Do you ever find yourself dreading your kid’s bedtime? You hope for a picture-perfect sequence where teeth are brushed, pajamas are put on, and they snuggle up ready to fall into dreamland. At times, you may instead experience whining, tantrums, and an overall power struggle to get even the simplest task done. When it comes to your kid’s bedtime, there are a few common mistakes that can greatly impact your ability to achieve the perfect bedtime you’ve been dreaming of. The good news is that these common mistakes are easy to fix!
1. Bedtime Snack Choices
For many households, bedtime snacks are a must. There is nothing wrong with a snack before bed, but there are two main things to keep an eye out for. One is the time. With any food, it should be enjoyed at least an hour before bed. Going to sleep on a full stomach can interrupt sleep, leading to a more restless night. The other thing to watch for is the level of sugar in the snack item. Caffeine is counterproductive when it comes to relaxing your child, and unsuspecting items can include a lot of unnecessary sugar. In general, you’ll want to avoid chocolate, soda, and tea. You’ll instead want to rely on food items that induce tryptophan, which helps initiate sleep. These foods include nuts, soybeans, meats, and dairy, as well as complex carbs.
2. Not Enough Sleep or Stimulation
It is important that kids are able to expel their energy throughout the day. While everyone enjoys a lazy day, this can impact your ability to peacefully get your kids’ bedtime consistent. This pent-up energy can begin to overflow when you truly want relaxation to happen. Not enough sleep can also factor into the success of your kid’s bedtime. In general, the earlier the bedtime, the easier it can be for your child to fall asleep. When your child is overtired, their body will naturally pump out adrenaline, making bedtime a hassle. Nighttime should be about relaxing. When it comes to homework and chores, make sure those are accomplished earlier in the day. This allows your evening to truly be focused on relaxation.
3. The Bedtime Battle
Some nights, it feels as though you must prepare for battle. Your kid’s bedtime should be a send-off, not a standoff. When it comes to a bedtime routine, you do want to be consistent and stay firm to your established rules. How you present your commitment to the routine can make all the difference. When trying to enforce, you may be faced with resistance that can lead to unwanted bedtime drama. While you want to stick to your boundaries, it also helps to allow your child to feel that they are responsible for their own actions. You want to present the situation in a way that they feel decision-making is still on their end. It can help to create a type of reward system. For each successful bedtime, they gain a star, sticker, or small token. In time, these successful achievements could lead to a special treat, such as a movie night or a trip to the zoo.
4. Irregular Routine
Routine truly is key for kids. It may feel easy to read one book one night, then three or four another night. Or maybe one night you allow them to stay up later, etc. While these may seem like small inconsistencies, they are enough to impact the overall success of your routine. It is important to keep things as consistent as possible. Same time of night, same activities, same order. This predictable sequence of events cues your child’s subconscious that it is time to relax and settle into bed.
Your kid’s bedtime doesn’t have to be a hassle! With a few changes, you’ll see that bedtime can be a calm and enjoyable event to end each night. Consistency is key, as well as creating a peaceful experience where your child feels they are making their own decisions. Watching what they eat, and the activities they participate in during the day also helps. It may take some planning and preparation, but once it is a natural routine, it will feel easy. A better night’s sleep leads to a healthier, happier kid who will be able to better perform at school and at home.