Do you struggle to get your child to bed at night? We sure did with our daughter. She would refuse to go to sleep in her bed and wanted to hang out with us until we were ready for bed and of course then she would want to sleep in Mama’s and Daddy’s bed.
That all changed when we finally sat down and established a bedtime routine. It helped our daughter establish healthy sleeping habits and got us back into ours. On top of it, we now have a little time to ourselves at night.
Maybe you have heard on TV or read in a parenting magazine that your child needs a bedtime routine. Or you are just plain tired of having to run to her room 20 times before she finally dozes off. For whatever reason you decided it’s time to start setting up a bedtime routine. Where do you go from here? Obviously you are not going to change your child’s habits from one day to next. Consistency is going to be key, which is why we started by drawing up a basic little plan.
Take out a pen and a piece of paper and jot down following:
How much sleep does your child need What time does he/ she need to get up in morning What are his/her favorite calm activities (reading a book, taking a bath, cuddling with you, talking about your day, going for a stroll through yard, putting on pj’s) From this list, come up with an action plan. Figure out when you need to put your child to bed to make sure she gets enough sleep. This will be your final goal. What time does she go to bed now? Plan on moving her bedtime back about 30 minutes every few days to give her some time to adjust in between.
Pick a few of her favorite calm activities and spend about 30 to 40 minutes on those while also getting her in her pj’s, teeth brushed and off to bed.
Expect some initial resistance to new routine. Kids can be pretty creative when it comes to excuses why they can’t possibly go to sleep just yet. My little sister once insisted that her doll just had to blow her nose. Try to anticipate those excuses and last minute requests and make them part of bedtime routine. If you know your child is going to ask for a sip of water, keep a glass on her night table. Make other requests part of your bedtime routine. If she usually asks to say goodnight to family pet, have her do that before you put her in her PJ’s and tuck her in.