Fixing your bedtime routine is easier said than done. It takes a lot of strength from the parent and a lot of consistency. We know that at the end of the day you’re tired and not in the mood to argue but if you consistently hold strong and don’t cave you will be grateful you held your ground.
- Establish a consistent bedtime every night of the week. I often have parents tell me that their child wakes up at the same time regardless of what time they go to bed. So if you are letting your child stay up late on the weekends you are sacrificing precious hours of sleep. It’s one thing to stay up late for a rare outing but staying up late every weekend to play with electronics is not reasonable.
- Allowing them to have technology in their room. Every sleep guide you read recommends no TVs, computers or phones in the bedroom. This is also a good habit to model for your children. Your sleep might improve as a result of it too.
- “One more drink of water.” If your child is crying that they are dying of thirst at bedtime, assure them that you will make sure they drink an extra glass of water with breakfast. If they were well hydrated during the day, they shouldn’t be “dying” of thirst at bedtime. This is often overlooked.
- “Can I have a snack?” If your bedtime routine is lights off at 8 pm, you should close your kitchen 30 minutes before bed. Again, if they are starving, they should have had more to eat for dinner. When they ask for food, notify them that the kitchen is closed and that’s the end of it. Tell them you will serve them an extra large breakfast.
- You should also shut down electronics 30 minutes before bed too. The blue lights on the screen decrease their ability to produce the sleep hormones they need to fall asleep. This time is a great opportunity to read a book on paper.
- If they come out of their room because they can’t fall asleep multiple times explain that
everytimethey come out they need to try to use the bathroom. This can decrease the frequency that they come out.
- If they are really struggling to fall asleep, have them place a stuffed animal on their tummy and ask them to close their eyes and feel their animal rise and fall. Encourage them to do this to focus on getting their stuffed animal asleep.
- For more information on sleep quantity click here.
Most important thing about improving your bedtime routine is consistency among both parents and not caving once you’ve declared it’s bedtime!