As a parent, you know that bedtime can sometimes be difficult – for both you and the kids! For some reason, many children detest sleeping (FOMO?) and getting them to go to sleep can sometimes end up tiring you out as well.
Worst case scenario, YOU fall asleep first and the kids delay their bedtime even further and that throws off whatever is to be done the following day. Thankfully, you’re not the first to encounter these problems so you don’t have to go on an extended period of trial and error to figure out what works.
Below are some easy-to-apply tips for making bedtime a breeze (or…a snore!):
1. Create habits and routines
The creation of habits and routines helps to prepare children for bed because as soon as the chain of events start, their bodies subconsciously start to wind down and get ready to shut down for the night.
Habits don’t happen overnight, however, so it will take some time to get them established. Experts believe that 3-4 weeks is a good ballpark figure to establish habits.
Many children hate bedtime but the great thing about creating these routines is that even the most intuitive child won’t notice what you’re doing until they’re older. In fact, many parents start the bedtime routine from as early as dinner time.
So after dinner they may give the kids a bath, put on their pajamas, brush their teeth, have some family time, and then send them off to bed. You may face some resistance when sending them to bed, but there are more tips to help you with that.
2. Read them stories
This tip may be fairly intuitive, but it’s a classic for a reason! Let your kids pick the stories they want to hear and read to them.
Even if they’re the same ones over and over, this works in favor of the routine you want to establish. They may even fall asleep before you get through the book!
3. Limit devices
Spending too much time staring at a screen negatively impacts the natural sleep rhythm. This is because the bright screen is overstimulating, which forces you to stay awake.
If your kids are still eager to play on their smartphone or tablet, ensure that there are clear boundaries. Set a timer for about 15 minutes and emphasize that once time’s up, you’re going to put the devices away for the evening.
4. Use Natural Sedatives Like Essential Oils
Maybe the kids realize what you are doing and are trying extra hard to stay awake just to be rebellious (even though they really want to sleep). This is your ace in the hole for nights like those.
Inducing sleep is just one of the many things essential oils can be used for. Lavender and chamomile are two that work great as natural sedatives. To help put the kids to bed, you can set the oils to diffuse in their room. You can tell them that it’s there to help them sleep but the oils smell so good that they can actually be passed off as an air freshener.
**They may come in handy particularly when creating the bedtime routine**
A good night’s sleep doesn’t just benefit your kids: it helps you and your partner relax, too. The key to getting your children to abide by their bedtime consistently, however, is creating a routine in order to train their mind and body to shut down by X time every day. Creating the routine takes time so be patient and stick with it and you’ll see the rewards in no time.
about the author…Trysh Sutton is a wife, mother, strategic leader, and teacher. She runs a website called Pure Path, which is a naturopathic wellness site that promotes healthy living and healing through the use of essential oils and sustainable living.
You can follow her on social media to learn more about the benefits of essential oils, and healthy living practices.