Take the hassle out of bedtime with a few simple ideas..
1. Switch off electronics
Leave kids to their own devices and they’d probably never leave them alone, so it’s important to restrict their access to tablets, mobile phones and games consoles from about an hour before bedtime. The blue light emitted from screens and TVs is known to disrupt our sleep cycles and could lead to trouble switching off. A bedtime story is the perfect way to keep your kids entertained without affecting their sleep.
2. Keep a routine
Adults and children rely on a routine for good sleep hygiene, and keeping a consistent bedtime is just the start. Repeating a daily regime before we sleep tells our brain it’s time to switch off for the night. The same bath and story before bed could help trigger the release of melatonin, the body’s sleep hormone, and lead to a more peaceful night’s rest.
3. Offer options
Kids love their independence and one of their main objections to bedtime is being told what to do. Give your little ones the opportunity to make their own decisions by asking them simple questions about their routine. Questions can range from pyjama choices to the bedtime story on offer, and try to stick to two options to keep things simple. Your little ones will love the sense of control.
4. Set clear rules and be firm
A solid routine will need discipline and it’s up to parents to set timeframes for each activity to keep things on track. Let your kids know how long they should take in the bath or listening to bedtime stories in advance. They’ll probably ask for one last book, or another trip to the toilet, so factor these requests into your regime. Perhaps set a rule that once you’re tucked in, it’s time to close your eyes until the morning.
5. Set the scene
To give your kids the best chance of falling to sleep and enjoying an undisturbed rest you should focus your efforts on their room. Young children and babies have difficulties regulating their body temperature so you’ll need appropriate bedding for the current season. Although many kids enjoy a bedside lamp, you might consider blackout blinds to prevent any unwanted light creeping into the room – some models even help block out noise.