Getting the little ones off to sleep can be a challenge at the best of times. As a mother of three boys, I’ve had my fair share of tears and tantrums before bedtime. However, over the years, I learnt how to deal with these bedtime battles. Here are some hints and tips that can help you get your child off to sleep:
- Establish a Bedtime Routine
A bedtime routine worked wonders for my boys. They knew that it was ‘bath and bed’, so by the time I ran their bubble baths, they’d already started to wind down – because they knew what was coming next. Establish a bedtime routine, be it a bath, story time or drinking a small glass of hot milk, and your child will learn to understand that bedtime is just around the corner.
- Turn off Technology
Technology can harm sleep, so it’s important to switch screens off long before bedtime. Your child may love playing Peppa Pig games on the tablet, but this isn’t going to prepare them for a good night’s sleep.
Enforce a household rule whereby technology is turned off at least two hours before your child’s bedtime curfew. During these couple of hours, create a screen-free zone to help your little one wind down. You may have to deal with a few sulks to begin with, but they’ll soon get used to this new rule and will busy themselves with something else instead!
- Keep Them Calm
If your child is worried about something, perhaps an event that’s taking place at school the following day, it’s important that you instil reassurance and create a calming environment in their bedroom.
Cortisol, known as the ‘stress hormone’, can significantly affect sleep. If your child’s cortisol levels are high, they won’t be able to switch off. To keep cortisol levels down, set up a soothing space and your little one should start to get sleepy. I used to have fairy lights in the boys’ bedrooms, which really helped to encourage relaxation – plus they add a sense of magic to a room too!
- Tire Your Tots Out
This can really work to your advantage. Get your child to be your little helper after school and come bedtime their sleepy little heads will be more than ready to hit the pillow. So, not only will you have a tired child, you’ll have a tidier house too! Plus, they’ll love helping you do ‘grown-up stuff’. My youngest used to love sweeping the kitchen floor with a broom.
Tire your little ones out by allowing them to do a couple of household chores and you may not even need to encourage them to go to bed.
- Give Them a Bedroom They Love
If your child doesn’t love their bedroom, they’re hardly going to look forward to going to bed every night. Make their bedroom a place they actually want to spend time in; use stencils on the wall, add cushions in novelty shapes to their bed and, of course, make sure their mattress is comfortable – so they look forward to getting under the duvet every night.
Investing in a decent kids mattress will be make a world of difference to the quality of sleep your child has. And, if they sleep better, there’ll be less tears and tantrums when it’s time to go to bed.
Hopefully my tips will work as well for you as they did for me. It’ll take time but persevere and your child will be eager to get to dreamland before you know it.
About the Author
Joy Richards is the resident sleep expert at online bed and mattress retailer Happy Beds. For more of Joy’s trusty tips regarding sleep visit The Comfort Zone or, alternatively, shop the range of kids’ mattresses and make a difference to your child’s quality of sleep.
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