If you’re a parent, you’ll know that bedtimes can be the most difficult time of the day, sometimes on par with bathtime. Kids get tired a lot easier than adults, and as a result get even more cranky than us. However, good bedtime habits aren’t far away, and as children get older and older they become easier. Think on a few of these tips when you’re trying to introduce a healthy routine to your childrens’ bedtime.
Make A Routine And Stick To it
This is the most important idea to start with. If a child doesn’t have a routine, they’re going to feel like they’ve been left out in the wind. They won’t be able to get used to bedtime and all its steps if there isn’t a concrete structure there to reinforce it.
A routine also improves your kid’s sleeping quality. They get used to having to go to bed at a certain time, and therefore their bodies and minds will be more tired when they hit that mark.
Different routines will work for everyone though, and there’s no one best answer for all kids across the globe. Yet you know your kids better than anyone, so test out what you think would be best for them.
Give Them A Small Bedtime Snack
A small bowl of cereal works wonders as supper, as it gives them some gentle fuel to get through the night. Some fruit, or oatmeal with fruit pieces is incredibly healthy at this time of the day for younger children, especially when days are longer and the dark doesn’t come til it’s almost your own bedtime.
Having a bedtime snack also means some energy will be diverted towards digestion, which will make them a bit more tired; enough to stay in bed and get a good night’s rest. This also works well for you as a the parent too.
Give them their food about an hour before they’re due to go to bed, which will set all their systems in motion and leave time for other bedtime routine essentials. If you’d rather not have your kids eating something before bed however, having a glass of warm milk can help kids to relax before they fall asleep.
When It Comes To Brushing Their Teeth
You can turn time in the bathroom into a game. It can sound minor, but kids love earning brownie points with you. Make a challenge of who can make the most foam from their mouths, or who can use the least amount of water, or who can clean their teeth the fastest. This follows the same principle of getting them involved in household chores, which often works a treat when it becomes a competition.
We’ve swapped our usual toothbrushes for an eco-friendly option this year. We love the environmentally friendly Deeno-saur bamboo toothbrushes as they are super colourful and with a pack of 3 in bright colours it makes it easy for each child to distinguish which one is theirs (available from Amazon UK for only £2.99 each).
Reading To Them And Reading Their Own Stories
Mummy and Daddy creating a whole world in the space of 5 minutes is magical, and worth the experience for every child. Yet it’s good to get your children into their own reading habits as they get older, which also makes them less reliant on your time.
It won’t be useful to set up a TV in their room to lull them asleep. This can make them more awake! Set aside about 20 minutes of the light remaining on to let them guide themselves into magical worlds. This will also help develop their reading ability and their imaginations, which also makes them less likely to get bored. They can make up their own stories with their teddy bears if you let them know they’re allowed to make a little noise during this time.
Don’t stop your reading times together too early however, as over the age of 6 a lot of parents believe their children are too old for a good bedtime story. This can work against the both of you some research suggests, meaning less bonding time and a stunt in your child’s literacy development. It’s just a good idea to get them used to reading on their own for pleasure, and making it a normalised activity that can be done at any time.
Bedtime habits can tire us out more than our day altogether sometimes, so making them more healthy and less strenuous should be done at a young age!