5 Surefire Ways to Get Your Child to Go to Bed Here are simple ways to condition your child to prepare for bedtime along with the upcoming day without the fuss. BY TOBY HABERKORN
Getting your child into a routine at night will make bedtime much simpler.
“ Start a family tradition by ending each day with the same special goodnight saying.”
As parents and grandparents, we all understand the importance of bedtime. Many of us have a Sophie or an Ethan who tries to postpone bedtime for as long as possible. Bedtime becomes a nightly battle. Even if Sophie goes to bed, she does not stay in bed. Sophie has all sorts of reasons for not staying in bed—worries, unable to sleep, thirsty, needs to go to the bathroom, etc. The end result of this situation is a grumpy child and grumpy parents. We all deserve a peaceful bedtime.
Develop a bedtime check off list, which Sophie completes after each bedtime activity. Every night, at the same time, have Sophie get ready for bed by taking a bath or shower, putting on pajamas, brushing teeth and combing hair. Sophie, like all children, likes predictability and bedtime routines help her feel secure.
Here are five surefire ways to get your little one to go to bed.
1. Getting Ready for Bedtime: wrap up activities. Every evening, start a forty-five minutes countdown before bedtime. Set a timer in 15-minute increments, giving your child time to wrap up activities.
2. Not Tired: a bit of physical activity. If your child does not get enough physical activity, turn on a kid's dance video—you can search for one on YouTube or buy one. They will love dancing/ exercising to the video for five, fun-filled minutes.
Then help her cool down with a deep breathing exercise. Teach your child to take a deep breath. Hold for 5 seconds. Release slowly. Repeat deep breathing 5-7 times.
3. Next Day Preparation: responsibilities. Before going to bed, get them involved in learning about the weather and what’s appropriate for her planned activities before she decides what to wear and lays out clothes out for the next day.
4. Sleep Time: bedroom environment. Temperature is cool. Make sure their bedroom is dark and all electronic devices are turned off. They love wearing cozy socks on cold nights. They also know that a dark, quiet bedroom means time to go to sleep.
5. Good Night: security. You spend quiet time (5 to 10 minutes) with them talking about whatever is on their mind before you read a story. Right before lights are turned off, give them a paper or an electronic calendar to cross off the completed day.
Start a family tradition by ending each day with the same special goodnight saying. Make up your own saying or find one that’s right for your child. A Charlie Brown quote is always worth considering, "Day is over, night has come. Today is gone, what’s done is done. Embrace your dream through the night. Tomorrow comes with a whole new light!" Someday, she may repeat this saying to her children.
Give your child a big hug and wish them goodnight!
Remember, it takes months for habits to form so be prepared to work with your child until her bedtime routine is unquestioned. May you and your Sophie or Ethan dream sweet dreams and enjoy a good night’s sleep!
Toby Haberkorn has enjoyed a varied career and now pursues her passion for writing books that promote family discussions about difficult issues. She is the author of two books. "When My Grammy Forgets, I Remember: A Child’s Perspective on Dementia" explores the bittersweet changing relationship between a young granddaughter and her grandmother who has dementia. This book is posted on the Children’s Resource Book list on the National Alzheimer’s Association and National Institutes of Health (NIH) Aging web sites. "Bye-Bye Moon" is a bedtime story which delights children who fuss about going to bed and the parents who tuck them in.