One thing that new parents often find tough to deal with is how to get their child asleep at a reasonable time. From newborns to toddlers, many parents have this problem and it can often be tough to deal with. This usually causes stressful nights, with upset for both the parent and the child, which certainly doesn’t help the situation.
The way to remedy this problem is with a bit of forward thinking and planning. The goal is to create a number of activities for your child before bed time, so that they know and understand that it is time to go to sleep. Even from a young age children will understand and follow this, and the earlier it is installed into family life, the easier it will become as your children grow older.
The first thing you need to do is choose a bed time that suits your family life, and give you time to complete the tasks before bed time, without the need to rush. This ensures you won’t get stressed and be worried about the time, while also making sure the child is engaged and having fun before bed.
My child currently goes to bed at 7:30pm; we have a routine, which takes around one hour so we begin our routine at 6:30pm. I currently finish work around 5pm, as does my partner, so this gives us plenty of time to get home, sort ourselves out, have some food and then think about starting the bed time routine. These timings won’t work for everyone, but try and fit something like this around your currently lifestyle.
Our bed time routine consists of a bath, brushing teeth, putting pyjamas on, watching a ten minute DVD and reading a book with some warm milk. The bath time is very enjoyable for my son, and gives him time to enjoy himself for one last time before we begin to quieten down and relax for bed. After brushing teeth and changing, he knows that this signals bed time. We watch a DVD for ten minutes, which settles him down as he enjoys sitting on our bed and watching something with us. We always turn the light off at this point, another signal to show him that bed time is approaching.
After the DVD we move into his bedroom, where we have all the lights turned off except for a reading light. Here we read him a story, one that he chooses himself, while he drinks some warm milk. Again, this is another sign to him that bed time is here, although by reading the story in his bedroom while he is in bed, he has the comfort of knowing that his mum or dad aren’t leaving him just yet.
After the book and milk are finished it is now time for him to go to sleep, something he is ready for, and fully prepared that it is about to happen. In most cases this usually means he is already close to falling asleep, and nothing is happening to surprise and worry him, which is vital for him when it comes to dropping off to sleep.
This routine will not work for everyone, especially the timings I have mentioned, but it should give you a guide to work with. Keeping your child happy and calm, and getting them prepared to falling asleep on their own without you is the key here, do that and bedtime should become a huge success in your home.