If you struggle with getting your little one to go to bed and stay there, you aren’t alone. While not always easy, you can make bedtime easier with a few simple tips.
9 tips to make your kid’s bedtime easier
1. Be consistent with bedtime
Put your child to bed at a consistent time each night. This can help them get used to their sleep schedule and understand that there is no point in putting up a fight.
2. Establish a bedtime routine
Establish a bedtime routine to set the expectation that it is time to wind down and get ready for sleep. Your routine may include bath time, brushing teeth, putting on pajamas, listening to a story, and getting tucked into bed.
3. Create a sleep-friendly environment
Create an environment that is conducive to sleep. Make sure your child’s bedroom is dark enough. If your child is scared of the dark, use a night light. Adjust the room temperature to be comfortable so that your child is neither too cold nor too hot.
4. Limit screen time at night
While it may be tempting to allow your child to watch TV or use electronic devices so that you can get chores done, lights emitted from the screen can disrupt your child’s sleep. Make it a rule to avoid screen time at least one hour before bedtime.
5. Monitor what your child watches before bed
Don’t allow your child to watch or play games that are high-energy or violent, as this can make it difficult for them to calm down before bed. It can also cause nighttime awakening due to nightmares.
6. Remind your child to use the bathroom before bed
Remind your child to go pee before they go to bed to avoid bedwetting or waking up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom.
7. Give your child a security object
Some children don’t like the feeling of being separated from you at bedtime. You can make bedtime easier by giving them a personal object such as a teddy bear or blanket that makes them feel safe and comforted.
8. Encourage exercise during the day
Getting enough physical activity during the day can help your child sleep better and not struggle with bedtime as much.
9. Don’t give them caffeine or sugar before bed
Be careful about what types of snacks you let your child eat at night. Caffeine in soda or chocolate can keep your child up at night and make bedtime much more difficult.
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Mindell JA, Williamson AA. Benefits of a bedtime routine in young children: Sleep, development, and beyond. Sleep Med Rev. 2018;40:93-108. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29195725/
Cleveland Clinic. Sleep in Toddlers & Preschoolers. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/14302-sleep-in-toddlers--preschoolers
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