
Children aged 4 months to 6 years need 11-12 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night.
Children aged 7-12 years require 10-11 hours of sleep.
Teenagers need 9-10 hours of sleep at night.
Find out what time your child tends to wake in the morning and count backwards to determine what time your child needs to fall asleep.
2. Make sure the hour before bedtime, if not longer, is slow downtime.
After supper is a good time to start slowing down any stimulating activities such as rough and tumble play.
You should also dim the lights, put on soothing music, and switch off all screens.
3. Be prepared for bedtime.
Before you start the sleep routine, ensure you have everything you will need for bedtime and sleep ready and waiting inside your child’s room.
You don’t want to have to leave your child’s bedroom once you have begun the bedtime routine.
4. Create a brief, consistent and non-stimulating bedtime routine.
Children thrive on consistency, so having a consistent bedtime routine is vital.
Consistency allows children to know what is going to come next during bedtime and this helps lower their bedtime anxiety and creates a feeling of control.
A bedtime routine can consist of books, a song, and some special cuddle time.
5. Start the bedtime routine early enough so that your child has time to fall asleep before becoming overly tired.
Children’s bedtime routines should not be longer than 15 minutes.
Once you have figured out the time your child needs to fall asleep, work backwards to figure out what time you need to start the bedtime routine so that your child is not trying to fall asleep once their body has already become overtired.
You want to allow enough time for the routine and for your child to slowly and peacefully drift off to sleep.
As with any childhood sleep issues, consistency is key.
If you remain 100% consistent and committed to reducing and finally eliminating the bedtime battles while respecting age-appropriate bedtime schedules and routines, you will have control of bedtime and be well on your way to raising a great sleeper!