As a parent, it can sometimes be challenging to get your child to sleep on time. You want to make sure they’re ready for bed at bedtime, but you also don’t want them to stay awake once they’re in bed. This is especially important during the school year, so they are well-rested.
Here are 9 bedtime tips that work for getting kids to sleep on time.
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It’s important to make sure kids aren’t consuming foods or beverages that will keep them up at night. Caffeine especially can stay in a child’s system for several hours after they’ve consumed a soft drink.
Avoiding unnecessary drinks before bedtime is also a way to avoid extra trips to the bathroom. And this is one of the ways to prevent accidents at night in kids.
Encourage calm and quiet activities toward the end of the day, such as drawing, coloring, doing activities in a puzzle book like this one, reading, and/or just take time to talk with them about their day. This gives them time to relax after what may have been a busy day.
It’s also a good idea to cut screen time short as multiple studies have shown screen time can affect children’s’ ability to fall asleep as well.
If kids are going to bed or waking up at different times throughout the week, this can throw off their sleep schedule. Of course, it’s important to make sure they get enough sleep for what their body needs. However, if they sleep in too late one morning, they may have a hard time getting to sleep later that night at their bedtime.
Depending on the age of your kids and how they are, a bath may help them calm down and relax. This may work well especially for younger children and toddlers.
However, if you have older kids that can’t get to sleep too early, having them bathe or shower before bed may allow them to get up a little later in the morning so that they still get enough sleep if you push back their bedtime. But again, every child is different, so you’ll want to factor in their age and what works for your family.
By having kids get ready for bed before it’s time for them to go to sleep, getting your child to brush their teeth, etc., you can make sure they are actually in bed by their bedtime.
This also gives them time to take care of any other ‘needs’ they might bring up. If they ask for an extra glass of water or another blanket, you can humor them, without worrying about them being up too late.
Keep in mind that the temperature you enjoy for your sleep may be different than what your child finds comfortable. In the summer, make sure they are dressed cool enough. You’ll also want to make sure they have a fan or A/C on if it’s too hot.
And in colder weather, ensure they’re warm enough, have socks on if necessary, and that they have enough covers on their bed.
Many parents take advantage of their child having an earlier bedtime than when they go to sleep. They use the extra time to get things done around the house or simply to relax.
However, if you are in a room close to your kid’s bedroom, you want to make sure you aren’t accidentally keeping them awake with sounds or light. Closing their door can help, as well as keeping the volume down on the TV.
If you make a phone call or have a conversation with your spouse, you can keep your voice down, and/or talk in a different part of the house.
Some kids when asked don’t know what time their bedtime is. It’s important to not only establish an actual time for bed, but to make sure your child knows when it is and that you will enforce it.
Older kids especially will likely notice as the time in the evening gets close to their bedtime. This gets them in the mindset of getting ready for bed and winding down.
Update 09/18/2020: We’ve added a bonus tip…
Even if your child doesn’t fall asleep as soon as they get in bed, as long as they’re staying in bed and lying down quietly, they are doing what they should be doing.
Praising and rewarding your child for staying in bed quietly and lying down until they fall asleep may be a positive incentive for them.
If you have a toddler: click here to download and print out our free toddler sticker reward chart.
How to use the Free Toddler Sticker Reward Chart: Every time they do a good job getting ready for bed and going to sleep, they can earn a sticker. After ‘x’ amount of stickers (whatever number you decide,) they earn a reward- whatever you pick- big or small.
So those are 9 tips for getting kids to sleep on time. By setting a time for bed, making their atmosphere sleep-friendly, and being consistent, you will be able to get your child to sleep on time each night.
P.S. If you have a toddler or younger child: Don’t forget to grab our FREE Toddler Sticker Reward Chart.
Thanks for reading and have a great day!
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