Top Bedtime Tips for Parents
While we understand that children need an adequate amount of sleep, particularly when they have a busy school day to get through, how useful is this really to parents?
When children are screaming and carrying on a 10 o’clock at night, will tapping on the appropriate time on the schedule send them straight to sleep? Probably not.
Children are all individuals with different body clocks and energy levels, and they and their parents need to learn to listen and respond to the child’s internal messages.
Just like yourself, if your child is not tired, they will not sleep – sending them to bed regardless is not helpful for anyone.
Being allowed to stay up later shouldn’t be exciting, or treated like a prize though. The best parents can do is create the right environment for children to go to sleep when they are tired.
Here are our Top Tips for Helping your Child settle down at Bedtime:
1. No screens in the bedroom, or within 2 hours of bedtime
“The light from your phone is blue spectrum light, which is on the same spectrum as sunlight, so looking at your phone in the middle of the night switches off melatonin receptors which help you sleep,” says lucid-dreaming teacher and best-selling author, Charlie Morley.
Watching T.V., playing on computer games and tablets are best avoided in the last 2 hours before their approximate bedtime. Keeping these out of children’s rooms will avoid ‘sneaky playing’.
2. Use relaxing activities to calm children down before bed
Different activities will work with different children. You could try a warm bubble bath, or perhaps cuddle up and read a bedtime story together. A consistent routine may also help, as children learn to expect the arrival of bedtime.
3. Generally, avoid eating before bed
While it’s best not to give children food before bed (in particular, avoid late dinners), if they can’t sleep because they’re hungry, a small piece of fruit is okay. Steer clear of anything high in sugar though as it will wake children up, regardless of their body clock.
4. Tire your child out during the day!
Physical activity is good for so many things, and sleep is one of them. Encourage your child to get plenty of exercise while they’re awake for a better chance of getting them to sleep.
5. Sleeping with Soft Toys
Plush soft toys are the most common nighttime pal tucked up in bed with children to help them sleep. According to a recent study, soft toys are also still the number one companion in helping adults get to sleep. The researchers reported that up to 34% of adults in the UK sleep with a soft toy and over half still own their childhood toy or blanket. And there’s good reason for that.
It is important to recognise that your child cannot be ‘clocked’ in and out based on a specific schedule; children may even argue over the time in order to delay going to bed.
Instead, provide a suitable bedtime environment, and help your child learn to go to sleep when their body clock tells them to.