Monday, 14 October 2013

Five Ways to Stop Bedtime Becoming a Battlefield

This is a guest post by Fiona Longmuir, marketing manager at StorkUp. StorkUp helps parents navigate the world of kids' products and allows them to explore over 400 children's retailers all in one place!

Cranky kids and overworked parents can turn bedtime into a real battlefield. Sleepless nights are one of the most dreaded and feared side effects of becoming a parent, and can turn parents and kids alike into monsters! Here are five ways to put an end to those bedtime blues:

sleeping tips for babies and children

1) Routine, routine, routine. Keeping to a consistent routine lets kids know what to expect. If every night is bath time, teeth brushing, story time and sleep, children will know what is coming next and be more likely to fall in line. The routine also helps them associate the activities with winding down and relaxing, which will help to bring sleep on more easily. If a story with mum or dad in bed is always followed by sleep, it will become second nature to start yawning when the book comes to an end.

2) Don’t let your little one get overtired. Sleep has a window of opportunity, and once the window is past, they’re going to get a second wind. A toddler who has skipped a nap or an older kid who has jumped from activity to activity all day will be beyond tired and find it difficult to settle down to sleep. Children who are past napping age might benefit from some quiet rest time in their rooms during the day to prevent them from getting overtired and to allow them to recharge.

3) Overtired is bad, but tired is good. If your child is spending a lot of time being sedentary, perhaps in front of the television or playing video games, it is time to get them moving. Physical activity is a must to keep them healthy and to help them not to feel restless at bedtime.

4) Transition into the quiet. Just as it is important to have a routine, it needs to be a quiet and relaxing one. If your child is watching television before bed, make sure that the show is not something over stimulating that will wind them up. The same idea plays into stories and books. If you are reading something suspenseful or that your child might find scary, it could keep them awake and make them resist bedtime. Keep the house quiet also. Imagine trying to fall asleep while people are in the other room playing loud music or banging dishes. A quiet peaceful house at bedtime can go a long way to helping children relax and readily go off to bed themselves.

5) If things get rough, try a sticker chart combined with a reward for going to bed nicely. Kids respond best to positive reinforcement. Set up a chart and put a sticker each day the child peacefully goes to bed. Let them know they are working toward ten stickers and agree on a reward for reaching that ten sticker goal. This process will get them in the habit of going to bed nicely.

Follow these suggestions and things are sure to go more smoothly at bedtime. Sweet Dreams!
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