I don’t know if anyone has mentioned this before but being a parent is tough, let alone being able to successfully able to set a good routine for your child! Of course, it is amazing and we wouldn’t change it for anything in the world (would we?)…but it can be exhausting to the point that some days you struggle to work how you will cope.
This is a Guest Post from Sarah Cummings who is a Blogger for SleepAdvisor.org
The tantrums, the tears, the stained clothes and the nightly arguments over eating vegetables, and that’s just between you and your partner. When you start on the headaches caused by the little ones in your life the list of things that can bring you to the verge of tears is almost endless. This is all before they start puberty and a whole new collection of problems comes your way.
With all this going on it’s a constant wonder to me that most parents manage to remain upright at all. Which is a concern because getting enough rest is essential for almost every single thing we do in life.
Getting junior to sleep in a timely fashion is one of the most common hurdles faced by parents everywhere. So what’s the secret? In short, there isn’t one, every child is different but one thing can help a lot when it comes to sleep, that’s routine.
Human beings are creatures of habit, no matter the age our bodies and minds love routine. Getting your snipper snapper into healthy ones at an early age will do wonders for their attitude to sleep.
How to Set a Good Routine for your child
Every child is different, that’s part of their charm of course. Whether your child is night time angel or a sleeping nightmare can be due to a myriad of factors. But even if your nipper is genetically predisposed to sleep badly, the vast majority of sleep issues in children are in reality behavioral; which means that luckily as a parent, there is actually a lot you can do!
The most essential, and to be honest the easiest, thing that you can do is create a sensible evening routine. By doing the same set of pre-sleep activities each and every night, at roughly the same time, you will condition your child’s body and mind to unconsciously get prepared for sleep.
What should a good routine involve I hear you cry? Well, to be honest, you are going to have to experiment to find something that will work for your child. That said, the pointers below are a good place to start to set a good routine for your child:
Prepare their bedroom in advance
This is really the step before step zero if you will. First, you need to ensure your child’s sleeping environment is a suitable one. This means ensuring it isn’t overstimulating. The walls should be decorated in plain calm colors. I’m talking pastels, light blues and light yellows here. Ensure all your children’s toys are tidied well out of sight, if possible. And make sure the room is at a comfortable temperature and dark enough. If your child requires a nightlight to keep away the monsters make sure it isn’t too bright to keep them awake.
Check out my post on how to simply set your child’s room with some IKEA Hacks and adding a gorgeous rug from Lorena Canals in pastel colors!
Some parents believe letting their child charge around the garden burning off steam is the best way to tire them out and get them ready for bed. This technique might work for adults but unfortunately, children and grown-ups respond to stimuli in different ways. Excessive exercise close to bedtime is likely to make a child overtired, making it less likely they will sleep. Instead of letting them run wild about an hour or so before bed, stick to gentle indoor activities like coloring, scrapbooks or helping you bake. By slowing down their actions you are preparing them for sleep. This is why a pre-bedtime routine is helpful for winding down which we will explain in the next point.
Screens equal pre-bed screams!
While they make look peaceful when sat in front of the box transfixed to the latest episode of Paw Patrol, letting your kid watch TV, or any screen, close to bedtime is not doing their sleep any favors. These devices all emit a dastardly blue light that plays havoc with the body’s ability to produce melatonin which messes up their natural sleep patterns. Do them, and yourself, a favor and power down any screen at least an hour before bed.
Bath, Book & Bed
Now let’s get to the heart of a good pre-bed routine. What your own mama would call the Three B’s, that’s Bath, Book and Bed. Give your little one a nice relaxing bath and make it as calming as can be, essential oils or music can help here. The heat of the bath does wonders helping them on their journey to Sleepytown. Once they are all clean and snuggled up in their pajamas it’s storytime. Be careful here not to get too carryied away with voices. The intention of bedtime stories is of course to entertain but also to transport junior to Snoresville.
Well there you have it, a few handy tips to help you set a good routine for your child which transforms into healthy sleep patterns at an early age. One final tip. Everything that applies to your child also applies to you. Sleep is important no matter what age. To be the best mother you can be you need to be well rested, treat your sleep with respect and every facet of your life will thank you for it.