The majority of parents know that sleep is important for children’s development and as such, a good evening routine can help them get a more restful night.
The aim of the routine is to give your child structure, help them get ready for bed and create a relaxing environment that allows them to fall asleep on their own. But exactly what is it that makes a good routine?
Here are some helpful evening routine tips to help get your kids to sleep.
Start at an Early Age
Not only does sleep provide children with stability, but according to research, it also helps their brain. As such, it’s a good idea to get kids into a bedtime routine as soon as possible, before children start school. This is because it’s been shown a lack of sleep can lead to stress and memory problems, which can make it difficult for them to concentrate and adjust to a change.
Break from Stimulating Activities
Your child may love watching their favourite cartoon, using a tablet or playing games, but this stimulates their brain and can inhibit sleep. To prevent this, aim to cut off any stimulating activities at least half an hour before the bedtime routine. This could help them get a more restful night.
Short and Consistent
A bedtime routine should be fairly short. Try to keep it somewhere between 15 and 30 minutes, from start to finish. During this time, follow a schedule – bath time, pyjamas, clean their gums or teeth, go to the toilet, bedtime stories and saying goodnight. Keeping the same structure means they know what to expect and it helps them to get ready for sleep.
Let Them Choose
Bedtime routines can often be met with resistance because children feel like they have no control. To combat this, let them choose. This could be picking out their pyjamas or deciding which story to read. These things can make a big difference.
Adjust the Environment
It can help to use little triggers as part of the bedtime routine, which signify that it’s time to go to sleep. This could include playing a lullaby, putting on a night light, or using naturally fragranced bath products and lotion with soothing scents.
Avoid Staying Too Long
Children need to learn how to self soothe and fall asleep on their own, so try not to stay too long. To get them used to the routine, you can do this in stages. Start by sitting on the end of their bed, then move to a chair, then sit by the door, etc. until your little one sleeps alone.
Stick to It
Finally, introducing any change can be hard and your little one may be stressed or upset. But it’s important to remember why you’re introducing a bedtime routine and stick to it. It may be tough, but the hard work will pay off.