Life with a miniature version of yourself can bring with it some of life’s more challenging events. From the classic toddler tantrum to understanding baffling child logic, you can be left in tears of laughter to tears of pain all in the space of an afternoon. Then, there’s bedtime. Respite for most parents, but a nightmare for others.
Parenting sadly doesn’t come in a one size fits all. However, there are some routines you can adopt to make your bedtime battles less chaotic and more routined. With that in mind, here are our 10 tips that could improve your child’s bedtime routine:
Make time to wind down
A day in the life of your little one could look like an action-packed day with the grandparents to a brightly coloured, sensory experience at playgroup. Throw in pre-school, and your babe has had one heck of a busy day. Now, you know how you feel after a hard day’s work – think about how your child feels too.
Setting apart a time in the day for you and your child to unwind together is not only fundamental for a good bedtime routine, but for building your relationship with one another.
From letting them share their day with you, cuddles and letting them have an insight into your day, making time for each other is so valuable. It shows them that you are there for them, and that is a wonderful confidence booster in itself.
Turn off any screens
If you think about the world of children’s television, it’s enough to give any parent a headache. Although your kiddo’s favourite show may be educational, fun and energetic, it’s also sensory overload before bedtime.
So, turn off the screens! Let your little one do a calm activity before bed like colouring, chatting through their day or give them a gentle massage!
Bursting with bubbles and warm, soothing water, bathtime is an undeniable marvel. Not only will a bath make your babe’s body temperature adjust rapidly when they get out, signalling to their body that it is nighttime, but it is a good way to have a good scrub before bed. Win, win!
Don’t get me wrong, not every child is a natural water baby. Some of you may have encountered screaming, door frame holding by your tiny Hulks, and possibly even the floor-hammering-toddler fit. With a wealth of bathtime bribes – extra bubbles, floating toys and bath paints – there are some tools you can use to help you win the battle.
Make time for teeth!
Establishing good dental oral hygiene habits early on is paramount to your child’s development. Building toothbrushing into your babe’s daily routine, twice a day, for two minutes will reduce dental decay and any other issues later on in life.
You can get involved too! Brush your teeth together, let your little one brush your teeth or even invent a toothbrushing dance or song to make it a fun and shared experience. There’s no better way of avoiding the dentist than teaching your kiddo to brush their teeth well.
Choice is one of the many things in life that make it more exciting! If getting your little one into bed is one of the biggest hurdles, ease them into it by getting them to choose their own pyjamas. Offer them a selection of three or let them pick from their PJ drawer to get them on board.
Communication and language skills are developed from the day we are born. From the moment your little one breathes their first breath, you can read to them. Hearing your voice is not only soothing, but your words are giving your child the best chance for a rich vocabulary later on.
Stories are foundational to us understanding the world around us. They help you step out of your own experiences and relate to other people, cultures and scenarios that are unreachable outside of the pages of a book. What better gift is there for your child!
Snuggling up together to explore another kingdom, or learn about the ocean before bed will send your babe off to sleep so they can enjoy a dream-filled snooze.
The problem sleeper
Being woken up throughout the night has to be some form of torture. Always on the edge of sleep, your little one can soon bring you back to being awake in no time. For some of us, a full night’s sleep is a distant memory. Fortunately, the experts have developed the pivotal weighted, or gravity blanket to encourage better sleep.
Simply feeling unsafe or not secure can disturb anyone’s night’s sleep. A weighted blanket is designed to feel like a warm hug, using gravity to make you feel safe as you sleep. Therefore, using a weighted blanket will encourage a better night’s sleep for your child and give you more time to get your forty winks too!
Last toilet stop before bed
Here it is folks – make sure you remind your children to go to the toilet before bed! Whether that’s a nappy change, a potty stop or using the loo, don’t forget! There’s nothing worse than having to sort out wet sheets in the middle of the night, and then calm an emotionally heightened child at 3am!
Sing your heart out
From the moment your babe could first hear in the womb to being a feisty five year old and beyond, your voice is more recognisable than anything in their world. So, let them hear you! Sing a gentle melody as they close their eyes. Hum your babe’s most loved nursery rhyme, or favourite Billie Eilish tune to bring them to sleep.
Feeling comforted, safe and secure is the best recipe for a good night’s sleep after all.
The definitive “goodnight”
All good things come to an end. You know this, and so should your child. Saying goodnight before bed is the perfect end to the day. Your little one can even say goodnight to their favourite fluffy toys, the dog and any siblings (if they have them) to mark that it is bedtime.
Bedtime doesn’t have to be a daily battle. What steps will you make to improve your child’s bedtime routine?