What parent hasn’t experienced that struggle or “bedtime battle” when it comes to trying to get your children to sleep. More often than not, it’s not because your child is trying to pick a fight, they truly just don’t want to go to bed.
Whether they feel like they’ll miss out on something while they sleep (don’t all kids think their parents do all the fun stuff when they have to go to bed?), or maybe they’re afraid of the dark or are just excited for something that’s coming up in the week, there could be many reasons why your child is giving you a hard time at night.
Here’s a look at some tips to help make bedtime less of a battle and more of a sleepy surrender…
Have Quiet Time Before Bedtime
This means no video games, movies, or television at least a half an hour before bedtime. Two hours of quiet time is actually ideal, but sometimes you may have to compromise and settle for the half hour. Either way, having no outside stimulation before bedtime will help calm your child down as well as relax them. Also, light form the television screen can actually interfere with melatonin, an important sleep hormone.
Create a Sleep-Inducing Environment
If your child doesn’t feel comfortable and safe in their bedroom, chances are they are going to have a hard time sleeping. Make sure his or her room has a welcoming atmosphere complete with favorite stuffed animals, soft sheets and pillows, and enough darkness in the room to allow your child to fall asleep easier. The more at home they feel, the less likely they are to fight you when it comes to going to bed.
Keep a Consistent Bedtime Routine
Infants, toddlers, and preschoolers do better with routines. When it comes to bedtime, don’t scrap the daily routine either. Be consistent with thing you and your child do before bedtime like perhaps first it’s bath time, next story time, and then bedtime. When you child gets into this bedtime routine, he or she will find comfort in knowing what comes next and will be more apt to fall asleep instead of fighting you to stay awake.
Address Bedtime Fears
If your child says there’s a monster under the bed, instead of dismissing his or her fears, instead try talking about it. Sometimes some simple reassurance can help them feel more at ease and protected. If that doesn’t work, then be creative with how you “protect” your child from they’re afraid of. For example, assign a specific stuffed animal as the “monster protector” or grab a can of air freshener and deem it the “monster repellant.” Your child will appreciate your efforts and take comfort in knowing they don’t have to be afraid at bedtime.