Sleep is so important for your little ones. It’s a restorative process that sees the body repair itself. Energy is restored and growth hormones are released. So a good night’s sleep is key to ensuring that your children grow up big and strong. If they’re not sleeping well, you’re not going to sleep well either. So it’s important for your health too. Bedtime shouldn’t see your home become a battleground. I’ve been there myself and I’m not saying we have it perfect by any means, but here are some top tips I’ve picked up to make sure that everyone in your home gets their necessary shut-eye.
Set a bedtime for your children. Kids of different ages need different amounts of sleep. So you shouldn’t put your eight year old to bed at the same time as your two year old. Check out how many hours each of your kids should be getting each night and prepare an appropriate sleep routine for each of them. It might seem easier to get them all off to the land of nod at the same time, but it’ll just end up more creating more trouble than you’ll care for. A wide awake child forced to lie in bed too early will just keep everyone else in the house awake.
Rise and Shine
Setting a time to get up is just as important as setting a time to go to sleep. A child who sleeps in too long will be harder to get to sleep when night comes. Try to stick to your routine even on weekends and special occasions.
TV and Devices
The television and handheld mobile devices give off blue light. This makes your body think that it’s daytime and consequently makes it harder for you to nod off. Turn televisions off and put your children’s electronic games away about two hours before bedtime (in an ideal world). Try out other activities that will get them sleepy instead of excitable. Give them a warm bath. Read stories. Have a little cuddle. Talk about their day, their dreams and ideas.
Create a calm and quiet atmosphere for your children as bedtime approaches. Make sure that your child is comfortable. Soft pyjamas and fresh, clean bedding will see them counting sheep before you know it. Certain smells will also create a soothing environment. Lavender is particularly great, whether it’s fresh or as an oil. One or two teddies can be comforting but too many toys will provide distraction. Make sure the room is tidy and clear. Have some tidying up time at the end of the day together if needs be.
If your kids are scared of the dark, nightlights are a great option. However, trying to sneak into your child’s room to turn it off can usually end up waking them up. Consider investing in a bluetooth light bulb. These can be controlled from your phone, meaning that you can gradually dim the lights as your child nods off.
Keep an eye out for sleep disorders. Nightmares and night terrors affect thousands of kids. If, despite all of your best efforts, your little one is still struggling to sleep, book an appointment for them with your GP. Remember, it’s normal to wake up at night whilst they’re under 4 and need reassurance.
Disclosure: This is a collaborative post, all opinions are my own